Work From Home: Vacation An Time Off

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Oh gods, yes another column on Work From Home. I keep thinking I’m done, but I get a new insight and my Geek Job Guru side arises and here we are. I’m glad I can help you – and glad to my readers who tolerate my recent spate.

So recently I was planning some vacation, and my employer provides a handy dashboard for this. I quickly realized I had a lot more vacation time than I’d expected – 3-5 days more on top of the vacation I was saving and banking. The Pandemic had been so disruptive I had lost track.

Needless to say this was part of some jocular conversation between me and one of my co-workers. We began discussing what even is vacation during the lockdown? What is it from work from home?

. . . and then I told him I have to write this column. So there you go.

As we move more to Work from Home (WFH) we have to ask what any time off means anymore. Think about it.

With less commute time are we saving time? Will we use less time off – or indulge it more?

Is caregiving time off and such more relevant, less, or the same when you’re at home with the person who needs you?

Will WFH be more stressful or less? Will we want more time off or less? Myself I feel overall that a lack of commute and more time control is a little less stressful.

With WFH you could take work with you (but shouldn’t) further timeshifting time off. When do you actually go on vacation or otherwise take time off?

And my answer is I don’t know and wish I did.

This is the last thing we’re thinking about right now because of the Pandemic, but we’re going to have to really think about it in later 2021. First, because once we have the Pandemic under control and will want a damn break. Secondly because a lot of us will stay all or mostly WFH and need to think.

Again I don’t have answers, this is a huge blank starting me in the face. But I hope by bringing it up I get you to think – and share your ideas with me.

Steven Savage

Work From Home: The Meaning Of Space

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I was listening to the book Atomic Habits, when the author spoke about space that one works in. That got me thinking about what the spaces we live and work in mean for us while working from home during the Pandemic.

Sure, we’ve all heard the advice on space usage. Have different spaces for different things like work and gaming. Don’t have work stuff in your bedroom. If you can’t have separate spaces have separate zones, and so on. Have one place one use.

But now we’re stuck indoors. We’re probably Working From Home (WFH)

We’re not able to go out to other spaces.

And there’s a chance you’re working, eating, sleeping, cooking, and binge-watching Netflix under restrained conditions.

So what does space mean to us now? What will it mean to us afterwards? When we WFH more, what will we do to rethink our homes and spaces? Honestly, we’re not ready for it.

But more WFH means we have to be. Because bad use of space is bad productivity and not good for us mentally.

So a few thoughts

  1. Organizations moving to more WFH need to do research and provide advice and equipment so people use space effectively. We can’t count on people to do it effectively because they’re doing it turning a traumatic time. They may need some help.
  2. We ourselves need to figure out how to WFH and make best use of space. This doesn’t mean just reading a book. We need to help each other out, be supportive, share advice.
  3. If you’ve tried shopping for certain office supplies, then you’ll notice some are hard to come by. Will this change? Probably – but we’ll want to plan our purchases ahead, and maybe look at discount and used office supplies (that may pile up with the changes).
  4. Once the Pandemic is under control (I expect it to become like the flu) the meaning of public spaces will change. There may be more people working at the library, a park, a coffee shop, etc. People may want or need different spaces, and there may be more of them (I’ve had many a writing session move due to a crowded coffee shop)
  5. All our other relations will change as we work from home – what we’re experiencing now is the intense, involuntary reminder. We may know our neighbors more, we may want our kids out more, our marriages will change, etc. We need to start learning now – voluntarily, as opposed to the way this was forced on us.

We’re going to have to think aboutspace in the new world of more Work From Home. We may be tired of being in the same space, but that just means we have more to consider . . .

Steven Savage

Steve’s Work From Home Findings: Look, It’s Possible

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I’ve been interested in Work From Home for some time – about twenty years. I’ve done it now and then for over fifteen years, and as of late all the time (involuntarily, admittedly). So can people work from home, well my answer is obviously yes.

Let’s look over what we have:

  • We’ve had email for decades, and we’ve used that for business for the same.
  • We’ve got multiple possible chat programs.
  • We’ve got multiple possible conference programs.
  • We’ve got tons of collaboration software, from things like Google Docs to Jira to Rally.
  • We’ve had the phone for how long? We can just use that sometime, even if to most people “phone” means “handheld PC” by now.

Honestly, there’s no reason not to at least try to have every office, admin, coding, executive, etc. job from home. There’s no reason to drag ourselves into an office or even have one. We can do it, and reap all the benefits.

The barrier is that some are reuluctant to switch over to work from home as you have to do things differently. Schedules change. Methods change. Record keeping changes. Moving to work from home requires people to rethink how their work is done.

I think there’s some reluctance to admit WFH is possible as so many people pushed back against it for bad reason. Many people who’d faced illness, family challenges, or disability have asked for it – and gotten rejected. If we head for more WFH, it will require a moral reckoning.

This is scary enough, but truth be told business processes and job methods probably do need to be thought over. Why are things stored a certain why, why is some business done in person, why did we turn down this request, etc. It’s a good idea to ask if what you do works anyway, and when you look at Work From Home, it requires you to rethink everything. Work from home just requires asking a lot of uncomfortable questions all at once.

The thing is during COVID-19, people seemed to have answered those questions, removed those rejections, and modified those processes pretty damn fast. The Pandemic has proven we can restructure work and work processes in an emergency, so we might as well run with it.

We’ve been able to do this for years. We proved we could. Let’s go do it.

Steven Savage