Long Distance Call

Where is Our WFH Workspace Empathy?

Let’s be honest, we are already getting tired of hearing about COVID-19. It dominates our media headlines. It is leading to the cancellation of many events and conferences. Company policies are invading our mailboxes. The resulting panic is emptying our supermarket shelves. As much as we want to ignore it, this disease is having a significant impact on our lives as it moves throughout the world.

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Many of us are struggling to work from home due to insufficient workspace

The Only One

If we consider the usual WFH setup, casual remote workers have a far less sophisticated setup than they utilise in the office. Numerous tweets coupled with my own experiences over the years point to the lonely laptop and mobile phone. The vast multi-screen office setup with high specification PC and fixed phone definitely pales in comparison. While in my university days working with a single screen was comfortable, the reality is it is far easier to scale up monitor use than it is to scale down. Nowadays, context switching on a single monitor for me is immensely infuriating. I’ve been spoiled by having multiple screens.

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Many of us have been spoiled with PCs connected to multiple monitors

Your New Twin Size Bed

The expectation that all team members have a dedicated workspace at home needs to be rapidly corrected. Lacking a space to work at home has a massively detrimental impact on productivity.

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Not all of us have a dedicated space to work at home. My space is currently the kitchen table next to my son’s changing mat and nappies!

Video Phone

Connectivity software and collaboration tooling is imperative in our quest for remote working productivity. Yet historical investment in such software is often an afterthought.

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High quality collaboration tools such as peer to peer video and screen sharing should be a focus in times of normality rather than an afterthought for times of panic

Bad Connection

The world right now exhibits a strong and ignorant it works for me attitude. We have all shared a laugh or two at those stockpiling tinned food, pasta, hand wash a toilet paper, but to name a few. On the day I write this we have been unable to secure the nappies and formula we need for our infant son. We are clearly part of the minority group that only purchase what they need. Warnings to take what you need to ensure others can also obtain what they need are definitely being ignored. How people have the time to try numerous shops every day to find new stock of items to pilfer is beyond me.

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With high numbers of us establishing remote connections to the office, some such as myself are left out in the code with freezing connections

Anybody Seen My Baby?

Over the next few months our work and personal lives are going to collide together into an ugly mess of inactivity. Conference calls will be interrupted by family members and neighbours. With my quintessential self-deprecating humour, I joke about my infant son and husband joining the stand up. However, the reality is that a baby’s cry breaking through in the middle of a planning call leaves me feeling very raw and exposed to colleagues. Until I take the financial hit and sort out a dedicated space this will continue to be a problem. Even once a dedicated space is found, I will continue to battle to be heard through the noise of my neighbours ongoing construction work.

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It’s time to put down the toilet roll and show some empathy people, both while working remotely and enjoying our homes!

Lead software engineer with a strong interest in Agile, UX and Usability. Lover of cooking, tea, photography and gin!

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