Eindhoven University of Technology has closed all offices since March 11. That means me and my colleagues have been working from home for at least two months today, having numerous video calls.
In general, I do not mind working from home at all. Before we had to stay home full-time, I used to work from home one day a week. This is because a shared office provides many distractions that I am not yet used to. Sometimes, I just need some time and space to focus.
On the other hand, there are many advantages to being in the office as well. You automatically take breaks more regularly, grabbing some water, attending the coffee machine and walks to the printer all provide some much needed time on your feet. Then there are group lunches, social drinks and birthdays to celebrate. I really like the group I'm in, so these distractions are certainly enjoyable.
Now that I've spent at least two months working from my living room, I can honestly say I'm doing fine. We have daily stand-ups with the research group, which help to keep me focussed and on schedule. I have finished up two papers and am setting up a new research project to undertake in the following months. I can keep myself occupied with courses, meetings and writing. I do miss popping into my colleagues' offices to quickly ask something.
The one thing that I feel sad about more than anything, is all the cancelled events. As I've just started my PhD, this is the time for building a network. For visiting events, exploring communities, and getting to know new people. There were various events on my calendar: CHI, ICT.OPEN and ICER are either cancelled, postphoned or held online. Up until now, I have not attended any conferences at all, let alone any virtual ones. Can these virtual events fill the holes their physical counterparts left behind?. I guess I'll have to wait and see how that works out.
Until then, I'll be here, in my home. Because I have to.