How’s it going? A status update after 14 days in the home office

Home Office - Kaffeepause bei Picalike

14 Days Home Office

A good 14 days ago the Picalike team decided by mutual agreement to set up their (work) tents at home and work in the home office for an indefinite period of time in order to protect everyone and to keep the infection curve flat. But how have the employees been doing in the last few days? What new routines have been created, what has remained the same, what do the team members miss most and what do they miss least? We asked a few colleagues about this and here are their honest and sometimes not so serious answers.

Franziska takes care of the existing customers at Picalike.

Franziska Weiß
Franzi's Home Office

Franzi’s Home Office

Did you find it difficult to discipline yourself at first?

No, not really. I closed the door and I’m not to be disturbed. It’s important to me to see the home office as a normal working day and to do tasks like washing clothes and stuff at the end of the day, which is what I would do otherwise.

What technical equipment do you have at home?

Since I “only” live in a 60 sqm apartment with my partner, I’m not lucky enough to have my own office, so as I already mentioned, my kitchen is just right. I have my work laptop and mouse with me.

What would the ideal working world look like for you? Remote or at the office?

I like talking to my colleagues and I also like going to work by bike in the morning, so I like working in the office. However, I find the possibility of doing home office very pleasant and could also imagine a mixture of remote and office.

A good 2 weeks have now passed in which we all no longer see each other every day in the office. How are you today? How’s the work from home treating you?

I’m fine, I’m sitting in my kitchen, working on my tasks. Besides, I can watch the beautiful weather out of the window.

What was the biggest challenge/changeover in the home office for you?

Since I don’t have any children to look after yet and have enough space to work, I shouldn’t complain. I have also worked in the home office before and can therefore handle it very well.

What does your working day look like now? Which things/tasks have remained the same? What has changed? Do you have new routines?

Actually, it looks the same as always: I get up, get cleaned up and sit at the computer. What has changed is that I can sleep a little longer because I no longer have a driving route. What has changed is that I always take a little walk after work (of course with a lot of distance to other people). And not to forget: The clothing style. I work without shoes on my feet and most of the time I wear sweatpants. On top I dress according to my daily routine (meeting, no meeing with clients) with a hoodie or regular top (sweater).

What do you miss most in the home office?

The funny moments with my colleagues and the stories of my boss Sebastian 😉 In the home office you sit rather mute in the “office”. And of course our office dog Lilly, who always brings a smile to your face.

What do you miss the least?

Getting up earlier *laughs*

What is the biggest trap for you in the home office?

It’s hard to say, I get along well with the home office and can seperate private things from worktime. If so, then it’s probably my posture at the PC, again and again I find myself sitting crooked or slipping from my chair – I’m curious to see the statistics on how many people have a slipped disc after spending time in the home office.

What are the 3 things without which you would not survive a work from home?

Hot lemon (sugar-free), cuddly socks (for warm feet), dishwasher (where do all the dishes come from *laughs*)

How much toilet paper do you have left in the house/flat?

Because I am not one of those preppers (which in Germany are called Hamster), there are only: 8 rolls. Should be enough for now.

Hello Julius, you too have been in the home office for over two weeks now. How are you today? How is the “working from home” for you?

An interesting mixture of advantages and disadvantages.

What was the biggest challenge/changeover in the home office for you?

Fewer social contacts and less working together on a task.

How does your working day now look like? Which things/tasks have remained the same? What has changed? Do you have new routines?

I get up much later. The common lunch is omitted and thus the day is structured more variable. The important question at 11:30 a.m. is missing (in the Picalike team this is the question of who goes where for lunch, editor’s note). Not much has changed in the actual work processes.

What do you miss most in the home office?

The direct contact with colleagues.

What do you miss least?

The commute.

How's it going? A status update after 14 days in the home office 2
Julius in the home office

Julius is a software developer at Picalike

Julius Lange

What is the biggest trap for you in the home office?

Large, unmanageable and complex tasks, which are best discussed and divided up first in a team and where a lot of familiarisation could be facilitated / saved by explanations from others.

Did you find it difficult to discipline yourself at the beginning?

It was neither easier nor harder for me at the beginning than at other times.

What technical equipment do you have at home?

Work laptop + gaming mouse/keyboard + screen + speakers + webcam + ANC headset when silence becomes too loud.

What would the ideal working world look like for you? Remote or in the office?

Probably a mixture. 3 days office, 2 days home office for example.

What are the 3 things without which you would not survive a home office?

Screen, music, video chat.

How much toilet paper do you have left in your house/flat?

All of it.

Maik is project manager of the Picalike development team

Maik Kade
How's it going? A status update after 14 days in the home office 5

Maiks home office

What do you miss most about the home office?

My almost 10 km bike ride there in the morning and back in the evening. I actually need this time to clear my head, get some fresh air and I really like the training. Somehow I always plan my work on the bike or let the day pass in review.

Apart from that I also miss the working atmosphere on site. We really have a great team at picalike and I have much less contact with everyone at the moment.
Especially as a project manager it’s important to me to know the personal feelings of my team so that I can support them when they have a less than great day. I don’t notice much of that at the moment and I’ve been thinking for days about how I can change that.

What do you miss the least?

Some days we distract each other a little too much at the office. I’m not always innocent about that either. I can tell by the fact that sometimes I can get my work done in less time than usual. But in the long run I would rather be in the office 30 minutes longer and have more of this interaction, because I think that these little interactions are like the salt in the soup for a good working atmosphere. Without them it is just too bland. And often good ideas come to you in these moments.

What is the biggest trap for you in the home office?

Since my two children don’t give me much scope to slide into traps anyway, there are none at the moment. But I know from my earlier home-office days that I definitely shouldn’t start a series during the break or even turn on the Xbox.

Did you find it difficult to discipline yourself at the beginning?

Nope. But that might also be because I’m from the individual sports performance sports area. Self-discipline is indispensable there. Just the chocolate on my table sometimes makes me weak…

What would the ideal working environment look like for you? Remote or office?

A combination of the two. I can imagine 2-3 days in the home office, but I think that for certain things real face-to-face communication is better. This is especially true for our weekly meetings and training sessions, as well as my moderation of in-house mini-workshops.

How much toilet paper do you still have in your house/flat?

At the moment still a whole pack, but I’m starting to worry, because I haven’t seen any for 10 days while shopping.

And how are you doing in the home office, Maik?

I’m doing pretty good these days. My wife, my children and I are healthy and fit, which is probably the most important thing at the moment.

My days are even more planned than before, which is more due to my living situation with little twins at home. The balancing act between project manager and dad has become much more difficult, since everything is now in the same place.

Fortunately, I am at least still in the situation to have a complete study. But of course, the door opens up here every now and then and my wife stands there with demands. And if you hear a child, crying in the backround, I won´t stay seated. This would not have happened in a normal office environment. Whether this is better or worse, I can only say after more time. But I’m definitely much more exhausted in the evening than before, because there’s no longer a commute between my two main jobs. That’s when I always slowly switched from one job to the other. Now it is immediately.

What was the biggest challenge/changeover in the home office for you?

To find a regulation with my wife that allows me to work in a concentrated manner despite having two children. This is something we are still negotiating, because for her it is really not easy to have two babies on her own.
Also some technical things. For example, I have to regulate my broadband transmission in the study differently, because otherwise I would notice my weak W-Lan transmission, especially in video conferences.

How does your working day look like now? Which things/tasks have remained the same? What has changed? Do you have new routines?

The workflow itself has not changed much. I still lead my daily meeting with the developers in the morning, even if now via video call. The funny thing is that even in the home office, the team insists that it’s a stand-up meeting, even though I didn’t insist on it. Apart from that, I still play a lot of solitaire on our Trello boards, and work hand in hand with the Marketing/Sales team I was sitting in the same room with before.

What has changed for me is that I feel I spend more time with the Trello board, since we currently don’t have a real board in the development office for the whole team. Also the amount of written communication in Slack has increased a lot. For certain things like mini-workshops I have to come up with solutions online. And I can work on a task undisturbed for longer.

But my breaks are different now. I take my lunch break a little later, because socialising with the team at lunchtime no longer exists and no one has yet asked for virtual meals together. From my 1 hour lunch break, I use 50 minutes for sports 3-4 days a week. My study also hides some fitness equipment. On the one hand I need this as compensation, on the other hand I need it to counteract the permanent sitting at the computer.

Well and I have here my Pezzi ball as an alternative sitting possibility. So I change between ball and chair every 60 minutes. And then every day there is a little bit of hopping around on the ball. I think, in the office I would get a strange look if I was fidgeting around so wildly.

What kind of equipment do you have at home?

I have a second 28 inch full HD monitor from Benq, Bose Bluetooth speakers (if the music needs to be loud), a very good Marshall Bluetooth over-ear headset (for video conferencing or if I want to block out outside noise), my company laptop, my company high end gaming mouse (I love it´s green lights), my death star table lamp that glows in the same green (nerd attack) AND the nightmare of all my office colleagues: I own a 1.5 kg high-end keyboard from the German company Klim with MECHANICAL keys. Every keystroke is as loud as on an old typewriter. I could never use it in the office. The keystroke afterglow I set to green of course.

What are the three things you couldn’t get through a home office without?

1. Loud music 2. Dark chocolate 3. Sports against eating too much dark chocolate