I am not new to working from home. Being part of a digital newsroom, one of the largest in the country, I have to be online and working almost all the time. So I am used to starting my day with the cold metal of the MacBook touching my lap, and a large cup of black coffee in my hand. But what would otherwise have been something you do a couple of hours a day, has now become the new normal.
These are unprecedented times, but also a great opportunity to earn some life lessons. Working from home, for all its advantages, also poses some new challenges. For instance, there is no closure. The work just continues and stripped of the structure of an office and the need to get back home at some point, you too don’t realise the need to stop at some point. Also, ergonomics is something that has been locked down with our offices. It is hard to find a good posture at home, if you have not had the foresight to set up a home office space.
We have one, but also two people working from home at the same time. So I’m mostly on the sofa, peering down on the screen on my lap. The operative part of the last sentence, if you did not catch it, was peering down. Because that is the worst thing you can do while working for long hours. That angle can wreck your neck, as it has mine. It is best to keep the screen at eye level, however possible.
While in office, I use Windows for all purposes, at home I am in my Apple ecosystem. So I am not really used to working on Macs all the time. Since the work load is more, I have switched to the convenience of the large screen and power of the 2019 MacBook Pro which had come for review. My old MacBook Air can take a break in these tumultuous times.
It is after a week of working from home that I realized that in the present environment, I hardly have used my iPad Pro. In fact, this is the device I carry with me all the time otherwise, to office, to other cities when I am travelling and even on most trips abroad. But when I know I have to be in front of a screen for over eight hours for God knows how many weeks, I have without realizing moved to the familiar comfort of a larger screen and a keyboard.
One feature of the Mac I have stared appreciating more in recent days is how easy it is to get back to work. That is usually just opening the MacBook and touching the fingerprint scanner – I am back where I left work. With Windows it does not work that way always. And when I have to stretch my legs or catch the glorious blue skies Delhi has been blessed with in the past few days, I just need to close the Mac and not worry about saving a thing.
The one device that I have started using much more now is the AirPods Pro. I often wear them for hours with nothing playing, because it helps me think and work better in the cacophony that is a two-bedroom flat with a nine-year-old also locked down with his parents. Also, one thing you don’t have to miss out on despite the lockdown is the long line of meetings you have to attend during the work week. Now, they are just a zoom call away. With the AirPods on, I have almost an immersive experience of all the video conferences and con-calls. There is no question of not hearing anything, it’s more the fear of hearing too much – not everyone adheres to the be-on-mute advise.
After almost 10 days of working only on macOS, I have realised there is nothing I miss of my office workstation. There are a few legacy software that work only on Windows. But in the necessity of the past few weeks, our IT team has innovated to make even those available online.
So while the lockdown – however long it lasts – will for sure change the way we work, it might well make me stick to my Mac for work also.