The #Coronavirus chronicles, part 4: Getting accustomed to my work environment #COVID19

Earlier, I’d written about getting myself situated in my home office. While my environment is still not ideal — my place is still a mess, and I’m still working directly from my laptop, instead of connecting to a full-sized monitor, keyboard, and mouse, as I’d prefer — I’m discovering that, as I continue to work within this environment, I’m getting used to it more and more.

I’m noticing that I’m much more productive with this setup than I was sitting in the living room recliner with the TV on in front of me. As I write this, I’m sitting within the privacy of my own home office (hey, I’ve always wanted my own office; maybe this is how I get it!), I have some good jazz playing over my stereo speakers, and I’m getting my work done. It does make for a good, comfortable working environment.

When I go to the office, it typically takes me fifteen minutes to drive to my office, and that doesn’t count stopping at the corner Cumberland Farms or Dunkin’ Donuts for my morning coffee and a quick bite for breakfast. Now, my commute has been cut down to however long it takes for me to go from my bedroom to my home office downstairs (all of, by my estimate, fifteen seconds, not counting the time it takes for me to start the coffee maker, fix myself breakfast, or occasionally feed our two demanding cats).

Let me emphasize that I would still prefer a good monitor, keyboard, and mouse, as opposed to working right on my laptop. At some point, I’ll need to take the time to clean up my work space, maybe head to Best Buy and get some decent equipment, and get myself better situated. And if there’s one thing I’m missing, it’s the camaraderie of my office mates (our occasional virtual meetings notwithstanding). But when it comes down to it, this setup is likely one that I could get used to, if I absolutely have to do so.

The #Coronavirus chronicles, part 2: The work-at-home environment #COVID19

Several years ago, I had a job for a virtual company. There was no brick-and-mortar location; the entire job was work-from-home. To accommodate myself for the position, I went out and bought a new, comfortable office chair. If I was going to work-from-home, I wanted to make sure I was comfortable. I made sure my home office setup was one that I could deal with over the course of the position.

Several years later (present-day), I’m working a position where I am able to work from home, although I much prefer going into the office. I have a comfortable desk setup and two monitors. I’ve adapted it to my preferences, and it’s an environment I enjoy and in which I’m productive.

Before COVID-19, my work-at-home setup was me sitting in my living room recliner with the TV on in front of me. I didn’t do it all that often, but for the few times that I worked from home, it wasn’t a big issue.

That changed with COVID-19. It took me a little while, but I realized that I was being unproductive. There were too many distractions. My work environment was uncomfortable… or, more accurately, it was too comfortable. I was picking up bad habits. I was watching TV more than I was concentrating on my work. I wasn’t concentrating on what I was doing.

It took me a while — about a week — before I realized what I was doing. It’s like the situation where you’re working on something and you start zoning out, completely unaware that you’re doing it.

When I came to that realization — today — I realized that I had to change my setup. I cleared out some space in my home office (I hadn’t been making much use of it, other than for my personal non-work laptop), put my work laptop on my desk, and started working. The difference was night and day. I was suddenly focused on my work again. My thought processes were better. I wasn’t sinking into my chair the way I was with my recliner. And I don’t have the TV to distract me.

Granted, I’m still not in a completely ideal environment. My desk (and my entire home office) is cluttered, so there isn’t a lot of room to work. Subsequently, I am working entirely off my laptop, as opposed to having a monitor, mouse, and keyboard with which I’m comfortable. That should come along as I get reacquainted at my work-at-home office space. Getting a new monitor setup and clearing out my home office has soared up my priority list. But to be able to work and be productive again is well worth the change.