March 20, 2020

The introduction of the Carpool Lanes last October by the Ministry of Transport, together with construction work associated with the light rail transit system in Tel Aviv has suddenly changed my morning routine. What used to be a pleasant 30-minute drive from Herzliya to Tel Aviv has evolved into a frustrating 50-minute crawl which put me in a foul mood that threatened innocent bystanders.  I found myself dreading this ride and wishing for a home office.

Well, fast forward to March 2020 and my wish was granted. Although traffic is negligible these days,  I no longer need to venture (pardon the pun) to Tel Aviv. The Corona virus has us quarantined to our homes and yet the show must go on. At first, I couldn’t decide if I could get things done between the kids, the temptations to load another washing machine and wash yesterday dishes, or if such an arrangement will lead me to be a more productive, happier and all-around nicer person. Care for a bet?

So how has that been working out for me so far? In terms of infrastructure, between my laptop and applications available through the cloud, the transition to working from to home has been easy. Granted, I am now far more empathetic to my kids’ complaints about the Wi-Fi and the lack of cellular reception in some parts of the house…

And in essence? Apparently, at a certain age, it’s impossible to sleep in, my biological clock has me up at 6am, but with no sandwiches to make and kids to kick out of bed, my coveted coffee & newspaper time has become a reality. 1:0 to working from home.

Clothes and make up. Another time consumer. With Zoom only showing waist up,  I only have to care about which shirt to wear. 2:0 for home office. As for makeup?  I would not be caught dead without my primer/concealer/blush combo. At the office or home, a girl must be groomed, no points for either side here.

So, dressed and preened ready to work and it’s only 7 am. Whoa, that’s amazing. Added a morning jog to my schedule. That merits another 2 points for the home office.  4:0

Time to get started.  I dive into my emails, consume online updates (after all aside from overcoming corona Israel is faced with a major challenge of forming a government) continue with emails until my first zoom meeting. Hey, I do miss these people… A few jokes and niceties and it’s down to work. Opinions exchanged, screens shared, and we may as well be sitting next to each other. 45 min call and it’s a done deal.  Back to work.

Personally, a large part of my time is about creating content. Aside from inspiration, content creation requires maintaining a train of thought. At the office, there are many distractions, with people coming in to ask a question or just to say hello. At home, I can spend hours not talking to anyone and wrapping up a project quickly. Disclaimer, this only applies until 12 pm, after which kids get up and chaos begins.

Three! meals a day, dishes, fighting, whining, this is the reality of parents working from home these days. Yet, joint meals, conversations that don’t begin and end with “how was your day”, time to see what kids study today and offer assistance in solving trigonometric equivalents ( I may not look sixteen but I still got what it takes) well to me, that is priceless.

The most difficult thing in working from home I find, is not the lack of company for socializing, it’s for brainstorming. While I may fall in love with some of my ideas, I always appreciate a second opinion and spontaneous initiatives that arise, well plainly just from talking to each other. First point for the corporate office.

Another perk in going to the office lies in the change in atmosphere. Living in Suburbia, where houses look the same, everyone drives the same cars and dresses the same, coming into Tel Aviv, to Qumra’s fabulous offices, located in the heart of Tel Aviv between the trendy coffees populated by tattooed bearded hipsters smoking weed for breakfast, makes me feel uber cool.  Three points at least for working in the corporate office.

This global crisis, whose length and impact are yet to be determined, is changing how we all work. While I hope, that our short memory will drive us to quickly jump back to our old routines, I think that in terms of working habits, some things will change, and flexibility will be among them. Some companies had to go to great lengths and expense to enable working remotely and now that it’s possible, this option should not go to waste. If employees want flexibility, why not give it to them? It’s a benefit that also cuts costs for the employer. Also, according to a study by the University of Illinois, remote workers feel compelled to go above and beyond to make their work presence more visible and to make themselves known as assets. Think about that…

Bearing with me till now you probably want to know what’s my bottom line. A week into this new routine, it’s not as bad or as good as I thought it would be. I suppose that most people will say that working from home relives stress and restores a better work-life balance but specifically, this situation introduces new levels of stress that are hard to overcome. I hope you are finding your way to deal and work from home. For me the score today is 4:4, recognizing the pros and cons of each habit.
What about you? drop me a line…
I am all alone here and miss the company!

7 responses to “Working from Home
A Dream or A Nightmare…?”

  1. Ben says:

    Great read Yael!

  2. Adi says:

    Super cool read Yael 🙂

  3. Tal says:

    Loved reading this! For me the ideal would be around 50:50, in routine times.

  4. Shelly good luck says:

    It was overwhelming reading it
    Thanks for your words
    It was a great!

  5. Yael Shilony says:

    Loved what you wrote!!! In normal countries throughout Europe people work 7% less, and the rate of flexibility and homeworking is around 17%, whereas in Israel it’s only 3%. Homeworking should be combined with office work precisely for the reasons you so eloquently enumerated (my data is based on ILO publications and Eurofound from 2017)

  6. Dorit Aharon says:

    Thank you Yael! I enjoyed reading this 🙂

  7. Yael Florenthal says:

    Super interested in knowing what’s the score now!

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