I could have been a contender
homeplaceofthefuture daily log 5527
For the past 6 months you all have been living and working in the homeplaceofthefuture. Congratulations and welcome to my world for the past 5527 days! While I did predict that we would all work & live in the same place one day, I honestly had no idea that things would escalate that quickly. Jokes and stories have been spun for years about the homeplaceofthefuture and then suddenly we were all here. In a matter of days anybody with a voice online or more than one Twitter follower was giving advice about how to work at home. To be honest it overwhelmed me and I missed my chance to be included.
For the past 6 months I have been busier and more stressed out than ever with my job. My real job that allows me to work from home and provide for my family was suddenly in trouble. In an instant 97% of our book of business was cancelled for the year, my salary was cut significantly and my hours & stress increased – go figure! In this time, I have experienced painful, sometimes crippling physical symptoms including aches & pains and only this past weekend did I realize they were all stress induced. For months now, I thought I was coming down with arthritis, MS and even ALS because the pain in my joints and muscles was so bad. Thankfully I've never been worried about COVID or getting it, but I was getting worried about these pains. It is amazing what stress does to the body, all-encompassing stress in many arenas of life.
For the past 6 months daily, I have thought about what my voice should be in this space. How to get my voice heard and still have some fun was always the goal, but sadly in the end I did nothing. It is how most things go in life you get an idea or an inkling and start and at a certain point you don’t finish – this is how it goes with me at least and I know I’m not the only one. I did what I had to do to survive and get my family & company through this time and as dust is settling on our post COVID world, I'm excited to see the possibilities and start bringing my voice back and hopefully a lot less stress!
homeplaceofthefuture daily log 5339
Out of an abundance of caution and to assist with our nation’s preventive efforts, I will continue working from home and avoiding people for as long as this pandemic exists and/or my company employs me
Repeat after me the work from home oath
I (insert name here), promise to:
Use my personal computer to stream Netflix & YouTube
Punish repeat offenders who send emails marked as URGENT
Go outside once a day to get the mail
Realize that I am not saving lives here
Daily wear the uniform of the homeplaceofthefuture
Eat and drink whatever makes me happy
Ignore my kids and spouse during the quarantine (if applicable)
Try proper hygiene protocols applicable for my surrounding
Is it really friday
homeplaceofthefuture daily log 5089
Is it really Friday? Someone smack me....oh wait no one else is here! Okay it is Friday and Fridays are particularly more exhausting on a re-entry week.
What's a re-entry week, you ask? It's the first full week back in the office after a holiday and/or vacation.
5 full days in the homeplaceofthefuture dealing with hundreds of emails and hundreds of out of office messages from my European colleagues. I often feel that in the summertime the Americans (me) are keeping the world running while the rest of Europe takes a 5-week vacation to some random coastal city we've never heard of. I generalize of course, but you know its true. Here in the US we take a 4 day weekend and worry about how many emails have piled up or if we'll even have a job when we return on Monday. The Europeans and especially the Dutch, yes the Dutch just don't care. I had a Dutch colleague who in the middle of a large re-platform project (that she was running) decided she needed a 4 week African safari -- and not the chintzy ones that you drive through, she took a legit 4 week vacation in the jungle and left us all hanging! I hated her and envied her at the same time.
Where am I going with this? I don't know, but please for everyone's sake if you have vacation time USE IT! Regardless if you get 2 weeks or 8 weeks, take it all.
Anyways......it is Friday and I'm exhausted. I find myself already blocking my calendar to avoid any calls and most likely I'll start compiling my to-do list for next week. Not saving live here, but it sure felt like it this week.
Cheers to a summer weekend!
homeplaceofthefuture daily log 5087
When you work from home full-time and take a staycation, you have to be intentional about the places in your home you go and breaking up your routine. Instead of crying in your home office at 8 AM everyday take some time with your spouse/dog/kids/partner/whatever on the porch enjoying coffee. I found myself having little to no desire to do anything on my PC and that includes posting my comments about the homeplaceofthefuture and social media. It was a wonderful break until that feared re-entry of email barrage on Sunday night!
Turns out being intentional for a few minutes everyday really does make the homeplaceofthefuture a wonderful vacation destination. Quick snippets of things we chose to do over the past 2 weeks.
Past 2 weeks or so I started to see the homeplaceofthefuture in a new light and for the moment I see a fine line between work & home. Ideally my home office would be cut off during non-working hours, but it's not realistic with a smaller house and limited rooms. Setting up some things to do to keep me out of this room was a great plan.
Adventures in working from home
homeplaceofthefuture daily log 5071
With a weekend full of yard work and outdoor activities behind me, it is time to get back to work on this fine 5071th day of working from home. In an effort to make my work a little more "at one with nature" I installed a bird feeder outside my window to see what comes around....or maybe I'm just lonely and the birds are my only friends - either way bird feeder installed and filled with 6 pounds worth of seed.
This morning I had to chase a mama deer and her 2 babies away from the feeder. Mama deer literally just gets up on her back legs and licks and licks and licks the bird feeder like a dog licks his paws. It was funny at first and kinda unexpected, but those deer are creatures of habit and after about 4 times of seeing her come to the well I went outside (with my headset on because you never know when a client is going to call) and I chased her off my yard with a hose.
I turn my back to put the hose back and there she is again! Licking that bird feeder like she hasn't eaten in years. Well that's it -- I crossed the creek outside my window and took the bird feeder away with her watching me like I just turned off the Xbox. Now I need to find a high point outside my window where only the birds can get to it.
I bore you with this story because the entire time I was chasing mama deer away I was laughing. Laughing at the fact that I'm working from home, dealing with angry clients, miscellaneous fires and oh those pesky emails and while all of that is going on -- this virtual employee to squirting hose water at a deer. In a way it kind of put things in perspective for me as I started the long road of yet another 5 day work week.
drive car / ignore work
homeplaceofthefuture daily log 4991
I love to drive, I love getting in the car with no agenda and no time constraints.
Previously I have written about my daily and only commute to drop the kids off at school - it's a dangerous commute full of soccer moms, businessmen and school zones....and now they have traffic cameras making sure residents don't go 21 MPH in a 20 MPH school zone!! Ask me about my $200 fine sometime...ROAR
For the first time in 10 business days I had 1.5 hours open during lunchtime. Always one for preventative maintenance I quickly blocked my calendar on Wednesday (day 4989) and guarded my calendar like Gollum guarded his precious and I won!
11:59 AM - left the house
12:15 PM - I got gasoline (even though my car has been full since February)
12:30 PM - ordered 2 burgers from my favorite local, definitely not organic burger place
12:40 PM - drove around like a truck driver, eating burgers with no particular place to go
12:55 PM - returned a book to the library that may have been in my car since February too
1:07 PM - home sweet homeplaceofthefuture home with 23 minutes before my next call
The moral of the story is sometimes you just have to get in the car and go for a drive, turn the radio up or turn it off and definitely turn off your phone - it's a nice break from staring at the screen and fighting the good fight of Microsoft Outlook Roulette.
homeplaceofthefuture daily log 4952
A full week in the homeplaceofthefuture with zero travel. My black t-shirts have been lonely and there’s chips & salsa aplenty in the house ready to take this week on.
there's more of us
homeplaceofthefuture daily log 4838
Walking into a room, random events or even someone else's house with yesterday's clothes on is just normal course of business here in the homeplaceofthefuture. Family & friends love to joke about how many black t'shirts I have....and we'll keep that a secret. The idea of uniform I thought was only funny in my inner circle.
Imagine my good fortune yesterday when I walked into someone else's house with my uniform on and struck up a conversation with my kids friend's dad - come to find out he's a virtual employee too for a much larger and even global company. I always wondered why he was the only other male in the drop-off zone at our school!
We had a good time commiserating about how organizations in this world do not know how to handle their virtual employees and the work from home lifestyle aka 'uniforms'
These are just a few of the things companies should be doing to build loyalty with their virtual workforce. Companies may save money by not having us sit in a stuffy office somewhere, but they should at least have programs/policies in place that encourage employees to get together occasionally and not when it's just to fly in and present to a client and leave.
Face to face meetings on a regular basis to team build will in turn make us more productive. Imagine how many emails (here we go again...) and calls that could be avoided by a quarterly team meeting to talk about all issues and plan for the next quarter. Revolutionary thinking for some I know! That productivity could be channeled to actually doing work and not spending 6 hours out of 10 on the phone everyday....I'm just saying.
I left his house encouraged that other virtual employees get it and look to better themselves and their companies as we navigate the future.
homeplaceofthefuture thoughts and comments from the boss