My morning is greeted with a loud blare from my alarm clock at 10:15AM. Instinctively, I get up, stretch, brush my teeth, wash my face and get back to bed again.
I get my bed desk, open my laptop, check emails and start working on the tasks for the day, just like any other person who’s WFH now.
If anyone told me this was how my first job after graduation was going to look, I’d probably be pretty excited and confused at the same time. I enjoy the comfort of my home but I’m not a hermit.
2 months ago, I started work at Vulcan Post, and have been WFH since day 1. I haven’t stepped into the office for a day of work at all, let alone get to know my colleagues organically that way.
So here I am writing from my bed, about what it’s like to work from home for my probationary period so far.
A Lot Of Texting And Screens
The only time I’ve ever stepped foot into the office was when I was interviewed for the job and when I did my short orientation prior to working.
Because the cases were getting increasingly worrying in Selangor, our office decided to move to WFH indefinitely pretty much right before I started.
To communicate, our office uses Workplace for general work messages, and we use Discord for meetings that need voice or video calls. For the most part, we text frequently to update each other and ask questions.
Getting Oriented On My First Day
My first day of work was really interesting. I had no experience in editorial writing nor was I used to any of the apps and sites Vulcan Post uses, so I learnt everything from a 20-minute screen recording my managing editor sent over.
I had learnt a little during my orientation, but still would constantly go back and forth to the screen recording to really familiarise myself.
Clocking in on the first day of work was unlike any experience I’ve ever had. My colleagues were all reduced to an avatar on the work chat, and the only way for me to learn about them was through texts.
And because work texts are far more serious than casual ones, I felt even more intimidated by my colleagues.
When I wrote my first article, all my feedback was just through Google Docs comments. I had to consistently text my managing editor back and forth on how I could improve the piece.
In the beginning, my heart dropped every time I received lengthy comments on my work.
For some reason, seeing a long paragraph of words for feedback is scarier and more overwhelming than if she were to just talk to me in person. However, I’m now used to it after 2 months of WFH.
A Glimpse Into The Company Culture, Even Online
One of the things that took me aback was that our Malaysian GRVTY Media (parent company of Vulcan Post and other sister brands) team uses Discord for virtual meetings.
I’m more used to Zoom, Hangouts and Microsoft Teams when it comes to office-related virtual meetings. Discord, on the other hand, has always been something my friends and I use to play games together.
The team’s Discord server was surprisingly casual and chill. My colleagues all had weird names and icons which I had to initially figure out and match to the person on my own.
But to be fair, I wasn’t any better because I used my old Discord account with the name “it me” and had no icon.
As much as it shocked me, I was quite happy about that because it gave me a sense of how chill my work environment was that they didn’t mind using Discord, a casual communications platform, for work.
Moreover, there were gaming channels on the server as well, which hinted that the team plays games together often and that got me excited.
However, the most important thing is that I personally find Discord the least laggy communications platform, so I was glad I didn’t have to sit through blurry Zoom meetings or choppy Hangouts voice calls.
Meeting My Colleagues Properly For The First Time After 2 Months
Earlier this week, I finally got to meet some of my colleagues after 2 months of WFH with them. We met at my boss’ place to try out some food for DiscoverKL.
Imagine seeing someone’s chat avatar for a long time and finally meeting them after chatting for 2 months—it almost felt like I was about to meet Internet friends or something.
I’m a very curious person in general and would like to know about a person as much as I can, so I was very excited for this gathering.
By now, I’d already had an idea of how they might be in real life, and the gathering turned out to be more comfortable than I expected.
It changed my perspective on the importance of learning about a person in real life, and made me realise how much I could actually learn about them through their online presence too.
That being said though, I still think getting to know someone in person is more effective than through online means.
Waiting Out The WFH Period
I’ve come to a point where I’m quite neutral about working from home. It has its perks which I enjoy, like not having to endure the stress of traffic and the ability to work in bed or on couches.
But at the same time, I feel quite lonely doing this 8 hours/day and not having a clear line drawn between my work and personal life.
A part of me wonders if I’ll regret taking WFH for granted when I start working in the office, but another part of me just can’t take living every waking hour within my home’s four walls anymore.
However, effectively working around the woes of WFH is completely out of my control and for now, I’m at least grateful that this new norm isn’t something I’m going through alone.
- You can read more about other WFH articles we’ve written about here.
All Images Credit: Faye Lee, writer at Vulcan Post