How I’m Working From Home

Hermosa Beach Pier

629,000 COVID-19 cases in California. 11,245 deaths. In LA county, 222,000 cases, and 5,254 deaths as of today.

But this article isn’t about COVID-19, but instead the effect it has had on millions of people now working from home. I was reading an article the other day that discussed how disruptive and challenging working from home constantly can be, so I wanted to explore that by taking a look at my current setting.

  • Title: Communications Lead, Mattel
  • Role: Crafting the narrative for Mattel’s technology organization, which focuses on how utilizing solutions to help Mattel work faster, more efficiently, and with agility, to grow the strength of our power brands and capture the potential of our IP.
  • Home: Los Angeles, California
  • Family: None, solo-living

In past jobs, I’ve worked from home once or twice a week. These days were always awesome because I was able to cut down on commuting time, focus on home needs where required, and still get work done. It was never stressful, actually, it was the complete opposite. It was nice to break up the monotony of the daily commute to work. It would even give me an extra boost of energy the following day at the office since I would feel invigorated.

That’s all gone now. Working from home since March, the home life and office life have mutated into one unrecognizable and often draining space. But like me and many millions of people around the world, it’s being done for everyone’s greater good – though that doesn’t erase the fact that it’s mentally exhausting.

Let’s explore what my working from home situation looks like by answering questions I saw online:

What social distancing technology am I using?

Zoom. WebEx. Teams. Outlook. Yammer. Though my favorite social distancing tool is Microsoft’s WhiteBoard.

What’s my new work attire?

Early on, around March in April, I happened to do an Allsaints order, so for the first few weeks, I was wearing all my new clothes. Some of this stuff would be things I’d wear to a bar or a night out on the town – so, I was looking pretty fresh at work. Ultimately, around June and July, I started living that hoodie and Adidas track pants life. But by the end of July and early August, I transitioned back to wearing my casual clothes like a t-shirt and jeans. My rationale is if my jeans continue to fit, that means I’m not gaining weight!

Also, my hair has grown quite long. This is my ultimate goal. It’s like 60 percent there.

What makes your new workspace unique?

Originally, I didn’t have a workspace set up. I had a really skinny desk meant primarily for a laptop and was mainly just for decoration. As I started using it, I realized that I needed way more space. Being inspired by countless modern design blogs, I went with this industrial table and paired it with a minimal ghost chair, which does nothing good for my booty when I’m sitting on it throughout the day.

What makes my workspace unique though is the kanban board on the right, which helps keep me on track by visualizing my work, but more importantly, my sexy Ring-like light (it’s from Aukey). I grew really tired and annoyed with people that have really shady lighting conditions and swore that I would never look shady in my video meetings. It also looks really rad.

When I get tired of sitting, I stand at my kitchen counter. Though I can’t do that for too long since it messes with my feng shui staring at a black and silver kitchen as the backdrop to my work.

What’s the hardest thing I’ve experienced?

I’m a chronic music listener at the office. Literally, Airpods are glued to my ears and I only take them out when talking to someone face to face or at meetings. Since working from home started, I transitioned to listening to my music on my Google Home speakers and started out listening to perhaps 75 percent volume.

I received a complaint from management that my music was too loud during the hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. I was pretty confused as this isn’t loudness during the wee hours of the night and nothing in my lease says not to play music loudly during those times. But out of courtesy to whoever complained, thinking it’s my downstairs neighbor since he likes to work on his balcony, I’ve started listening to music at 40 percent of the volume, and sometimes I can barely hear it.

Maybe I’m being pissy about it, but I honestly vibe out during work through music. So, when I’m forced to reduce the volume due to someone working outside, which still doesn’t make sense to me as it’s not like the bass is heavy or anything, it colors me pretty confused, to be honest. And if you’re thinking, “Why not just keep your Airpods on?” I guess the silver lining is that during this time I’ve been able to give my eardrums a break because when I listen to my Airpods it’s at like 95 percent volume. 60-year-old Julius will thank me.

What’s something keeping me sane?

Living close to the beach, I know I can get away from the “office” to take a break and watch some crashing waves. But on the weekends, I really love cruising up and down Pacific Coast Highway. I can’t wait for the day where I can drive from LA to San Francisco, stopping off in cities like San Luis Obispo, Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur. That’s giving me something to look forward to once this all gets sorted.

BONUS: Took my office work chair home

My booty could no longer take the posh plastic that was my ghost chair, so I recently grabbed my office work chair and brought it home. It almost didn’t fit in my car.

What my office/home looks like at night:

There you have it, my life working from home. Writing this out, I suppose it isn’t as bad as others have it – I guess it was a bit therapeutic. I’ve heard from other people complain about their roommates, having to home school their kids, their parents’ health issues they need to tend to, no daycare… I get it, life’s regular duties are now combining with our work responsibilities and it can really throw people off.

I really hope we all come out of this better, faster, and stronger than before.

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