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This morning my son presented himself with a temperature and a cough.
Previously the UK Government had issued advice that if you have a temperature and a cough, the entire family should self isolate themselves for 14 days, because of the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
Because we didn’t want to overreact and instantly keep him away from school, my wife called his school, and the advice was clear, stay away for 14 days.
My wife called her work, and was given the same advice. Do not come in, work from home if you can.
Me? I live in self isolation. I am a remote worker. I have spent the last 6 years of my career, founding and then eventually working for a business that only hires remote workers.
Other than the distraction, novelty and dare I say challenge of having my wife and child at home, nothing really changed.
My Experience of Remote Working
To be successful at remote working, you have to be disciplined. Temptation to do that little bit of house work, or flicking on the TV while you work can be a challenge for those who are new to it, and these things lead to distraction and slowed productivity.
I’ve found that remote working has made me more productive than I ever was in an office environment. Giving benefits such as:
- No phones ringing
- No annoying music (that you haven’t picked yourself)
- No office chatter that you end up being dragged into
- Nobody bugging you at your desk, when you need to get that damned report out
There are of course some drawbacks to remote working which can build up in the digital space. Here is a guide I wrote to improving productivity and focus by removing distractions which outlines some of them, and may help if you are new to remote working.
The Loneliness of Remote Working
I am a natural introvert, so I find the space of an empty house amazing for focusing on my code. However more social people may struggle.
If it wasn’t for the whole self isolation aspect, there are plenty of opportunities for being social, in the form of co-working spaces and coffee shops.
However I am lucky enough to have a wife and son with me during my 14 day isolation, so I don’t have the slightest worry of being lonely any time soon.
Getting the Right Equipment
At home I have a home office, it has an adjustable desk, an ergonomic chair, a laptop riser, bluetooth keyboard and trackpad, and everything I need for a solid days work sat at a screen.
My wife however, when she is out of the office, has a work laptop and the kitchen table, which is not at all ideal.
I had an old USB Apple Keyboard knocking about (it must have been from an old PowerMac) which I gave to my wife along with a box file to raise the laptop to a decent hight. I then did an emergency Amazon shop to get a laptop riser and a USB mouse (yes, believe it or not, I didn’t have a spare mouse).
The kitchen table is not ideal, so if that causes much trouble after everything is at the right level tomorrow, we may have to look around for a better temporary, but solid solution.