Coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to go into lockdown in one way or another. Humans, whether working or not, are all maintaining social distancing measures. Office goers with white-collar jobs are recommended or mandatory to work from home (WFH). Personally, WFH felt just like a perk but as days passed by and the daily pressure to cook and do home routing on my own increased, things turned sour. What was initially seen as a boon (break from work) quickly turned into a bane with a lack of personal routine, the diminished line among professional-personal time. So, here is my sneak peek into my ~1 month of work from home - partly Singapore and India.
Before we jump on the problems of WFH let’s start with some positives. I have to admit that there are lesser disruptions and I am generally more flexible and available for meetings. There is not a huge saving of commute time for me since I anyways live closer to Facebook Singapore office (~25 mins door to door). But in India, the commute is a super big deal supported by the fact that I was able to save ~2.5 hours of my commute time just one way because I prefer to stay at my sister’s home on the other end of the same city to staying in nearby hotels. Another pro is staying ultra-close to my family. Like compared to regular office-going days, I am spending 10x more time with my family over VC or facetime - probably that compounding factor is due to the fear of pandemic and not just work from home.
Now the downsides. No 1 being I need to cook 3 meals a day. Let’s be honest, one cannot eat ready-made or packed food all day. I prefer hot cooked Indian food and to save time, I would mostly opt for rice and dal - with some green veggies. I am spending way more time to procure groceries and cook them. I even tried to automate the grocery delivery - more on that later. With home delivery of groceries, life should be simpler but because of a huge number of people buying groceries online, Redmart has limited delivery per area to just a few per day. :sad: Now I am back to being old school, I put on my mask, go to a grocery store and buy all essentials for at least a week.
Another downside is the lack of personal health and routine. I realized that I am sleeping more and not at all exercising - not even jogging. I was having bed to couch to chair routine. So I started doing pushups in the morning, maybe will proceed to do more in the coming few days. I tend to be lying down all day - either on the bed or on the sofa or sitting on a chair and working. I actively try to move every now and then to keep my productivity levels up. I got a portal from the Facebook office which was given to every engineer yay! That has helped me increase my productivity and motivation levels.
There is no change of scenery in front of my eyes. My office desk has a nice sea view behind my monitor - so I just had to stare away to relax. Now I need to move away from work and walk a little to my window just to see a tree or have sunshine. I wanted fresh air so I usually keep my window open and seldom use aircon except sparingly at night when it’s too hot. I have put an extra effort towards Ergonomics at my desk - keeping the monitor at the head level with keyboard/mouse close to my hands.
Time management wise, I tend to call more to my family back in India when I am bored at home and I keep blocks of time for learning and experimenting new things. Such as just yesterday I automated Lazada’s website using selenium - something I always wanted to try but was low on my priority even though it’s super cool. I have started to write more blogs, read more books, chat more to friends. On the personal front, I feel I am more connected but physically distanced.
On the work front, I am prioritizing things which need lesser collaboration. This will make sure I can deliver more things in this half - H1’2020. I don’t know but there is a desire to finish things even when Facebook has announced that it is going to relax the performance review requirements for this half. Probably the hunger to ship impact is not so easily satisfied and I want to keep the professionalism spirit alive or maybe just that I am a workaholic brat.
With such effects over my work-life balance due to WFH, I have mixed views on the effectiveness of it. Maybe WFH is good to do for a few days, but not helpful at all when we need to collaborate for a longer time. If this pandemic leads to a rise in flexible work timings as an option, I would welcome that.
wfh lifestyle pandemic