The Yahoo Finance team has been diligently working from home for the last week in a bid to flatten the curve and stop the spread of Covid-19, and while it was once our greatest wish to do so, the phrase ‘be careful what you wish for’ has never been more relevant.
From clogged Slack channels to sore backs (and bums), we’ve compiled a list of all the pros and cons of working from home, and our greatest lessons.
1. Boy, people love to talk over one another
Have you ever sat through a meeting and watched chaos erupt around you? Have you watched colleagues interrupt each other, only for them to both then attempt to continue their sentences without breaking?
Imagine that but with terrible NBN connection.
How we fixed it: Each colleague places their microphone on mute until they’re asked to speak. Alternatively, choose to speak in turns and keep your mics on mute when it’s not your turn.
2. Slack etiquette is key
They say those who work from home tend to over-communicate to make sure people know they’re online.
For the love of God, please don’t do this.
We know it’s tough when you can’t shout over the room to a colleague to get something done quickly, but tagging them in a Slack or Skype channel that is endlessly clogged with chit-chat is useless.
How we fixed it: Keep a separate channel for general chit-chat, and keep others free for important work-related messages. Also, don’t be afraid to buzz your colleague if it’s pressing – if they’re working in isolation, they’ll more than likely be keen to answer their phone and talk to you.
3. Create a makeshift home office
If you work with two screens in the office, you’ll probably want to poke your eyes with a stick if you’re working with just a single laptop at home. Although, that may make matters worse.
Also, if you use an ergonomic chair at work, your dining chairs just aren’t going to cut it.
How we fixed it: Bring your monitor or your chair home from work if you’re allowed to do so, or borrow your parents’ or friend’s if possible. If it’s not, you could purchase one and claim it back on tax. Here’s how.
4. We miss human connection
Either everyone on the Yahoo Finance team is needy, or humans really do need humans.
“I need to talk to my team via voice at least once, because otherwise I feel REALLY lonely and isolated, and actually my job satisfaction goes way down,” one particularly clingy team member said.
How we fixed it: Double the meetings, double the love. We have organised a morning meeting at 9am, and an afternoon meeting at 3pm in order to keep our interactions up. Individually, we’ve been utilising our messaging channels to chat to one another, and even host video coffee breaks amongst ourselves to ensure we see each other.
5. Isolation makes us fast
It’s no secret that open-plan offices can often do more harm than good when it comes to productivity.
One charming team member said, “Slack conversations can go on in the background, but you can’t ignore people in real life”.
How we fixed it: We don’t need to! Efficiency is great, and as reporters during this time, it’s meant we’ve been able to buckle down and write more than ever. If anything, we’ll carry these lessons through to our offices, and be more honest with our colleagues when we need time to focus.
6. Pyjamas are a trap
Luckily most workplaces are moving towards a more casual dress-code, but is it possible to be too casual?
Yes. The answer is yes.
If you remain in your pyjamas past 8am, you will undoubtedly act as if it’s verging on bed time every minute. I’ve done it twice now, trust me.
How we fixed it: Dress up! It’s great to be comfortable at home, but you may find it more motivating to pop on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, rather than live in your dressing gown.
7. We have become vampires
Working from home is a double-edged sword: it makes you miss the outdoors, but also makes you too lethargic to get there.
But getting outdoors is a proven strategy to refresh your mind and increase your productivity later in the day, so you definitely need to get out there.
How we fixed it: Take a solid lunch break, and when you do, go for a walk outside. If it’s raining, sit by the window and read a book, or sit outside on your balconies. You could even drive to a café and sit there for a while to break up your day.
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