NOTE: This is a transcript of a podcast for those with hearing difficulties, those that prefer to read, and those who would prefer to not hear the sound of my voice. 😉
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 105, “My Coronavirus Story Part Two: Work From Home?” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
I am a creature of habit. As such, I like routines, especially when it comes to my job. Wake up at a certain time, go for a walk, take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast, drive to the office, drink coffee, fix stuff, drink coffee, have lunch, drink some more coffee, fix some more stuff and then drive home. Monday through Friday, five days out of the week, that is my work life and I’m fine with it. I don’t do quite as well with open-ended jobs where I am left to my own devices without an overarching plan of some sort, but that’s a topic for another time.
Monday, March the 16th was my first full week of working from home following the shutdown of our offices the previous week (and the previous episode) so I had to create a new routine to settle into. I set my work laptop up on the dinner table and dedicated that space to be my ‘home office’ for the time being. Like everything else in life, the new normal that I settled into had its ups and downs. One immediate improvement was that since I no longer had a commute, that time that I was spending on the road could be put to better use in bed sleeping. Not having to wear pants or even a polo shirt was also nice. The biggest downsides of working from home were the lack of human contact and the blurring of lines between home life and work life. I’m one of these people who likes to use a giant metaphorical Sharpie to draw a big thick metaphorical line between my home life and my work life. I will say that having a dedicated work area away from my personal space helped immensely. After all, even before we were forced to isolate, the dining room table didn’t get much use.
My new routine quickly became: wake up, go for a walk, take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast, sit at the dining room table, log into my work laptop, have a cup of coffee, wait for things to happen, have lunch, sign in to our afternoon meeting, wait for things to happen again, and then log out of the laptop. There wasn’t much work to do for reasons I’ll go into in a moment.
But first, I have to bring up our daily meetings. Holy cats, those daily meetings sucked. Over the course of my 20+ year career, daily meetings have always sucked. Inevitably, they turn into the same thing every day and they usually go away in favor of weekly meetings which eventually go away to monthly meetings, which eventually die out completely. Our daily meetings got dull to the point where our supervisor flat-out told us that he didn’t even care for them, but we had to have them because the home office said so. Thus, every day we all spent the better part of five or ten minutes looking at our screens waiting for somebody else to bring up a question or issue that hadn’t already been bought up in our team chat. It rarely happened.
Another thing that rarely happened was actual work. We had a small team of techs that handled remote issues over the phone. It was very rare that we in-person techs had to pick up their slack because they were always on the ball. But with everyone working from home, we now had four to five times as many techs now handling the same number of remote issues. At first, there was work to do helping folks, particularly the staff members, get their work from home setups established, but once that was over with the amount of work available to everyone dried up considerably. We were stuck hunting for open tickets in the system and occasionally asking if there were things we could help with in chat and during our daily meetings.
The days turned into weeks, and with no end to the pandemic on the horizon, I couldn’t help but wonder how long this state of affairs would last. I would get an answer to that question at the end of April, and you’ll get the answer in the next episode.
This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I make a cup of coffee. Subscribe via your favorite app, and visit Eduardo Soliz dot com for more wonderfully weird words written by me! I am Eduardo Soliz and I thank you for listening! Be Good, Take Care and God Bless.