Siri Boe-Lillegraven, Faculty Diversity Officer & assistant professor in the Strategy and International Business section, Amsterdam Business School. We spoke to her about how she set up her workplace at home and asked her to share some tips on working this way.
We are currently two adults and two children at home and all of us are busy with school and work. We have adapted to a kind of rotating system: one adult starts with the children in the morning, while the other moves to a closed room to work in peace. After lunch, we switch. I have my big screen from the office set up in the bedroom. For Zoom or Skype, I move to my son’s room because the internet connection is best there – unless he is already using the desk. We have a bit of a ‘musical chairs’ situation going on, with more people than desks. One day I tried to use the ironing board as a stand-up working desk, but it was too short for me.
The people! I miss greeting and waving to the bike coaches and the person at the Amsterdam Business School reception desk in the mornings. I miss the chaotic lunch routine with colleagues, where we typically end up gathering in one of our offices. I also miss my office mate, Pushpika Vishwanathan, and our regular updates about work and life in general – although we do try to maintain that through other communication channels.
Maintaining focus is a core challenge at the moment, with more competing tasks than usual due to my home situation. I try to avoid being on my laptop while helping the children with school work, because it is too inefficient and a real trigger for conflicts. Instead, I try to free up at least a couple of uninterrupted working hours during the daytime, while taking some calls in between. Some days are better than others. There is no denying that the situation is challenging for kids as well as grown-ups, and we all have to remember we can’t do everything. For me, there is a lot of positivity in maintaining some sense of routine; a feeling that things can go on, although in a slightly different format. One thing I try to prioritise is joining a virtual lunch with my colleagues. It’s important to maintain some ‘social glue’ now that we don’t bump into each other in the hallway anymore.
Water the plants and, unless it's still deemed too risky, hug my colleagues!