I work at the kitchen table because of the light above my head; it makes keyboarding easy. I also have access to drinks and beverages, and I can walk to the balcony without disturbing my wife, who takes advantage of the spacious living room.
In the quarantine, for us who are remotely connected to our offices, there is a grey area between personal time and working time. The first, it is time we spend when we finish the working shift. Additionally, it could be the duration of the lunch and the breaks between tasks. The second, on the other hand, it is time that we choose to be, or we have to be available to phone calls, conferences and professional discussions. It is time we devote to get the work done.
In the IT industry, some of the competitors notify employees with specific guidelines. For example, avoid scheduling remote meetings between 13:30 and 15:00, when people usually have lunch break. At the same time, it could be considered as a subtle message for the employees to go for lunch within this time frame. Another example could be the guideline for keeping day work within nine to five, or ten to six. Minor exceptions to the general rule are allowed, but only if there is no alternative.
In the scope of a system modernization, I am pushed to spend a weekend in front of my laptop because an internal client tries to catch up with his deadlines. He says, “I am sorry, but I am forced by the director”. I play hard to get and I promise that I will do my best for him.
He calls at 9 o’clock, Saturday morning, and he insists that it is time to accelerate. I am still laying on the bed and my wife is wondering what is going on. “A co-worker thinks that staying at home means that we should take advantage to work overtime. He will get the bonus, so he is urged”, I explain. “Don’t worry”, I add. “I’ve put a halt to him. I told him that I am unavailable, at least for today. Maybe I could help tomorrow. I have to consider my answer”.
The next day, I switch on my computer and I log in the systems which I supervise. I call the colleague and I tell him that I will contribute to speed up the implementation of the project. I emphasize the excellent cooperation that we have so far and I explain that I will do it for him and not for the director. He feels grateful and he sends me the input that I need to proceed with my share work.