I passed a milestone this week: four months of working from home. Aside from two occasions where I went in to work (to print off something on A3), I’ve settled in to a fairly good routine. I get up early (as I’ve always done) and have breakfast. Over breakfast, I check the overnight news and social media. Then, I’ll do an hour or two of work before taking a break for a shower and some household chores. Then it’s back to work.
And now here’s the good part: I generally take a break for lunch. That’s something I hardly ever do at work. Ordinarily at work, I would heat up something and continue to work at my desk. However, working from home means that I can actually cook a hot meal, or even take a walk down the street and enjoy the lunchtime specials. I’m also saving a small fortune on coffee, as I make my own.
Then it’s back to work for a few more hours, followed by another break, dinner, and then a little more work.
Although there’s a perception amongst some that working from home means people don’t work as much (they spend time ‘under the doona” as our Prime Minister has said), that’s not been the case for me.
Four months down the track, I feel like I’m on top of work, and my productivity has increased, as I’m no longer subject to some of the distractions and interruptions of the workplace.
Yes, I miss chatting with colleagues, and there’s a lot that can be achieved through face-to-face networking that can’t be achieved through video conferencing, but I’m pretty happy with the work/life balance that’s been achieved through this terrible situation.
I’m continuing to take some time off mid-week to get out and about around Sydney. When this all started, and there’s wasn’t much to do, I found my #workfreewednesday was a bit of a waste of “annual leave”. With so many things closed, I found I was still doing a fair bit of work on my “day off”. But in the last couple of weeks, things have settled down a bit.
On Wednesday I took the day off and achieved a fair bit. I did my tax, I had a haircut, and I caught the ferry to Cockatoo Island. The Biennale of Sydney is underway, and Cockatoo Island offers lots of terrific things to see.
There are some terrific works on Cockatoo Island, and if you’re in Sydney (or planning to visit) before the end of September, I’d highly recommend catching the ferry and taking a look.
There are some downsides to working from home.
Each week I record a radio show, and I spent half the morning on Friday waiting for the jackhammers at the nearby construction site to stop. With the right microphone and some sound protection from a doona, you can achieve a fair degree of sound isolation, but jackhammers still come through. Another colleague reports it’s the possums in the roof (he lives in the country) that causes him the most grief. Another told me on social media, it was the sound of the school bell that interrupted her recordings.
Another general problem about working from home is that you can tend to become a little “slack”. A few of my colleagues have admitted to working with a blanket on their knees, another noted she missed lunch around 12, finally catching up with Weetbix at around 2.30pm; and I ate a bowl of ice-cream while chatting with a colleague at around 3.00pm. “Do you mind if I finish my lunch?”, I asked my colleague. “Sure, no worries. What are you having?”, he asked, to which I replied “ice cream”!
Still it could be a lot worse. I could be living in the United States where the situation seems to be totally out of control, with increasing rates of infection and death each day.
Or I could be in Melbourne where the situation is worsening. As I’ve spoken with colleagues in Melbourne, they’ve described how there’s a feeling that it’s all for the best if they continue to lock-down now, even if it means significant movement restrictions.
It’s happening all over again. The toilet paper thing. My rational brain never understood why there was a rush on toilet paper (during the early days of COVID-19), and I don’t understand it now.
5 thoughts on “Four Months Later”
The figure of new cases today was half that of yesterday, which is heartening. I think most people here agree with your colleague. We do, as unhappy about it as we are. We’ve had to become very used to some awful sound quality generally in the last couple of months in so many areas as non professional equipment is used, phones perhaps.
Hello James, enjoyed reading your comments on the Biennale at Cockatoo Is. Have you seen more of it at MCA or AGNSW?
I was hoping to get up there from Geelong again this year, but unfortunately those plans went down the toilet. Have been up for the previous two Biennale. I think Cockatoo Is is a brilliant venue for it. So atmospheric and also considering the history.
Camera phone out in the urinal? That’s begging for a comment, but I’ll leave it alone.
Geelong is not COVID free but active cases are about 6 I think. We just don’t want Melbourne people transporting it down the freeway. Luckily there is a checkpoint to pass through near Avalon.
Hope you enjoyed your few days at home in Lismore.
Hi Rod, yes camera phone out at the urinal sounds incredibly dodgy! I was the only one in the toilet at the time, but I still looked around to make sure no one else entered!! Yes, I visited AGNSW a few weeks ago, https://jamesobrien.id.au/2020/06/work-free-wednesday-agnsw/, though I haven’t been to the MCA yet. Maybe tomorrow. Hopefully the lockdown won’t last forever. Stay well.
Hi Andrew, ABC Radio is actually rolling out new phone equipment which should improve the quality. Sydney and some NSW regionals have been done. Queensland is next, as well as SA and NT (Alice Springs already done), but sadly the schedule has now fallen behind for Melbourne.
Hello James, I listen to Editors Choice on 774 digital every Saturday. I don’t find any problems with it at all. Love your choice of music btw. Gets me dancing around the kitchen. 🙆♂️