‘Working from home is harder than I thought it would be’

Houston Life’s Lauren Kelly dishes on the challenges of staying home all day

work at home
work at home (Lauren Kelly)

HOUSTON – It’s 6:30 a.m. and my alarm goes off. Not the alarm from my phone, but rather a wet tongue licking my face waiting to be fed and then let outside. My dogs have no idea something other than their normal routines is going on, so to them...it’s just another Wednesday.

I let the dogs do their thing, and then I go to the kitchen to get the coffee going. As of 7 a.m., everything is relatively the same. My boyfriend Gabriel is up and on his way to work (for now,) and I need to start doing my hair and makeup.

But wait, do I really need to do those things when I’m not going to see anyone today? That’s when I realize this is not a normal workday. This is a day where my sole duties as a reporter for Houston Life will be to work from home.

I don’t have a desk or office at my house...just a little work station set up on my window sill. (And by work station, I mean small laptop computer, notepad and iPhone) It’s crazy to think that with just those few items, I can still be a part of a live television show.

For the past few days, I have gone into the office and been live in-studio with Derrick Shore and Courtney Zavala for Houston Life. Mainly we chat about things to keep busy in these trying times at home, but today, I wasn’t live on Houston Life. Today was my day (along with the other half of our HL staff) to work from home. We are operating off of a very small skeleton crew to keep interactions with one another limited. Social distancing in the building is no joke, we are all at least 6 feet apart. Boss’ orders.

On days that I do go to the office, I feel a little more accomplished. I have a reason to get up on time, get fully dressed, do my hair and makeup. I have somewhere to be. But when I’m working from home? That’s a whole different story. It’s an odd feeling. That’s the only way to describe it.

In theory, working from home sounds pretty awesome. No makeup, wear sweats for wardrobe, the tv is on, you can take breaks whenever you want, there’s no one telling you DO THIS or DO THAT. But on days where I work from home, I can’t help but feel LESS accomplished. All my dogs want to do is play, and I know they’re wondering why I’m home at a time when normally I’m not. (even though they are LOVING all the extra attention!)

We’ve got a Houston Life group Zoom meeting call at 11 a.m., so I need to have my computer set up in a room where the dogs aren’t barking at me. And even though I have full access to every program I would be using in the office, my laptop is small, and it’s harder to do the things I am in charge of getting done.

Once our Zoom call ends, it’s time to start locking down my responsibilities for the live show. It’s quite difficult to do with my nephews and nieces FaceTiming me. Don’t get me wrong, nothing makes me happier than chatting with them...but it’s a total distraction when I’m supposed to be getting work done. The kiddos know they are home from school for a reason, but they’re still very young and can’t completely grasp it all. And It’s twice as hard for them to comprehend why I’m working at home, but still can’t see Aunt Lauren on tv today.

Once Houston Life ends, our crew regroups for another call to recap the show, and then plans for tomorrow. Even though we are all adjusting to our new broadcasting normal, the team has already gotten into a smooth rhythm.

Our work doesn’t end when the show does. We are constantly looking for new ideas, different ways to utilize technology, (which has played a hugely helpful part in this whole thing, btw) and other things we can incorporate into a show that’s usually run by 20 people...but now only has about 5 hands on deck.

But now my home office turns back into just my home. I will walk my patient puppies down the block for some playtime, call back my nieces and nephews, and make something else to eat.

All I can say is that working from home is different. I can’t help but feel half accomplished, half somewhat lazy. Maybe it’s partially because I’m sitting here behind my computer interacting with everyone without a drop of makeup on. You guys may be rolling your eyes at that, but I feel BETTER about myself when I’m put together. Even if that means just a tiny bit of concealer under my eyes.

All in all, I’m overjoyed to be a part of this team that has not missed a beat over the past few days. Things WILL eventually return to normal, and once they do...I will never complain about going to work [IN THE OFFICE] ever again! Stay healthy friends!

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