Nearly two weeks have gone by since April started and I’ve just realized I haven’t written anything at all this month. I haven’t spent quite as much time in general working on the site either. With all the free time during the quarantine, I feel like I should have more output here.
So I just thought I’d start by giving a quick update on how things have been so far. Let me frame this in a few lessons I’ve learned so far during the community quarantine.
While I’d been doing remote work part time even before this virus situation started, I’ve never had to work from home more than twice a week. It’s been an adjustment, definitely – much more than I’d have expected.
Fortunately, I’ve definitely anticipated that some level of work would need to be done and have since made an effort to keep everyone at work “connected”. This is something we tend to take for granted when we’re on-site. I realize the adjustment for someone who worked remotely part time is likely amplified for someone who’s been exclusively on-site for a while.
To address this situation, we’ve been holding weekly challenges in our Slack channels – anything from posting your work space to posting your best pantry food recipes. While it doesn’t fully replace the connections we build on site, I think every little effort towards preventing isolation will add up. (Plus, it’s a bit of fun that counteracts all the stresses we might be feeling at this time.)
Do what’s necessary
I’ve also spent the last few weeks learning to code web services. For context, I’ve never done this at a professional level as an engineer, as I’ve mostly worked on desktop and systems software. While it has been occasionally frustrating and I’ve faced a lot of failures so far, I successfully deployed my first web server (albeit a tiny one) just a few days ago.
Why am I doing this? For one, learning something new never hurts and this is something I’ve been looking to learn since I started working at Synacy (in fact, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to do so over the last holiday break). Another reason is, I realized that technical skill is something we direly need at this point at ATeam, where I’ve focused on management and product work so far, and it might be time for me to be more involved in this aspect.
I’m well aware I might be biting off more than I can chew here. Nonetheless, I believe that in the absence of better options (particularly in a young company with very limited resource), being able to learn the fundamentals of any type of work, at least enough to do it competently, can be really helpful.
Give yourself breathing space
Before anything, just remember that it’s OK to not be as productive in the current situation. The pandemic has thrown all sorts of stressors at us and just coping with that can be a lot of work. Sure, being thrown into a remote setup might create pressure to deliver as much work as you did on site. But if you are unproductive, it’s probably not as much a result of working remotely as it is of the general pandemic situation.
Personally, one thing I’ve been doing more of recently that’s been taking up my time is playing video games. Other than the occasional simulation title, I’m really not much of a gamer. But I’ve found recently that it’s helped me decompress, especially when it feels like I’ve already watched through everything good on Netflix.
Overall, a balance of productivity and learning and just enough breathing space is something that might help you cope better with the situation (says the guy who felt like he needed to write something here while in quarantine).
That’s it for my update today, and I’m super eager to give you more helpful posts in the next few weeks. Stay safe, everyone!
How have you all been doing so far? I’d love to hear from you if there’s anything you’ve been trying to learn these days or any challenges you’ve been facing in light of the situation. Feel free to leave a comment below!
Dexter is an engineering manager at Synacy, a co-founder of ATeam Business Software Solutions, and founder of TechManagement.Life. He loves to share his experiences and thoughts on managing software teams and running businesses.