The New Normal – Working from Home
Looking back at the middle of March when everyone in Pennsylvania and pretty much the world was told to stay safe and stay home, I am not sure any of us would have imagined that in mid July we would still be working from home. We here at Fiore Design all wrote a couple sentences back in the spring about what working at home has looked like for us, but we didn’t put together the blog post until now. So, we decided to update it with what we would have told ourselves back in mid-March, and how things have changed but how they have also stayed the same.
March: When working from home just a day and knowing you will be back in the office the next, that day is very different then when I am starting another week and not sure when returning to see my coworkers. I like being able to sleep a little later for sure. I also like spending more time with my family. But balancing is difficult. Staying focused and separating for work mode to family mode at this time seems all mushed together. Sorry for the technical term here. What I miss most is collaborating with my coworkers. I miss the interaction we have on a daily basis in the office. I miss building on each others ideas in person. Thank goodness for technology that allows us to still collaborate. But it is not the same.
July update: Gosh we are now over 18 weeks working from home. I could not have predicted this. Still juggling and Ugo (office dog) is very happy with the new arrangement. Never could I have imagined, apologizing on zoom calls for my dogs loud snoring or simply having my computer be my connection to all client interaction. I miss the in-person collaboration but I am happy we can make it work, still be creative and safe.
March: I work from home 3 days a week, so I’m used to working at my dining room table. Obviously with both kids and a husband also working from home it’s a different scenario during the quarantine. Trying to keep my kids busy with school work or games rather than screens has been hard, but we are doing the best we can to juggle everyone’s needs and attention spans. Getting outside daily for a run or a neighborhood walk has been very helpful. The Fiore Design team has been using some of the same tools that we use during a normal work day like teamwork and google drives, but have also used some new-to-us tools like Zoom to collaborate on projects and make sure everyone knows the hot items for the day. Thank goodness for technology!
July update: Looking back on my last day in the office, way back on March 10, I would have told myself to grab those Cadbury Creme Eggs I had stashed in my desk drawer! When the say home order was put in place on March 13, I would have never guessed that I would still be working from home every day all the way in the middle of July. These days I am working more out on my deck than at my dining room table.
March: The biggest upside to working from home for me is that I am not away from my dog Benji during the workday. I’m very grateful to be able to utilize technology such as Zoom, access the server, and use my living room TV as a huge monitor. I definitely am missing the face-to-face interactions and collaboration with the team, but our morning Zoom calls help us stay connected.
July update: If I could give myself some advice when we first started working from home back in March, it would be to get comfortable. Over the last few months I’ve invested in making my workspace more enjoyable, like getting a cool color-changing keyboard, setting up a second monitor, and moving my desk to where I can look out a window. At first I didn’t know how long this would last (we still don’t), so I didn’t take the time to settle in. Now I’m learning to get comfortable in this new normal.
March: Working from home for me is a mixed bag. When done in spurts, it’s nice to wake a little later, skip the commute, eat breakfast at my leisure.
After moving back from the west, I started freelancing. I was picking up all the gigs I could and I ended up with clients spanning from east to west coast. At the time I was living in a tiny apartment and crammed a desk into the nook of my bedroom. I would wake up just before logging on and spent much of my day at that desk. Start early for my east coast projects and stay late for my west coast projects. The standard 8 hour day didn’t exist. And soon neither did any typical morning/evening routine. Days blended into nights and after a couple months, it became unsustainable and difficult to separate my work life from home life. Needless to say, I was elated when I transitioned from freelance to full-time and started working in an office setting. Seeing people, having a routine and separation from work to home is so important. The best advice I can give during this time is create a routine for yourself. And use the advantages of technology to keep you connected to friends and family.
July update: The last in-office conversation I had with my coworkers was about cleaning out our fridge. I asked them to take home anything that belonged to them. When asked if long-shelf-life items could stay, in jest I responded, “Pretend you’re never coming back.”
I think about that a lot.