How I make it work: Aparna Sharma
Where are you sheltering, and how are you?
I am sheltering at home in Sunnyvale with my husband and doing well. In the absence of commuting and not rushing for train, I have spare time to go for an early morning and evening walks. It is also good to catch an extra hour of sleep occasionally or do other projects around the house. I love cooking and gardening and feel soothing to work on and see the colorful flowers blooming and kitchen garden flourishing. A project I was able to do in my vacation time was painting inside my house. Also, I am one of the Masquerades and volunteered to sew 100+ masks for the Stanford library staff. Furthermore, I have been able to join a few online Yoga and LinkedIn classes, due to having extra time after work.
What has your experience been like working remotely?
Although I miss interacting in person with colleagues, friends, and train buddies, I am enjoying working from home since there is no early morning rushing. My position requires me to interact with patrons in person, but all that can now be accomplished remotely, unlike even ten years ago. Instead of attending meetings in person, we have Zoom meetings now and in fact a lot more than before. I save to and fro walk times needed for attending meetings in person on-site at different locations and, even more importantly, have no young kids at home to take away my attention and time. I am thankful that with technology we are able to work from home during this pandemic and accomplish the same objectives, if not more.
(cutting fabric for face masks)
Have you learned anything new that you might not have while on campus?
I feel that working remotely saves quite a bit of time that can be used to complete additional tasks, and the mental stress level is also relatively less in an informal setting. Working remotely, you may be able to do a few tasks even while feeling minor aches and pains that would otherwise require a sick time off.
What sorts of things have you been working on?
Apart from regular work, I have been working on long-overdue projects, which usually one may not have time to do.
Has anything proven to be more or less of a challenge than you anticipated?
Not being able to find time to relax in between jumping from one Zoom meeting to another. I am spending much more time glued to my computer screen as compared to before when the same discussions could have quickly been done verbally face-to-face. The mental relaxation felt earlier because of a change in the scenario while physically walking to the meeting is not there anymore.
How have you created comfort where you are SIP?
It is challenging to find a comfortable place to sit for almost 8 hours working continuously facing the computer. Initially, I practically moved around the house, tried different rooms, chairs and finally created a space in my formal dining room so that I can spread my paperwork and not gather it every evening. It is still not as comfortable and ideal as one would like ergonomically.
What do you do to differentiate between “work” time and “home” time?
It is challenging, but one has to set boundaries to be productive. I set my work hours as much as possible to mirror those that were on-site earlier.
What would you most like to do when you return to campus?
Have face-to-face interactions and meetings with colleagues as much as possible, while still maintaining social distancing.
The pandemic has made us especially realize that human life is very unpredictable and short and is immensely enriched by our families, friends, and colleagues. So we must always stay calm and thoughtful, be thankful and kind to others, find goodness in everyone, and help them if you can.
(Hydrangea bush in my garden)