Like many Americans in office jobs, I started working from home in March due to Covid-19, and have not been back to the office since. As a proud Zoomer, or a member of Generation Z, I grew up with video calling and instant messaging as academic tools, and worked with remote employees during all of my internships. Still, I quickly realized that I was out of my reach and turned to the real professionals: YouTubers and streamers.
Listen to me: this is a group of people who have worked out of their bedrooms or home offices by choice for years. Whether they share video games or hobbies, or just hang out and chat, their work is all about sharing themselves and / or a digital presentation with an audience they need to keep engaged.
With that in mind, here are four things I learned about working from home from the streamers:
Be aware of your endurance
We’ve probably all heard of Zoom fatigue and our limited ability to look at a bunch of little faces on the screen, but endurance is way more than meeting time. In an age when many people are faced with more distractions during the workday, the first question should be: Does it even have to be a meeting?
Many streamers have YouTube channels as well, and certain types of games and projects will still be uploaded to this platform instead of being broadcast. Some things have a lot of downtime that can be suppressed or aren’t dynamic enough to keep a live chat engaged. The same principle can be applied to your office work. Is this a topic where it would be useful for people to prepare and process their contributions? Is there any benefit to having a live chat about this?
If it’s a meeting, set a clearly defined goal at the start and stick to it. Most importantly, know when to call a meeting even if you haven’t accomplished what you wanted. If you hit a wall on the issue in question, you are not going to find the answer in the 118th minute of an hour-long meeting. I have attended many streams called “Finish the Game Today!” in which the game is not over. Probably because it’s been almost seven hours, the streamer is hungry, two of the moderators are in a time zone where it is 3 a.m., and everyone is concentrating. That means it’s time to wrap up for today, and you should be doing your coworkers the same favor when you facilitate.
Your furniture is as important as your technology
I am biased as I was diagnosed with a serious nerve issue while working on this item, but your office furniture is very important. More important than your headphones and microphone and everything you expected in this article. If you don’t have a dedicated desk and office chair, now is the time.
I just bought a Uplift automated standing desk, part of which my work paid off, and it’s amazing. I had one in a previous internship, so it’s not really something that was introduced to me by streamers, but as someone who also spends over 12 hours at my desk each day, I understand why they are so popular. I keep it at 25.3 inches to sit on, a solid 5 inches lower than a standard desk, and it has been life changing for my wrists. Also, it has a huge whiteboard top, which is one of the only things I missed in the office.
I’ve been on the Logitech Universal System for Peripherals since high school, when a friend bought me a wireless mouse for Christmas after showing an interest in 3D modeling. Now I have the futuristic MX vertical mouse and the MX Keys keyboard. Honestly, I don’t know why we’ve ever made computer mice in any other way – it’s so much easier for your wrists to use the “handshake” position.