Working from home while a pandemic is active

So the Coronavirus (COVID-19) hit just like that.

I am glad that I am working in a company that gave us the option of work from home if we are uneasy about coming to work.

I thought of keeping a log of how this experience. The positives, the pains, learning etc.

 

1st Apr 2020

WFH Day -13

Has done most of the must do work today. The scariest thing is to hear the number of casualties as result of the virus. Everywhere I look its something to do with the virus. Its overwhelming.

Done a Joe Wicks PE class today with the little one. Even though he is not quite follow the instructions, that jumping up and down is good for him.

What went well?

  • Finished most of the work I had to complete and also helped few people.
  • Found some eggs and flour!!!
  • Went for a walk. Its nice to get outside even its the same path we take everyday.
  • After work, was able to do some painting

What can be improved?  Things bother me.  Other things

  • There is still lot to do. I don’t want to work until late.
  • I am feeling extremely tired – all the time.

 

Tracker update for today

Pink – Prepping for the day (taking printouts, making breakfast, eating breakfast) | Light blue – Homeschooling | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

 

31st March 2020

WFH Day -12

Working remote is hard! Harder for some. Today one of the best engineers was apologising for not able to be productive as his wife is busy and kids are around and not able to focus. I wish I can help him.

What went well?

  • Objectives out of the way
  • Some work got done.
  • A bit of the painting.

 

What can be improved?  Things bother me.  Other things

  • The first live issue. Felt helpless when everyone is messaging and calling me. I was not sure who to contact or what to do as many was offline.
  • Feel like tons to do and I feel I don’t have the energy.
  • Couldn’t go for a walk as there was a meeting.

 

Tracker update for today

Pink – Prepping for the day (taking printouts, making breakfast, eating breakfast) | Light blue – Homeschooling | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

 

30th March 2020

WFH Day -11

So this week we have decided to add calendar events to spread ourselves with work and be with the little one as his school holidays has started. Since its holidays, we didn’t want to spend lot of time doing some work but didn’t want him to spend too much time in the iPad as well. So we blocked out time in the office calendar, and the times we can stay with the little one as well as we made sure we are working the required number of hours as well.

What went well?

  • Time is flying today.
  • Was able to analyse the current role key functionalities and technical skills required and next level to understand what I need to focus on this year.
  • I don’t think I have any issues of social distancing. I am enjoying the freedom from getting dressed and drive etc.
  • Went for a walk. It was cold but needed to get out from the house.

What can be improved?  Things bother me.  Other things

  • The weather is getting cold again.
  • Not much got done today due to various meetings.
  • Its hard to understand people’s reactions to different options and had to call out people today.
  • I am still not sure what my personal objectives to be for this year.
  • Its real with these kinds of warnings.

Tracker update for today

Pink – Prepping for the day (taking printouts, making breakfast, eating breakfast) | Light blue – Homeschooling | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

27th March 2020

WFH Day -10

Homeschooling Day – 05

Today is the last day before the school holidays for my boy. Yes! 3 weeks of Easter holidays. Today we only had maths work to do from school and we haven’t done computing or drama work they have sent. Everything went out of control with our meetings! We are not able to get the little one to do work till late of the day and when we did, tantrums! My head hurts…

What went well?

  • One of our colleagues left and we had a virtual send off and a scavenger hunt. Was fun. We are adopting to new normal.
  • With rising infected people and death totals, I feel we are safe – for now
  • Its the weekend.
  • Sketch the base for a new painting.

What can be improved?  Things bother me.  Other things

  • Feel helpless when I have issues with work environment. I used to walk to people and have a chat but now people can say I am busy and ignore the chat.
  • New process of testing is implemented but because of the environment issues, I feel next week will be a challenge as people want to test and things are blocked.
  • I am not getting any exercise. Feel very lazy.
  • No walk today as was waiting for a delivery.

Tracker update for today

Pink – Prepping for the day (taking printouts, making breakfast, eating breakfast) | Light blue – Homeschooling | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

26th March 2020

WFH Day -09

Homeschooling Day – 04

Its amazing how the teachers encourage and praise the kids. It made me think how it was when I was at school. Always criticism and the praise follows a but. No wonder I didn’t like my school days. I do not think it had changed much from when I was in school to now in Sri Lanka. Its quite sad.

What went well?

  • Was able to complete two more security training that are mandatory to finish by tomorrow. One more to go.
  • Able to finish testing for some stories that had piled up
  • Able to have the walk
  • Its still sunny

What can be improved?  Things bother me.  Other things

  • I am not a person who bothered about my appearance but seems I’m neglecting myself even more.
  • Setting performance objectives for myself is hard. I don’t think i will get it right. Was trying to write the objectives from 9pm till 11pm and I am still not happy with them.
  • Seems I’m working more than I should, even with the time tracker.
  • I need to find something to Paint to keep these away from me.

Tracker update for today

Pink – Prepping for the day (taking printouts, making breakfast, eating breakfast) | Light blue – Homeschooling | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

 

25th March 2020

WFH Day -08

Homeschooling Day – 03

We planned 3 subjects yesterday but was able to do only 2. So we planned for another 3, Maths, English and Science. However we ended up doing French and Music work as well. Seems when its more sitting down, we have troubles in concentration.

What went well?

  • Disney+ is awesome!
  • Have a better control of what is merged to master and I am very excited about that.
  • Glad that my way of thinking of quality is seen the same with the product.
  • Long and unexpected hugs while I’m working.

What can be improved?  Things bother me.

  • Didn’t go out for a walk today. Instead my husband had gone to two supermarkets to find milk and bread. Still no eggs.
  • Sometimes I think I absolutely cannot be a hands on tester and a manager at the same time.
  • Our Kubernetes environment was not working. Was not able to test on my namespace as I planned.
  • Haven’t completed the objectives.

Tracker update for today

Pink – Prepping for the day (taking printouts, making breakfast, eating breakfast) | Light blue – Homeschooling | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

* no preparation today. Was too tired and. Just winged them when wanted

24th March 2020

WFH Day -07

Homeschooling Day – 02

Was super organised and printed out all work needed for today. It was lovely to see lots of positive replies from the teachers for yesterday work. Today we planned only to focus on 3 subjects as it was bit too much for all of us yesterday to do more than 3 subjects. And we ended up only doing 2 subjects.

What went well?

  • Disney+ is here. Whoot!!!! So many nostalgic movies when you browse the menu.
  • Able to get testing in feature branch motion on the run.
  • We are still alive and well.
  • The sun is still out.

What can be improved?  Things bother me.

  • I am not good at teaching the kids. I get stressed out way too easily.
  • I am stressed. Very stressed.
  • I am worried about not doing enough for work. The time capture says I have done enough but i have this guilt.

Tracker update for today

Pink – Prepping for the day (taking printouts, making breakfast, eating breakfast) | Light blue – Homeschooling | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

23rd March 2020

WFH Day -06

Homeschooling Day – 01

Was uncertain of how the homeschooling would go on today.  Had The school had sent many many documents. Print them out, try to understand what’s what , making a time table for the little one, moving my meetings to support his work, etc etc. Its 9.15am and I am tiered already. After that, every time i see him, he is a different pose. Sitting on the chair with legs up or going round and round or standing on the chair…. This is going to be a long day…

Hope tomorrow will go much smoother.

What went well?

  • Started a stand-up for testers last week. Seems its going well.
  • Had few productive conversations over some big topics.
  • Finished all the works that little one had to finish on the day and sent the work back to teachers.
  • No one cried.
  • It was sunny and had a short walk as someone was complaining of coming out from the house.

What can be improved?  Things bother me.

  • Need to split time between work and homeschooling. That mean start working early and take long breaks and then work late.
  • Both my boy and myself started sniffles. Both are very lethargic at night and went to sleep early. Hope its nothing worse.
  • I don’t understand why people not listening to government advice.
  • Feel stressed.

Tracker update for today

Light blue – Homeschooling | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

* Today hubby helped the little one with work. 

 

20th March 2020

Day -05

Its amazing how everyone adopted the new working life style. Yes its just 5 days and things can be different probably by next week. But I see people communicating more and connecting with each other with whatever ways they can. When you take a step back and look, it’s remarkable how quickly people change and adopt.

Yes its Friday. But have not seen an empty road as such.

 

What went well?

  • I have moved to another room in the house with a new table and a new monitor

  • I’m getting tea and biscuits in style

  • Added a testing team standup so it gives an extra bit of communication among the team
  • Had a good conversation with the team about the build process
  • Its always a good feeling to find potential issues while a story is in development
  • Had a wonderful lunch time walk

 

What can be improved?  Things bother me.

  • How the homeschool will go on from next week
  • Having dreams about me planning the day and planning what to cook
  • I’m eating all the biscuits
  • There is one test I’m trying to fix who refuses to be fixed!

 

Tracker update for today

Orange – School drop off and back home (pick up done by my husband) | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

* finished work bit early today. Feeling tired

 

19th March 2020

Day -04

Things are getting in to a rhythm at work. Team had started side conversations that keep everyone entertained. Numbers are going up but the most worrying thing is that the actual number may higher as they are self isolating and not being tested. At least the flowers are blooming…

What went well?

  • Had a very productive meeting with the testing team
  • Office mental health first aid trainers are check-in on people on how they are doing.
  • We can see the extended family of our co-workers
  • Was able to work on the automation piece
  • Got a little bit more plants for the back garden
  • I’ve got a new co-worker

This is Dave. He listens to my frustrations and compliments with a smile. Dave is awesome.We all should be like Dave. #thesignsofmegoingmad

What can be improved?  Things bother me.

  • There is one test fails no matter what I change.
  • Hope I won’t hear any bad news over anyone I know
  • Schedule for next week onward
  • Have not finished the performance objectives… yet
  • The uncertainty in general specially when you see supermarkets

Tracker update for today

Orange – School drop off and back home (pick up done by my husband) | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

* Was attending to an interview with my US colleges. 

18th March 2020

Day -03

Driving to school run was pretty quick today. In a normal day it takes roughly 40 mins and today its was 28 mins to be exact. I was taking country roads. Its all deserted. Took the main road back to see whether I can catch some traffic for a change. To feel that the world is still functioning.

What went well?

  • Planned the breaks and set alarms. when alarm goes, I at least stood up for at least for 5 mins and walked a little bit
  • Made that additional effort to ask the team, how they are
  • Started a new piece of automation on the existing test suit
  • People in the office had started silly side conversations to keep the laughs going on. Yes I need them!
  • Went to buy plants for the back garden make over. That was fun.

What can be improved?  Things bother me.

  • I miss my big screens. Everything on one screen when coding is not the best! I get distracted when I move between screens and ended up having a chat with someone.
  • I wanted to remember what colour is my desk at office and i couldn’t remember whether its white or Gray or off white..
  • From next week, I need more planning to be productive. Schools are closing.
  • Level of support I can give to who feel isolated in this situation is limited. I think i am trying my best as a manager and a person.

Tracker update for today

Orange – School drop off and back home (pick up done by my husband) | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

* Forgot to start the tracker when I was going out for the school run. so data is tad low.

* Was adding an extra project to the regression test and it was not working… Extra hours spent to make sure I get it right otherwise i will be solving that in my dreams!

 

17th March 2020

Day -02

It is interesting to see how the team has setup working from home situation. Started the day with a Teams discussion over how everyone is setup.  Some snippets of the the arrangements.

The best is a photo from our Delivery Manager. The most creative work table.

I have to say that I am impressed as well as have a huge admiration towards the team for showing the commitment and adjusting to this difficult time.

I have upgraded to my son’s room today. Simply because the dining room chairs are not comfortable for long working hours.

Working from home is challenging specially when we do not know the end date. It was once a luxury but now people are struggling specially there is no end date.

Now the government encourage people to work from home if possible and avoid public gathering.

I feel privileged to work in an industry where work from home is possible. There are many industries which this kind of a lock down will make their job redundant. In larger scale, countries will have economic crisis when this virus swooped away. Worried!

What went well?

  • I was able to join a meetings that I wont be able to join if I am in the school run
  • Getting in to a routine now
  • Getting a little bit more breaks than yesterday
  • Had few very productive calls over automation
  • Was able to see the progress off the back garden make over

     

What can be improved?

  • VPN is slowing down the work when everyone is joined. When I join on a different VPN than UK VPN, I was not able to connect to some links.
  • MS Teams was facing issues when video is on. People switching off videos for that reason and we loose that connection.
  • Probably make few meals ahead so I don’t have to cook at lunch time

Went for a walk with hubby. Met many people doing the same. Everyone need a break.

Working from home for a long time can make them feel lonely. If they are living by themselves, they will find it difficult to cope this. It is important to plan the day, make hours flex if possible, take breaks, have a long walk, or a cycle ride and most of all be mindful about your mental health. Its important to look after yourself.

Tracker update for today

Orange – School drop off and back home (pick up done by my husband) | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

16th March 2020

Day – 01

Working from home is challenging. If you do not focus, you will work without taking a break. Or you can get distracted. There is a TV, a fridge , a couch , the bed! how to make sure you are focused and productive. I thought to record my time. So at the end of the day, I can see how my day is split and I have done justice to my work day.

My workstation for today

I made sure I work exactly as I will at office. Took a walk outside as I will do in lunch time. Sun in shining and surrounding looks beautiful.

What went well?

  • Collaboration was successful and used MS Teams well
  • Decisions that needed to be taken was taken with everyone’s input.
  • Conducted the first 100% remote retrospective with a small activity and a quick discussion.
  • Productive day and I think everyone did a great job

What can be improved?

  • Some team members has not switched on their camera when video call and it is not the best experience.
  • Laptop screen is too small.
  • People talk over each other in discussions.
  • I should get more breaks. My daily tracker shows that I am sitting and focusing for 3hrs.

Tracker update for today

Orange – School drop off and back home (pick up done by my husband) | Dark blue- breaks | Lime – Work

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