I remember the days before computers existed, but that seems so much like ancient history it strains my cortexes to try to conjure the memories. I remember performing my job duties on an IBM Selectric typewriter. I remember when the only means of contacting a co-worker or a boss was by the telephone plugged into the wall. And if their line was in use, oh well; try again later. Answering machines? What? Call waiting?
I never planned to work at home. Sure, I wanted to, but the nature of my job made that prospect impossible. Until now. Now anything goes. At least as of this week.
This week everything we ever knew changed. I'm confined to home (unless I want to risk my life, which I don't). Monday, I brought home a hastily-configured work computer because My Old Trusty isn't exactly trustworthy and I couldn't afford to gamble that MOT would actually allow me to connect to my worksite. I spent an hour and a half unconnecting MOT and five minutes hooking up Work Computer (Why do home computers have so many moving parts and connections? Hello, PC companies!)
I'm used to working with two monitors, but alas only one of the monitors I brought home actually works. I'm not going to bitch about small annoyances; our IT Department had approximately four hundred employees to set up in three days. I'm keeping my mouth shut.
Using a strange computer, though, has its challenges. When I need to do my personal tasks, like banking, Work Computer doesn't know any of my logins. It took me far too long to locate and sign into SiriusXM, and when I did, I found that Work Computer's speaker (one speaker) is so tinny it was more annoying than soothing. I quickly signed out. So instead, I listen to cable news all day long, and hear the same stories about Coronavirus over and over; and because there is no new news, I tend to tune it out. It's simply background noise; something to mask the silence.
What have I learned about teleworking? There is good and there is not-so-good.
- I don't need to set an alarm. I get up early and sign in when the system allows me to.
- I only wash my hair when I feel like it.
- My makeup drawer has not been pulled open all week.
- I don't have to pick out clothes in the morning. I wear the same combination of yoga pants and pullover every day.
- No commute! When my day is over, it's over. Look! I'm home already!
- I'm more focused, because I have no one to chat with (see "bad").
- I'm saving money -- no frozen dinners; no gassing up the SUV.
- My laundry (and dishes) are done! Saturday laundry day is a relic of the past.
- I need a better chair, seriously. My back and legs are killing me. I've tried several configurations of throw pillows and foot rests and still haven't gotten it right.
- Diet: I'm eating too much. And the wrong foods. I keep telling myself to get it together, but my only break is when I can grab a meal from the kitchen, and we're not healthily stocked.
- No fresh air. I will resolve this issue as soon as the weather and wind allow. I will take walks. I need to get out of this room!
- Social interaction withdrawal. Dang, I'm not even an extrovert, but I miss talking to people! I email them and they don't answer right away, and I don't understand why they're not as needy as I am.
- No dividing line. The workplace, at least, was a different environment.I didn't necessarily like going there, but it was different from home.
I will try to offer tips for surviving the work-at-home experience in my next post (hint: have plenty of caffeine on hand), but for now, this is where things stand with me.
All in all, the pluses outweigh the minuses. But that's week one.
I've got at least three more weeks to go.