As soon as coronavirus hit Estonia, our team in Post11 moved to a home office. I remember setting up my workplace and feeling the joy of being able to work from home. Finally, the time without early wake-ups and traffic jams had arrived.
I have long been dreaming of location independent lifestyle. Working from home office looked a step towards that direction. Although, I soon understood that fear of leaving our apartment and closed border created a situation absolute opposite to location independence.
Nevertheless, it was an extraordinary and memorable experience. We worked at the home office for 9 weeks. During that time I had a total of 163 online meetings/telcos/interviews. I had calls with business partners in 13 different countries, interviewed and hired a new Product Manager, and lead her online onboarding.
When everyone in our team started to work at home, it wasn’t possible to have spontaneous discussions over the table anymore. All the communication switched to online channels, meaning much messaging and more scheduled meetings. The flexibility advantage from working at the home office was quickly lost after my days were booked with meetings. Suddenly, I understood that to have a normal lunch I needed to book a dedicated time for it on my calendar.
As Grete was also working at the home office and tried to accomplish her creative tasks, I needed to escape to another room – our bedroom. I rented the small portable table and spent most of my days in our small bedroom temptingly looking over to bed and trees outside of the window. Bedroom or office, I still wore my work clothes every day to get myself into the working mode and look professional during video calls.
I need to be grateful that I had my own space to work in during the day. I felt that I could be more productive at home than in an office. At home, I was able to turn off notifications and outside distractions, but in the office, it’s usually not possible. On the first days after the virus period, there were suddenly so many distractions in the office: colleagues asking questions while I was thinking something important, people moving in and out of the room, someone chatting in the other room, random noises etc. For leading others, solitude is needed.
Another interesting find was that an online meeting can sometimes be more productive than a face-to-face meeting, especially when the audience is big. If there is something to be shared on screen, it’s more convenient to look your screen than together a projector or tv. Only minus is lack of feedback for the speaker. To be honest, it was uncomfortable to have face-to-face meetings in the office after the virus period, weird to see others staring at you.
What’s most important, no task was left undone because of working from the home office during the period.
Mastering private life
I have to be super grateful for the possibility to spend days and nights together with someone I love and with whom I like spending time with. My levels of happiness, fun, calmness, and productivity would have been absolutely different without Grete.
We have spent 10-months together in South-East Asia before, so we were both quite cheerful for being able to spend more time together again. But the situation turned out to be different than what we expected. While on travelling we got new stimulus from all the new places we visited, then during corona period we needed to stay at home. A feeling of being in a cage in a small apartment and constant worry about our and our parents’ health made us quite anxious.
It was good to spend some time of the day in another room to give both of us a little space. After workdays, I left the bedroom office to enjoy time with Grete in the living room. Some days we worked out together, other days we strolled around the neighbourhood, and on weekends spent time in nature learning a new hobby – orienteering.
Still, as we weren’t able to see friends nor travel anywhere, we often felt bored. Our minds started to generate new ideas (not always good) to make our lives more fun. There is a well known saying that boredom sparks creativity.
That’s how we ended up with a bunch of funny pictures and videos of our spontaneous activities that are better to be deleted and forgotten. Or even better…make it into a funny home video to help us remember the unprecedented period in our lives.