Changing up my remote work routine

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I’ve been working from home off and on for much of my career. Pre-COVID, I would have said I like the option to work from either home or office depending on things like what I had to do that day.  I just took a job that is full-time remote so that option is off the table.

Here are some ways I’m changing up my remote work routine:

Moving to a full-size keyboard and mouse

I was a laptop keyboard and trackpad user for what seems like forever.  I now use a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse and Logitech MX Keys keyboard. Both peripherals are worth every cent I paid for them.

More lighting for my home office

My home office is at the top of my house in a loft. Looking back, the loft was one of the big things that attracted me to my house when I was house shopping. However, it doesn’t have a true ceiling light. I’m still trying to perfect my lighting for Zoom calls so my new coworkers don’t think I work in a cave.

Getting out of the house

The first few months of quarantine lead me to some bad habits. One of the worst habits was not getting out of the house enough. Pre-COVID when I was working at home, I’d get out at least in the mornings to get a change of scenery and be around people.  My vision of working a full-remote job had me visiting Caboose Commons and other laptop-friendly places near me. I have to satisfy myself by getting out of the house for walks and to run errands during the day, even if it’s only to the grocery store.

Another nasty habit from the early days of quarantine was food delivery services. DoorDash, Amazon Fresh, and I developed a very close relationship during the height of problems in Northern Virginia. I’ve been weaning myself off these services, so I have an excuse to get out of the house.

I’ve also reconnected with old friends and stayed in touch with people better than I did in the Pre-COVID world.

Using Slack

My new employer uses Slack. It’s a big step up in usability and reliability from the aging implementation of Microsoft Skype of my previous employer. I took the extra step to put Slack on my personal devices. I’ve had to learn how to set my personal limitations around Slack availability. That’s challenging since I’m still a new employee. I’m guilty of replying to Slack messages from the gym more than once.

Getting fresh air

A feeling of isolation has hit me hard during the past few weeks. Fresh air seems to help me get past it. I try to get out of the house every few hours even if it extends my workday into the evenings. Thankfully, the feelings of isolation are now fleeting.

Final thoughts

Speaking as an experienced remote worker, I thought I was all set to work my way through the pandemic. Working remotely through a pandemic felt far more isolating at times because I can’t follow old routines. Maybe it was being laid off and then starting a new job in a remote-first company.

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