Remote Working

I literally haven’t worn shoes in 187 days.

That was always the goal, right? A flip-flop lifestyle with cold suds, warm sun, and sandy beaches?

One out of three ain’t bad.

Until March, “remote worker” was sort of a mythical job description, held only by special computer programmers or gifted day traders. One of my previous roles as a social media manager was the closest I came to remote working, and in that role, I still needed to be in the office most days to host events or shoot photos and videos for the social posts. One day a week from home was a long way from wandering the world seeking adventure–jumping on wifi at foreign coffee houses to accomplish my daily tasks.

My first week at home I started writing a piece about how this pandemic was going to bring an unprecedented change to things like sports, movies and concerts, but it felt trite. I left it sitting in the drafts folder so long that now it seems naïve and irrelevant. (By the way, I had predicted it would all be over by July. I was definitely wrong about that.)

Aside from our trip to the hospital at the end of May to deliver the baby, we haven’t been anywhere or done much of anything.

Meet Michael Finley Facker, born May 31, 2020.

We spent five strange days in the hospital. Masks had to be worn at all times. The facility was a ghost town when we arrived. The halls were eerily empty. No visitors. No elective surgeries. However, that first big wave of Covid took hold in Houston while we were there, and by the time we left, there were people everywhere.

Since then it’s only been an occasional weekend trip to the marina, but we’ve been avoiding the pool and the pavilions as part of our social distancing. I don’t know how Covid will affect an infant, but I don’t want to find out.

He doesn’t seem to mind wearing a PFD, so that’s good news.

We had purchased concert tickets at Christmas for a show in April. In April the show was then pushed to August. In August it was canceled. The entire tour was tentatively rescheduled for next year, but I don’t know that next year will be any better.

I think that even if a viable vaccine is found by the end of this year, with all the logistics involved in manufacturing and distribution, it would probably roll out with the annual flu vaccine in September of 2021. Maybe after the election we’ll get some insight into more honest, realistic timelines.

We thought about spending a few weeks on the boat, but Mary’s big dual-monitor workstation has taken over the kitchen table. My large dual-monitor workstation has taken over the study. While her massive spreadsheets and my design work could be done on laptop screens, it would be tedious at best. The Kadey Krogen 38 doesn’t even have a nav station, so the one and only option on that boat to set up monitors would be at the one-way-in one-way-out foldout table — not ideal. Maybe as the weather cools and the cockpit becomes a viable place to work, we can spend a few days there, but between the speed of internet and hardware required, it turns out that our remote working still isn’t nomadic remote working.

There are definitely some advantages to working from home. The lack of commuting adds over an hour back into the day. We’ve cut at least 1,000 miles a month of driving. That’s only about 10 gallons of gas per week, and gas is cheap right now, but every little bit we can save helps.

For the most part work has continued as normal. I write articles, I build powerpoints, I update websites. Unfortunately, all of my photo and video work is completely gone. The added value I brought to the table with corporate portraits, executive videos, project documentaries, etc. is impossible to continue during our current circumstances. We’re running entirely on stock photos and self-shot smartphone or webcam video messages. And to be honest, I don’t think that work is coming back. Everyone has deemed iPhone pictures “good enough” and decided they can live without shallow depth of field, good lighting or high-fidelity audio.

The quality of audio/video in a Zoom or Teams call is now the acceptable business standard for the entire world. Craft your message with care because only the words matter now.

Before the baby was born, we couldn’t sleep at night due to the existential dread of the proliferating pandemic. Now we don’t sleep because the baby doesn’t sleep.

So here we are, sitting at home. Remote working. Hoping we stay employed to keep our healthcare. So far, so good. I hope everyone out there is doing ok.

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