Had you worked from home before the pandemic?
Yes in my previous job, WFH was optional but interestingly I didn’t do it very often as I always felt that I had to work twice as much to prove that I was actually working. My manager never actually said that to me but it was the feeling I got.
If yes, did you think that working remotely during COVID would be the same, not much change?
I mostly love working from home because I can work much more efficiently and I have more flexibility in how I structure my day. I thought that remote working would be great during COVID because it was something new and exciting for everyone. This was the reality (in the beginning) but then before I knew it I was working much more than agreed my working hours.
And was it the same or were there differences and can you please describe?
WFH is what I expected for the most part and I do still very much enjoy it as I am someone who works very well on their own so I do not need to be in an environment around colleagues to be effective (although I do miss those moments). The fact that I live abroad also plays a part as I am constantly away from the team. I guess I am used to it to some extent.
I think the biggest difference is that amount of meetings I have. If I was in the office I wouldn’t work like this with back to back meetings all day. It is unsustainable and quite frankly exhausting.
How did you feel about going into lockdown and working from home?
I felt OK about it. As I said, I am someone who can work very effectively alone. However, after a couple of months I did start to get bored of it. Living in a one bedroom apartment didn’t help because there was no separation between my home life and work life.
After realising, this was ‘not going to be over in a couple of months’ my wife and I rented a studio apartment, in the same building we live, we converted it into an office and it has made a world of difference. Having a separate space where you work and live is a game changer.
What things helped you manage yourself and time working from home?
I am quite an organised person so it is easy for me to stick to a schedule. The difficult thing was creating that schedule. It took about a month or so to do but ever since, I have pretty much stuck to it. However, it is an ever evolving process which I am constantly tweaking to be as efficient as possible.
The main things that have helped me are having an exercise routine and having planned breaks built into my day. Whether it is a five minute break in-between meetings or just a minute or so to get up and stretch, taking that time out to pause and reset is crucial.
How did you build relationships with colleagues remotely?
This is probably one of the most challenging things to do. 80% of my colleagues I have yet to meet in real life and that is strange, considering how long we have been working together. Also, it will not change any time soon for me, even though we are coming out of the pandemic because I live abroad.
I think technology helps a lot because you have the ability to speak to your colleagues quickly and easily. As a company we try to book in virtual coffee breaks to have a chat about anything not work related which helps. But unfortunately, nothing has been created yet that can substitute face to face human contact.