(<2 Minute Read or Listen Below)
For many who work in a traditional corporate office, coronavirus has created a new norm – 100% remote work. Sometimes there are two members of the household trying to work remotely, now with school-aged children home all day.
I've been working my Human Resources position remotely since the middle of March, and I honestly miss the interaction and buzz of the office. But work-from-home I must, for at least another three weeks presuming the Illinois shelter-in-place order does not get extended. For my artist husband, my consistent presence all day, every day, has undoubtedly put a dent in his freedom of movement throughout the house.
My HR work is fluid and unpredictable. Throughout the day, I'm frequently on telephone and video-calls, often without prior notice. Thus, he has no idea when he can make noise, when he can enter the room, or when he can talk to me. I'm sure it feels very constricting.
In speaking with others who also recently found themselves working from home, it appeared many were experiencing problems intruding inadvertently on each other's space during the workday.
For those with a dedicated home office, a closed-door generally signals the need for privacy. But that is not my situation. My home office is 10-square feet in the corner of the only bedroom in our 900 square-foot home. And I love my space. (For more details, see my prior post Space Limitations, Obstacle or Opportunity)
But, my husband can't read my mind. And not due to a lack of trying. I had to take the mystery out of my status at any given point during the day. So, shortly after starting my remote work, I dipped into my long-abandoned craft supplies and created something old-school. Hanging signs.
My husband mounted an adhesive hook on the bedroom door, and throughout the day, I rotate as needed between two signs (as seen in the photo). Now, at a glance, he knows my current situation. Green – enter freely and make as much noise as you want. Yellow – please, enter quietly. While my hanging-sign system is not sophisticated, it is effective, and it gave me a small creative outlet.
For those of us without a dedicated home office, these times of remote work, close quarters, and commoditized toilet paper require better communication with all members of the household. Don't expect them to read your mind.
Wishing good health to all!