Even before the community quarantine was implemented, I have been an advocate of work-from-home (wfm) arrangement. I believed that some work can be done in the comforts of home. Employees are spared from the troubles of traveling. They can eat cheaper and healthier home cooked meals. They don’t have to dress up. For working parents, they can have additional time with their children.
When the community quarantine was imposed, everyone was forced to drastically embrace wfm system. I’m sure, everyone has struggles. Stability of internet connection, smaller spaces, distractions from family, undefined working hours, lengthy remote meetings and difficulty of arriving with the best consensus. Unfortunately, we all lean to one option. We need to make everything happen at all costs. Everyone needs to get the job done.
Like all wfm employees, I try to follow a routine. While some start their work in the morning, my system does not work that way. I’m alive and functioning around 10 pm, when everyone else is about to end their day. I find my working pace from night time till dawn because I love the silence of the entire environment. I don’t get disturbed by calls, messages, delivery services and anyone from the family. It also helps that internet connection is faster during night time. More importantly, the weather is more forgiving in the evening. Me and my wfm devices cannot bear the summer heat.
I start my day at 10 pm and usually finish before sunrise. In as much as I try to become consistent with this arrangement, people within my environment do everything in the morning. There are days when I have to wake up earlier and join remote meetings. Sometimes, meetings are scheduled in the sweltering afternoon. In the end, I’m left with a ruined body clock.
In my wishful and ideal world, the best wfm days happen when
- I finally completed a grueling report.
- I hit that send button with the report that consumed me and my sanity
- I found supportive colleagues from other departments
- When I’m able to successfully assist another colleague
- My skin still looks decent and my eyes are not puffy after days of not sleeping well
- I get undisrupted sleep after submitting a report. This meant no calls or urgent concerns.
My worst days include
- Teammates don’t comply with deadline
- On top of not complying with deadlines, they will keep their silence and I will be forced to wear the shoes of someone begging for updates
- Delayed and substandard reports
- Unresponsive teammates
- Alarming news and changes from top management
- Unexpected directives
and the list goes on….
Aside from work, I think everyone finally managed to have more time at home. In my case, with my family.
Looking back at my life before the community quarantine….
On a usual work week, I will drag myselt to report for work on Monday. I’m lucky if there are no meetings or presentations. Once in a while, we meet my friend T for pizza and coffee. Never mind if it’s midweek and I needed to report early for a meeting. Like everyone else, I look forward for Fridays. I’ll wear my casual clothes and count the hours before another work day ends. On some days, I drag my friend A for dinner. If I have additional money to spare, I drop by Uniqlo or SM Department Store. I usually arrive home a liitle late on Fridays and savor the rare times I have more than 8 hours of sleep.
During weekends, I do some freelance works. If luck is on my side, I have freelance writing works that entail academic research. A former superior is my favorite client because she refers me to decent and well paying clients. On weekend afternoons, I exercise my self-taught photography skills. I provide content for a small online business. If resources can still afford, I avail of food delivery via Grab Food. On Sundays, I’ll try my best to do nothing. Sleep, read and watch some series. On the rare times, my cousins invite me for dinner or a mall date.
These days, half of my life is still about work.
I still advocate for wfm arrangement. Unfortunately, I would have preferred that wfm happened way before covid19 and poor governance messed up our country. The wfm arrangement I envisioned entailed working on my pace, while still abiding with deadlines. Problem is, not all colleagues can make it happen. Added to this, even friends from other companies are complaining of undefined working hours.
I always thought that wfm is leaning to output based arrangement. Apparently, there are unexpected concerns. I thought conflicts and politics will be lessened. Turns out, another set of struggles come along the way.
I still have a lot in my mind I wish to share. But my thoughts are all scattered. In another post, I’ll probably write what I have learned from this crisis.