Thursday, April 2, 2020

Home Work

When I worked full-time, most of it was done at a computer and a lot of it was conducted over the phone or via e-mail.  I used to note that there were some people that I worked with on a daily basis and became friends with but never met them in person.  My part-time work is basically the same: do my reporting and data-crunching at the computer.  That was before Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders, but other than relocation from a school office to the one in my house, it’s the same routine.

But that’s me.  A lot of people are figuring out how to do their job from their kitchen table or living room, and they’re finding out new ways to do it.  Teachers and students especially are adjusting to conducting classes and doing their work via Zoom or Microsoft Team.  It has the advantage of keeping some semblance of the classroom.  It’s interesting to note that a lot of school districts have been moving in the direction of iSchooling; now they’re learning how it may or may not work.

If there’s an upside to this, and I realize it’s a bit of searching for a silver lining, it may be that productivity at work and learning at school may benefit from having to adapt to this new method of what futurists dreamed of years ago: “Learn and work from the comfort of home!”  It may lead to lowering the stress level of job performance and thereby actually improve our daily lives on the job or at school.  After all, doing a budget amendment or completing a homework assignment when you are surrounded by the comforts of home — a cat on your lap, a dog snoozing next to your desk, and no dress code — may be one of the unintended consequences for good from all of this horror.

Cartoon by Jon Adams in The New Yorker, 4/1/20.

3 barks and woofs on “Home Work

  1. For a lot of reasons having to do with an uneven workload and the offices that provided the work, I started telecommuting back in 2005. Most of the people I work with don’t even know what I look like; I’ve always said that they don’t call me Butch because I’m pretty, so maybe that’s been an advantage.

  2. On the other side of this, working in a specific place that is dedicated to “work” — an office, a classroom — has the advantage of reinforcing one’s focus on the work. It also, at the end of the day when you close up and go home, provides a separation between work — the job’s time — and one’s own time.

    • I definitely had to learn the concept of boundaries – as in no, you cannot call me at midnight and ask me to “run through” your section of the feasibility study. I do have a dedicated office space and have never found it much of a challenge to close the door and walk away at the end of a workday.

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