After 67 days of COVID lockdown, here’s how my work productivity has changed
67 days of COVID lockdown, how my work productivity changed while working from home
As I’m used to working from home, I figured the Covid home lockdown would be easy.
7 67 days later, here’s what’s changed.
I did my first workday from home 12 years ago. Fridays were my work-from-home day.
I remember making mental notes of things that took time away from actual job tasks.
Like noticing that it actually took a while to prepare lunch and drink a cup of coffee (as if you wouldn’t spend time on drinking coffee at the office..?), glancing at an online newspaper, feeling guilty for putting on a wash, etc.
I ended up grossly over-compensating to make sure I “did my hours”.
Fast-forward 12 years and I consider myself an experienced remote worker. I also run my own company, so I thought working from home during the Covid outbreak wouldn’t be a challenge for me.
Or at least, not that big of a difference.
After 7 days, two things are clear from a work perspective:
1. Homeschooling requires TIME
2. Home lockdown means… well, not going out
The outcome for me in the last 7 days has been a drastic reduction in work-related productivity.
Productivity killer 1: My new life as a teacher
An obvious point about home-schooling is that trying to work full-time while also making sure your child’s school curriculum is followed, is a challenge.
Teachers all over the world, I salute you!
Related: Improving staff morale in schools
There’s a constant stream of grammar questions. In all sorts of languages. And “hey, come look at this!”.
Motivation needs to be kept up, especially as the days go on. Physical exercise also needs to happen. Meals and fruit time happen independently whether you’re “in the zone” with a work-related thing or not.
And instead of focusing on work tasks at hand, my brain is focused on dusting off remote algebra memories.
Productivity killer 2: Locked up!
The second productivity killer is mental. Well, a bit physical too.
Cause mandatory home lockdown means you can’t go out. As in you’re home all the freaking time. Except for buying groceries. (Update: we are now allowed out for 1 hour per day, within 1km, max.)
Normally after a day spent working remotely, I always go OUT.
I make sure to meet people, go for coffees, catch some rays of sun or the occasional beer.
Not meeting people is definitely one of the hardest things.
Friend interactions are reduced to a never-ending stream of (hilarious) memes. The second day I put my phone on silent mode in a desperate attempt to Get-Things-Done at “work”.
After 7 days of coronavirus lockdown, the lines between work and personal life are blurrier than ever.
I once again feel like I did 12 years ago. Like I don’t put in enough hours. Or very unproductive hours.
When did I effectively start work this morning? When did I “finish” last night? I was watching Altered Carbon when the live chat interrupted. It all blurs.
It’s harder to keep productivity up when so many things are happening in our society. I’m easily distracted, constantly thinking about work and our company, yet getting little done, then worrying about getting little down.
It’s simply harder to concentrate with the coronavirus breathing down your neck
So what’s the upside of quarantine?
You mean apart from the Covid memes?
Well, I’m home all the freaking time, meaning I’ve had time to clear and clean the storeroom. My home office is super organized. It shines!
Our neighbours are also doing their part. The workers at the old people’s home do covers of Bob Marley every other day, with bass and saxophone players joined by grandmothers on their balcony.
And there’s always #ZoomCoffees with coworkers, right?
I also remind myself that I would rather be working from home than behind the cash register at the downstairs supermarket.
Or delivering parcels all over the city.
Or pulling endless shifts as a nurse.
So for now, I will just go to my cramped balcony and celebrate what has been a green-button workday with a cold beer in the sun… “finishing” early
PS. Check out the international day of happiness! Do something nice for your coworkers?