Working remotely during the Corona pandemic in Italy is very different from my "normal" working remotely routines because all daily routines, work and personal, are limited to take place in the apartment in Milan. The situation in Milan is still critical with a complete lock-down and people not allowed at all to exit their home unless for urgency or work-related for those who still need to go to work (mainly doctors and other health operators plus supermarket workers and some production companies).

The death toll is over 6000 in Lombardia alone, with intensive therapy beds full in hospitals and some areas such as Bergamo where military trucks are now used to bring dead bodies out of town to be buried!

With these terrible things happening around us we still try to fight and adapt to the situation, trying to focus on working from home, socializing with neighbors by singing on the balconies and doing some basic gym inside.

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The common theme is using technology to stay connected to people!

It is not easy of course, but since it is out of our influence, we just try to smile, enjoy Spring starting outside and wait for the epidemic to slow down!

With my partner Giusy (who had a free day from hospital) and cat we enjoyed very much TimeXtenders online version of the Friday Recharge session directly from the sea!! :)

As for best practices I really appreciated those coming from Microsoft - Staying productive while working from home with Microsoft teams. Then of course it is very personal, I would say my most important points are:

  • try creating your own ‘home office’ even if difficult in a small house or living with family, kids, cats…
  • move sometimes for short periods with your laptop to other areas such as a sofa or a different room for specific tasks such as watching a video, writing an email or just reflecting
  • plan your day around scheduled Teams meetings
  • sometimes I find useful to give a slot, for example to a partner, I can be reached tomorrow 10 to 12, if you need some support just send me a line and I can join you on Teams
  • pause frequently in on-line meetings because interaction is very different than face to face
  • keep as much as possible separated work and ‘home life tasks’
  • try to have some almost-normal hours including frequent pauses for coffee or water and lunch. Sometimes you just lose track of time if you stay in the same place all day.

This is valid of course for ‘normal’ remote working, in the current situation it is difficult to relax, stretch your muscles and stop your mind because even after work you cannot go to the gym or to a pizzeria…

But I am also sure that after the end of this crisis, some lessons will be learnt in the ‘Corporate world’ about working better remotely and bringing also some advantages regarding for example traffic and pollution reduction.

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on working from home during COVID-19. We'll love to hear your stories out there as well.