What does working from home look like for Trusties globally?
It has been said over and over, but we are truly in unprecedented times. With companies sending their workforces home, many of us have had to improvise functional working spaces in our tiny apartments or crowded homes. Being a tenured New Yorker, I’m no stranger to small spaces and limited natural lighting, but it took me a few times to reconfigure my workspace before I found something that made me feel comfortable and productive.
As I continued to tinker with my workspace, adjusting a plant here and moving a coffee mug there, I wondered if my colleagues were dealing with similar issues. Were my fellow New Yorkers feeling cramped with partners and roommates also working from a small space? Were my Copenhagen and London counterparts struggling to adapt to new morning routines before beginning work? How were my colleagues with children at home managing to carve out enough space to focus?
With all this in mind, we asked Trusties from around the world to send us pictures of their work from home (WFH) space and to share their experiences in this new work environment. Below is a look at how some of my colleagues are adapting.
Where is your WFH workspace set up?
Alan (UK) - I've got an office (or Man Cave, as it's more commonly known!) at the end of the garden. It's a bit of a godsend now, although my daughter is threatening to join me in it when she starts homeschooling (eek).
Allyse (US) - Our home office is ideal, but at this point, anywhere I can find some quiet space!
Livvy (US) - I've set up a small desk in the corner of my bedroom, where I can work without distractions (like my pup), and look out at NYC.
Polly (DK) - When we moved in in July last year I pushed very hard to have a big communal table as a centerpiece. Happily I won that battle and I get a lot of wood to lay my work stuff on at the moment.
Taylor (US) - My husband and I are floating around the apartment as we both split time working from home and hanging out with our 2.5 year old son. We don't have a dedicated office space so sometimes we're in our bedroom, or sitting at the dining table, or hiding in the nursery...it's a fluid situation.
How do you start your day before working?
Carli (DK) - I start my day by waking up to the sounds of the babe talking away to herself. First cuddles, then get her dressed and breakfast (famous food throwing competition), shower, then coffee.
Mai-Brit (DK) - I start my day as I did before I came to office. I wake up, stay in bed for 30 minutes to think about the day I have ahead. Take a shower and have a cup of tea. I wish I would do more to get into a proper routine, but I guess that takes more time to develop.
Mikaela (US) - I've been walking our family dog with a cup of coffee. I'm used to walking ~25 minutes to the office in the city so it helps me wake up!
Wahid (US) - Wake up around 8am, take a shower and blast music to wake me up. I then drink some coffee and make a smoothie, lounging around watching The Devil Wears Prada until 9am hits.
Are there any tools or techniques you use to keep organized and focused when WFH?
Allyse (US) - Trying to set up a schedule for my girls so that expectations are set from the beginning of the day. That said, it usually implodes and we just take each hour as it comes!
Mai-Brit (DK) - I have my big paper block next to me where I am writing a to-do list for today. We also have daily morning meetings with the team where we discuss what we are working on today - we did it already in the office and it is a good way to keep ourselves organised and on track.
Livvy (US) - My monitor is major for my productivity, as well as my airpods for great sound during calls. My boyfriend/roommate has also set up his own space in the living room. It's nice to have our own areas where we don't feel tempted to chat, and then we can reconnect at the end of the day.
Taylor (US) - My husband and I compare calendars in the evening so we can schedule out who's going to be "on duty" with our son and when the following day. Scheduling in childcare the same way I'd schedule in meetings, calls, or heads-down focus time helps me stay on-task (even if "child care" means turning on Peppa Pig or Frozen 2 for the 90000th time...#fulldisclosure).
What's the hardest part of WFH and how do you overcome it?
Alan (UK) - I miss my bike commute! It's been so important for me in keeping fit (ish) and clearing the mind over the years. My wife bought me a smart trainer which has now become my most valued possession! I end each day with a one hour workout to clear the mind and keep the metabolism going.
Allyse (US) - With schools closed, being a full-time worker and full-time caregiver and trying to be good at time management.
Gabriele (UK) - My biggest challenge is sharing WiFi with my 2 older daughters, who are now going to school online. WiFi for 3 video conferences at one time is not great! #sharethebandwidth
Livvy (US) - I am an extrovert so I love chatting with my fellow trusties throughout the day. I'm working to check in with people on slack throughout the day, turning my camera on during video chats and scheduling some virtual coffee dates which helps.
Wahid (US) - The craving to go outside and breathe in the air. I think being in a city like NYC makes it really hard to have to stay in all day and not take a stroll or go to a new restaurant.
What's the best thing about WFH?
Alan (UK) - Seeing more of the family and not travelling as much will be great. I'm also getting reacquainted with the garden which is just starting to come to life as spring gets going.
Carli (US) - The best thing about working from home is that I can play with my babe at any point in the day. Baby giggles are the best energy booster.
Mai-Brit (DK) - Having people around me with different jobs and different problems. Helps me understand issues from all points of views and also learn from them.
Mikaela (US) - There's no time lost with commuting and more time to be had with my family!
Polly (DK) - I feel like I have more time, which I always lacked. Which productively turned into running, cooking, dog-loving and novel-writing.
Anything you want to share with your fellow Trusties during this time?
Alan (UK) - This is going to be a very hard period for everyone so let's stick together (in spirit!) and really go out of our way to support each other. I sway from numbness to an occasional strange excitement at all the change and chaos to very real anxiety most days. I'm sure other people do too. Don't be afraid to talk about how you're feeling to your colleagues, it's really important to your mental health.
Allyse (US) - We’re going to get through this! Also, everyone has their own struggles right now so let’s not forget to be mindful, patient, and empathetic of one another. This is a crazy time and we’re all doing the best we can.
Lauren (US) - Thank you for being awesome! So many people have reached out to ask how I’m doing and are moving full steam ahead on projects we are collaborating on, despite the new environment. It’s inspiring to see everyone handle this with care and eloquence.
Livvy (US) - We're all in this together! I feel fortunate to work for a company where I am able to continue my day to day with minimal interruptions, and have the support of an amazing team.
Mai-Brit (DK) - This short period of uncertainties will last for only a little while. Appreciate the trustie vibes we have and that everyone is always happy to chat/video call with you and check in. It does not happen in other offices that people get so close in these difficult times.
Mikaela (US) - If you're struggling, reach out to your team! We are all in this together #oneteam
Polly (DK) - I really appreciate the people I work with. It’s something I’ve been reflecting on on a daily basis, in terms of how nice it is to have colleagues, who deeply care about each other.
Taylor (US) - Ask for help! Especially those of us with kids - we're all in the same boat, and everyone (parents or not) has been so gracious with scheduling calls around naps, homework time, tantrums, etc. You just need to speak up. So in that spirit - thank you to all of my colleagues for your flexibility and commitment to maintaining our amazing community and culture in the face of this challenge!
Wahid (US) - My wife told me I'm starting to look like a Cheeto. If I end up on the news, you know why.