Tales from isolation

Bijgewerkt: 26 mrt 2020

By Fabio Frota

I've never been a big fan of WFH (working from home). "How can I be productive in the same place where I spend my lazy Sunday afternoons?" was my main concern when we decided that it was time to work remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The first two days were a mess.  

Everything was more appealing than work: my cats doing their usual crazy stuff or my guitar begging to be played were two major distractions. It's also easy to start waking up later than usual, procrastinating and feeling sad about this situation, also considering that my family is literally oceans away (I live in Amsterdam and they are in Brazil).  

As a team, we also had a couple of difficult days. OrangeTrail is a digital transformation consultancy that focuses on digital collaboration, so we better be doing what we preach right? Well… We also ran into some problems that usually happen to our clients: no idea who is working on what, waiting for someone else to make the first move and feeling isolated. 

We quickly became aware of what was going on, so this is what we are doing now: 

  • Increasing moments of alignment and social interaction by narrating what we are working on and having video calls. 

  • We have a daily kick-off meeting in the morning that really helps me get into “work mode” (and not sleep until 12pm). 

  • We have a couple of “virtual lunches” during the week where we can talk about anything and have a little bit of fun, showing off our hidden culinary talents or cute pets. 

All in all, I’ve got to say that I adapted quickly. Having a well-defined routine is helping me feel more productive and my days are meaningful. People ask me “what do you do to stay sane?” and to be honest, work is playing a big role. 

It's also important to increase communication with friends and family (there's a cool Chrome extension that allows you to have an online Netflix party), go out for a walk, join some online fitness classes, eat healthy. Just because you are physically alone, doesn't mean you are alone!

Technology is here to help us not only work smarter but also live smarter in this moment of isolation. 

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