When it was becoming clear that fighting the novel coronavirus meant we wouldn’t be able to keep coming to the office, my bosses were annoyingly repetitious with the email reminder that everyone should pack up what they would need to work remotely, and the question, do you have everything you need. I smugly thought, well I have my laptop and an Internet connection at home so yes, I do; stop bugging me.
It took less than two days of working from home—of both my wife and me working from home—to realize a few of the things I hadn’t given any thought to getting prepared. The first thing was, my desk chair is trash.
Actually better to say that it was not built for the task. For years I’ve had a series of very simple height-adjustable, no arms task chairs at my desk at home. They have always been just fine for a quick session at the computer, or even an hour or two playing games or writing a blog post. By the end of my second full day using that chair to work from home, spending some number of hours in the chair in between leg-stretchings and lunch, it was clear this was not going to work. The local office supply store was open yesterday and had a good selection; I made my purchase, brought it home and in an hour I’d assembled it and had it in use. Much better.
Another thing I learned is that our Internet service does have the bandwidth to support two laptops on the Internet simultaneously. I don’t know that everything would still run so well if someone was streaming a movie at the same time, but no one is doing anything like that so we appear to be in good shape. What else did I learn? I learned, again, that astronauts are pretty smart.
Today I learned it from Anne McClain, an Army officer and helicopter test pilot, and world-class rugby player, who spent six months living and working on the International Space Station from late 2018 until last June. (Talk about working remotely!) Well, today she tweeted a great thread of advice about living and working in confined spaces from the folks who have made a science out of that:
Click that tweet to get the rest of the thread, and some good suggestions about “the human behaviors [that] create a healthy culture for living and working remotely in small groups.” Something we will all be doing for the foreseeable future.