On walkabout in life and technology

Working From Home ... Here We Go!

It’s been many years since I worked from home and much is different since I ran Noverse from here. First, my wife has taken over my workspace as hers, so the desk, good keyboard, mouse and monitor are her domain now. Secondly, it’s likely this is not a one-day disaster recovery test, so I need to find a way settle in instead of use the laptop on the dining table. And thirdly, Slack has changed the way we communicate internally, which makes it as easy to maintain contact as it does in our open plan office.

If I am going to be working from home for a while, I want my somewhat temporary workspace to be as good - productivity wise - as my office desk. There I have an Apple 27” thunderbolt monitor, an older magic keyboard and a well worn in gaming mouse. So, in preparation, I ordered a refurbished 27” monitor (no need for a full priced retail monitor), a new magic keyboard and a cheap, but good, similarly shaped gaming mouse. I can now productively operate my trusty MacBook Pro in clamshell mode the same at home and work.

The other thing needed is a good chair. We purchased new work chairs a year ago on sale, so mine has now replaced the fourth chair at the dining room table. Our table end abuts the heater and outside windows for the apartment, and we normally eat on the other end. So I have covered the generally unused half of the table in a cloth, and set-up a temporary office. From where I now sit, I have the monitor in front of me, and may apartment view to the left.

Today was the first - and possibly only - day that I will use this setup, and it worked mostly well. The monitor is good, but I had to jack the brightness up during the morning as the light streamed into the apartment. The keyboard is the same, no change there. And the mouse feels funny as I am far too used to my work mouse.

To my right, across the small lounge we have is the TV. Instead of having the bustle and noise of the office, I left the TV on to create background noise. You forget just how quiet an empty apartment is even in the center of New York City! And how the silence can actually distract you.

And there’s Slack. We had two Slack voice meetings today. The first, most folks struggled to get their microphones and speakers working, but eventually they were ready. We all then learned quickly to use mute on our microphones so the clacking of our keyboards, barking of dogs and squealing of happy children did not interfere in the conversation. Ironically, I feel we all communicated a bit more effectively, possibly because of the medium in use, or because more ears were listening in, or maybe because we we all so excited to have skipped the commute.

Let’s see how this works out.

Follow the author as @hiltmon on Twitter.