Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the normal way of doing things has been disrupted including how we work. The spike of covid 19 cases globally and locally has forced companies to change tact and have their employees work from home.

This has been adopted globally as part of the measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus and ensure people avoid crowds and maintain social distance. Employees have had to adapt rapidly working, but how has it it been for most Kenyans?

For a section of employees, its the first time to working from home, which means figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity.

Pulse Live Kenya interviewed a section of the public to share their experiences working from home.

Miriam Mwende - Journalist at Pulse Live

1. How has your experience been like working from home?

It’s been both difficult and easy. Easy because I’m an introvert so I’m really enjoying the solitude and limited social life.

Miriam Mwende - Journalist at Pulse Live
Miriam Mwende - Journalist at Pulse Live

2. Is it different from being in an office setup?

Quite different. I’ve been working from my couch but I’ve decided to get an office desk and chair to help bring a more office-like work environment. Other than the physical absence of my colleagues, I’ve not felt a big change in the workflow because we are constantly communicating via WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and Slack.

3. Do you have a schedule that you follow?

Yes. I’ve tried as much as possible to maintain my normal schedule. I take my lunch hour as I used to, I start working at the same time I used to and I avoid doing house chores during work hours.

4. Now with coronavirus, do you find the new arrangement beneficial for your kind of work?

I think it is beneficial. I’ve found myself being very grateful to be working in the digital space because very little has changed in my actual work duties. I’ve been able to deliver as is required of me.

5. Do you think you are more productive while working at home or in an office?

I think I’m more productive when working in the office because I have access to all the tools needed for my job and I can easily collaborate with other departments. At home, I’m very limited.

6. Is it stressful for you spending all this time inside your home?

It’s not very stressful because I enjoy being at home whether in quarantine or on a normal weekend. With the extra time I’ve been able to pursue some of my other hobbies such as art and I’m trying to cultivate new hobbies such as fitness.

7. What are you doing to stay fit and healthy?

So far I haven’t been able to keep fit but I’m doing my best to manage my diet well.

8. Once the outside is open and you can go back to your old schedule what will you do first?

I’ll travel. Maybe go on a hike somewhere.

Timothy Oriedo - CEO Predictive Analytics Lab

1. How has your experience been like working from home?

It's been awesome. Balancing Family, Work and Selfcare

Timothy Oriedo CEO and Founder Predictive Analytics Lab
Timothy Oriedo CEO and Founder Predictive Analytics Lab

2. Is it different from being in an office setup?

Absolutely different. From avoiding the traffic in morning and evening to visiting the kitchen severally to snack, to attending up to 3 meetings simultaneously on different platforms which is undoable in an ordinary context.

3. Do you have a schedule that you follow?

Yes, I do.

The day starts with a 5 to 6 km jog, then breakfast then I have meetings with my team after which I check on the progress of different clients projects in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

4. Now with coronavirus, do you find the new arrangement beneficial for your kind of work?

First, it was catastrophic as we lost revenue due to events cancellations. A significant proportion of our revenue streams come from training.

But we have had to re-engineer our models by introducing virtual training and front software development to augment pieces of training

5. Do you think you are more productive while working at home or in an office?

Am somehow used to working on the move so it's a tie. Only that I am not at home alone now so that changes stuff.

6. Is it stressful for you spending all this time inside your home?

No, it's not but sometimes I feel forlorn I miss travelling and making new networks.

7. What are you doing to stay fit and healthy?

Workout, I have a small gym in the house and online training app as a coaching assistant.

8. Once the outside is open and you can go back to your old schedule what will you do first?

Go to JKIA and fly

Oliver Mathenge - Group Digital Editor at Radio Africa Group

Oliver Mathenge - Group Digital Editor at Radio Africa Group
Oliver Mathenge - Group Digital Editor at Radio Africa Group

1. How has your experience been like working from home?

So far, I have had no major hiccups working from home. However, there are instances where electricity has been an issue, as you can’t power on the WiFi modem, which slows down operations since my work is mostly online.

2. Is it different from being in an office setup?

Yes in very many ways. Conducting meetings and brainstorming online is not the same as when face-to-face. In addition, I am used to walking over to someone’s desk to discuss an idea or do a quick brainstorm, which is no longer the case. At times, the turnaround time is slower than usual especially if a key team member is offline.

3. Do you have a schedule that you follow?

I try to make my daily routine as close to working from the office. This means that I have maintained my morning routine (probably minus a few minutes that I would use to commute to work) of waking up, showering and dressing. I also take my meals and breaks around the same time I would if I were in the office. I, however, find myself working for longer hours than before.

4. Now with coronavirus, do you find the new arrangement beneficial for your kind of work?

It is definitely disruptive but we will have to give it some time to see what adjustments can be made especially if it takes longer to resolve the slowdown.

5. Do you think you are more productive while working at home or in an office?

I have found myself more productive while working from home. This is especially so because I do not have distractions that come with being in an office full of people.

6. Is it stressful for you spending all this time inside your home?

At times it gets to me as staying in the same place is clearly not ideal. But I am managing the stress by taking evening walks.

7. What are you doing to stay fit and healthy?

A few stretches here and there and also taking some short walks. And of course, avoiding the kitchen as much as possible outside meal times.

8. Once the outside is open and you can go back to your old schedule what will you do first?

The first thing is to evaluate what adjustments need to be done in my professional life. I will probably also get out of town for a bit to reset.

Racheal Njoroge - Digital Account Manager

1. How has your experience been like working from home?

Different. Having to reprogram not only mentally but also changing my schedule has been quite a new experience for me. Resetting my body clock has taken the longest.

Racheal Njoroge - Digital Account Manager
Racheal Njoroge - Digital Account Manager

2. Is it different from being in an office setup?

Absolutely! In an office set up, there is a predetermined schedule that you mentally follow. In-home office, the schedule is determined by your discipline.

3. Do you have a schedule that you follow?

It’s slowly coming together.

4. Now with coronavirus, do you find the new arrangement beneficial for your kind of work?

Yes and No. Yes because there are minimal interruptions when the work starts and an opportunity to grow one’s skills with the transit time saved. No, because of course, the uncertainty means that there is less spending thus limited creative outlets for ideas.

5. Do you think you are more productive while working at home or in an office?

Yes. However, there is a need to be intentional about creating a balance.

6. Is it stressful for you spending all this time inside your home?

Yes. The anxiety from uncertainty is definitely straining.

7. What are you doing to stay fit and healthy?

Homemade healthy meals and taking periodic walks.

8. Once the outside is open and you can go back to your old schedule what will you do first?

Go see my parents/siblings and give them very big hugs.