As a company, Social INK has been completely remote since 2016. We haven’t had an office, and we have no plans to have one in the future. But this year, things were different. For a lot of people, they think that because you’ve always worked remotely, there was no difference during lockdown periods or anything else. Remote working in 2020 has been VERY different.
Working From Home Pre-Lockdown
A typical work from home day for me would include at least one trip out to have a coffee in the local town, and usually involve something else I need to get done (food shop, picking up something for the house, etc). During 2020 and the lockdown period, that all stopped.
Suddenly, finding yourself in your house pretty much 24 hours a day, every day, isn’t the same as working from home usually is.
No Gaps Between Work and Pleasure
During the lockdown, with no clear and easily identifiable change of environment, it became harder to distinguish between working and pleasure time. The fact that we were always in the same environment makes it hard for our minds to realise the disconnect from one activity to the other.
When you’ve had a long day at work, and you then go to the pub for an after-work drink, the environment change plays a huge part in changing your mindset.
If the only difference in the environment is from a chair and a desk to a sofa, it becomes more challenging for your brain to differentiate the two.
Remote Working in 2020
For me, these last 4 months haven’t been remote working as normal. For me, remote working means freedom to move anywhere (like my Nomadic 2017 year) and to do anything in and amongst the work I need to get done.
This year has been difficult, challenging and, although there is a lot I am grateful for this year, it’s not been the same when it comes to remote working.
Lack of Freedom
That’s the biggest difference. The freedom and ability to do what you want, when you want and most importantly where you want. It’s made this year a sub-optimal experiment for many people in terms of remote working in 2020.
For a lot of people, they haven’t enjoyed the work from home lifestyle, but the real shame is that this hasn’t been “normal” remote working.
As businesses and the world slowly start to open up, people are starting (if they feel up to it) to live a more normal version of remote working, because they now have the ability to take their laptops and go and have a coffee out and about. They can change their location to fit their mood. But it’s all still very new and there is a lot of worry and concern around where to go and mixing with crowds in public places.
Travelling & Remote Work in 2020
Usually, I’m all for packing my laptop into a small bag and hitting the road. I love the ability to move around, experience new places and learn from new cultures I haven’t discovered before. But right now, I don’t feel the urge to travel at all. I don’t want to mix with crowds in busy airports or find myself far away if a second wave should occur or worse still if I were to get sick.
I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way, and I think that even as international travel restrictions are lifted and airline/travel agents push hard to sell us on taking a holiday, a lot of people are feeling the same way.
Maybe this year, it’s all about staying local, a change in environment yes, but no need for long pre-flight security lines, crowded airports and temperature checks at boarding.
Perhaps it’s more about visiting the local countryside, or a national park you’ve always wanted to see.
Your Experience of Working From Home
I’d love to understand how you’ve found working from home, especially if this is your first time doing it for a substantial period. Leave a comment below if you can as I’m trying to build up a selection of examples for a podcast episode I’m currently planning.