Casey Butler Harwood

[un] Field Notes: Thoughts on Working From Home

Okay now, raise your hand if you made your kid(s) cry this morning by “choosing” to work instead of play with them.

You can’t see it, but both of my hands are raised high in the air. My head, on the other hand, is not held so high. And it wasn’t just this morning, but every morning for the past… SIX WEEKS?! Holy mackerel. Each day, I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster — and the operator is on an obnoxiously long lunch — nay, cigarette — break. (What a jerk!) At the top of the lift hill is the joy of being able to see my kids’ faces more throughout the day (tear-stained though they may be) and overhear the goofy things that they say; the ability to roll out of bed and stroll into a meeting in pajamas, with unbrushed teeth. (There’s no such thing as bad breath on the internet… right?) At the bottom: feeling like a shitty parent — or a shitty employee — for the way I prioritize everything that requires my attention; my time. Of course, like any roller coaster worth its weight in steel, mine features many a disorienting helix, anxiety-inducing headchoppers, exhilarating loops, and unexpected dives, too.

[Little] helping hands & casual office attire. Photo: Casey Harwood/Drawn Agency

In spite of all of this, I recognize that it is a privilege to have a job that allows me to work from the safety of my home — to work at all, for that matter. And for that, I also feel grateful every day. These are unprecedented times (at least in most of our lifetimes) and honestly, the difficulties of working from home may be the least of our worries. Still, that doesn’t make them any less real. And with that, I’d like to offer my very haphazardly compiled tips for making #WFH more workable:

  1. Bring a large supply of coffee/snacks/alternative hydration to your workspace — preferably enough to last you all day. That way, you won’t have to leave your little work den and, in doing so, remind your housemates (read: family) that you’re actually still there.
  3. Also, that mute button. 🙌
  4. Communicate with your teammates often and openly. If you need a hand with maintaining alignment as a virtual team, we’ve got you.
  5. Speaking of teammates, virtual happy hours are like Red Bull-vodkas to us extroverts — not only do they lift our spirits, they also boost productivity. Especially if there’s actual beer involved.
  6. Finally, go easy on yourself. This is hard, if for no other reason than that it’s new. And, of course, there are a million other reasons why it’s hard. So, be patient with yourself and each other. We’re making it work!

Disclaimer: We take zero responsibility for any negative outcomes experienced while following this completely unprofessional advice.