Last March, my company moved to a fully remote workforce as a result of COVID-19. Indeed, most of my industry did. Working from home was not all that abnormal for me. For much of the last ten years, I worked in a startup, and we did not have formal office space for much of that time. We had some conference rooms we could use occasionally, but we worked virtually for the most part. After the startup was bought out, I worked for the company that acquired us remotely too for a bit. I was four years into a regular job when COVID struck. I worked out of the office four days each week, and on Friday worked from home. I loved Fridays. My commute was more than an hour in each direction, so I had two extra hours on Friday.
I am a software architect, and my work is software-based, development, configuration, troubleshooting, execution, support, etc., its all done on my laptop. From there, I can connect to every place I need to work. Even when I was at the office, many of my meetings were Zoom based. We had issues finding rooms or finding big enough rooms. We have many locations worldwide too. Many tech companies are like this, I would imagine.
I have learned some lessons from working from home, more in the last year than ever before. It is different being required to work from home rather than choosing to work from home. Over the Christmas break, I reworked my home office with a focus on work life balance.
Create an Area for Work
Initially, my work laptop found a space on my home office desk. I had a desk with some extra space, two large monitors, and both had two inputs. I got a couple of USB-C to HDMI/Display port cables and a mouse and keyboard so I could switch between my home PC and my work Mac with a button press. Quick setup, easy, and I was going. It did not take long to realize the mac took too much of my desk away. I moved the mac to various locations, most of which rendered the camera useless. Who would have thought it would be impossible to find webcams? They were rarer than toilet paper for a while. I eventually got a functional setup working, but I never really liked it.
The problem with using the same workstation for work and home is that it is all too easy to blend work and play. Often I found myself working late into the night and then not having time for home activities. I eventually got used to shutting the laptop down at the end of the day, but it was still easy to boot it up, and it was a pain to turn it…