Random Observation/Comment #652: There’s no place like working from home.
Why this list?
I already wrote a set of 30 Remote Working Tips, which I thought were pretty comprehensive, but I forgot to take into account one major Coronavirus impact – my wife is also working from home. We’re in a NYC apartment. Normal routines disrupted. Tight space. Productivity decline. Need to cope.
- Designate areas in the apartment as working spaces – We only have one dedicated ergonomically friendly working space (with an awesome chair).
- Create a secondary/temporary working space – Folding table and laptop stand near a power strip far enough away to not hear each other’s calls. We are aiming for extendable multi-purpose furniture that is collapsible.
- Communicate your schedule for high priority calls – Simple Sunday weekly sync and morning check-in. You can also write it out on the whiteboard.
- Alternate hours on or off the main space – We do hourly block reservations or lightweight “morning” vs “afternoon” blocks
- Make a working basket for each of you (useful for the temporary working space) – Keep a separate pile of necessary equipment like wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, charger, headset, snacks, etc. Don’t dump both equipment together or you’ll be frustrated with loose entangled wires.
- Invest in Bluetooth headphones with a good microphone to keep you mobile – I dial in from my phone on calls that don’t need my sustained participation, so I can walk to another room. This also keeps you active for the pacer.
- Coordinate time to hang out – We play table tennis on the 2nd floor to get some time together to chat and get out of the space.
- Take turns cooking/reheating prepped lunch – If I don’t have a meeting at 11:30, I’ll offer to heat up food for us.
- Upgrade your coffee pot size – We needed to fill 2 full mugs
- Take turns brewing coffee and filling each other’s cup – It never hurts to ask (as long as you’re not interrupting). Also do this with water to make sure we’re hydrated.
- Keep a separate dedicated cup and water bottle as a part of your working basket.
- Mix it up with cold brew – Pretty easy to make and easier to control strength when watering it down for the afternoons.
- Be mindful of extra groceries – We need to buy extra coffee beans and creamer (this is something we do not want to run out of).
- Put the dishes in the dishwasher – Personal pet peeve of piled up dishes leading to spirals of home activities distracting me from work activities.
- Take a walk or do yoga together – Ask her when you can take a 20 minute walk before or after lunch. Schedule this as a meeting.
- Move vital personal belongings that have frequent access away from the working spaces
- Don’t take it personal if either of you have to say “I can’t talk right now”
- Come up with a system that indicates you’re busy.
Ex 1. Use an old school door open/close policy – if the door is open, you can come in and get stuff or say hi. If the door is closed, I am busy, so lightly knock first.
Ex 2. Use the headset with mic up/down policy – if the mic is down, you should not be disrupted. If it’s up, mouth and hand signal “are you in a call?”
- Get out of there – Move to another space like a coffee shop for a change of scenery once in a while.
- Avoid the urge to sing the song stuck in your head – You’re not that good of a singer (or you risk getting it stuck in her head). This Storybots song is lit.
- Don’t forget to text each other – It’s still a cute way of saying “Hi” and scheduling time together.
- Share the whiteboard space – Decide on colors and quadrants (why did you pick purple when all my tasks are already written in purple?)
- Buy a room divider – Especially if your work space is in your bedroom and there’s risk of the camera showing your Significant Other getting dressed (my bad, but this only happened once)
- Start and end your day with your own (or joint) routines – This could just be breakfast orders or end of day de-stress meditation.
- Prep lunch the night before – Ask about what you can prep for lunch tomorrow.
- Encourage each other to take breaks to avoid cabin fever
- Be nice to each other for the little things that show you care
- Be wary of noises – This is standard open office seating etiquette, but it’s good to point out that my original Jabra conference call puck is not being used. Use headphones. Note important calls.
- Be wary of smells – Stop eating red vinegar dumplings.
- Invite her to help you write/edit this list of 30
~See Lemons and Vnessa with an Eye for WFH