Working at home, the last frontier….. for some!
I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work at home (WAH for those that love an acronym) for 12 years thanks to the flexibility of my employers and the ability to do IT stuff remotely. Whether it was building Citrix servers, packaging applications, creating guides, I even ran a 1 day conference from home during the snowmageddon of 2018.
Working at home 10 years ago was usually regarded as “working from home” (trying to do the fingers thing “”) with people picturing me sitting around not working. Now it’s widely accepted as employers and employees reap the benefit of a flexible working environment and the numerous benefits they can reap (happy for productive employees). For me its allowed me to organise my personal life a bit better plus book all my deliveries for the same day (double bonus). So in these crazy days I thought I would share my day and how I try to avoid going full Shining on my family.
Get laptop setup in the office > check email for anything urgent > deal with it > remember to get dressed.
I am lucky to have an office (its really my wives sewing room) with a desk, chair, good light, fresh air plus its a room I don’t use often (I am not a crafty person). I like closing a door at the end of the day and having that separation from my work. I have worked in a few kitchens however prefer a separate space. Do school(s) run (plural as they go to the same school however it has 2 campuses…….honestly) > Get home > make coffee > sit at the desk > game face on
The Working Day 0900-1700
WAH is great however I find it different to working in an office. It’s quiet, nobody chats to you and you can really focus on set tasks. You may find that within 1 hour you may have blitzed something that could have taken a lot longer in the office due to the distractions of meetings (will get to them later), water cooler chat (americanism however we all know what it means) or environmental conditions (comfort, air quality, light etc) to name a few. This dedicated quiet time is great and i usually set aside tasks which I know will require a few hours undisturbed focus.
However with the current situation and the possible impact on quiet spaces bing nabbed by others due to quarantine it may be tricky to find your inner work at home sanctum. My plan B is to nab a corner in the spare bedroom, grab some cushions and make a work at home snug which will have supplies including cake and coffee.
Meetings, we all love them however having a meeting online can be a challenge. My favs are:
- Physical meeting room hosting the meeting too big or has poor setup
- Whisper William and Wonda who only whisper….I CAN’T HERE YOU! plus causes audio drop out
- Shouty Sarah and Sam: step back or readjust the MIC!
- The forgetters: they say something when they think their MIC is off!
- Video provocateurs: i have seen people turn the video on in their bedrooms, bathrooms whilst wearing dressing gowns to the bare flesh
To combat these issues you can follow the Myles rules:
- Familiarise yourself with the application: can be tricky with numerous tools in the market however being a master of one will help as they all offer the same core functionality
- Familiarise yourself with your hardware: I have used the same camera and mic for years.
- Test audio and video before you enter the meeting: most apps allow for you to check everything is working…..do it!
- Is video essential: stuttering video is always fun (max headroom style) and video can be a distraction. If your connection isn’t great then don’t turn it on.
- Pray the other people in the meeting do the same…….
- If you joining a meeting split between physical and virtual inform the organiser as they can check the physical rooms IT setup
I try and get out of the house for a 5k run. It stops me thinking about work, fresh air and splits the day. I don’t look forward to it however it’s refreshing to get away from a screen. Post run I check my time > blame the wind for my slowness and not the fact I ate a bag of mini-eggs last night > shower eat > back to work.
End of the day
Any end of the day can be slow and for me the end of the day at home is usually when I am most productive (not a morning person). I usually try and complete the current task > update tomorrows schedule. Close the laptop and rejoin the house chaos,
WAH & Me
WAH (for me) doesn’t mean working a longer day or not being able to do certain tasks. I am lucky that I can do all my tasks remotely however I am also fortunate to have bosses and colleagues who trust me to WAH. This trust is key and is reciprocated as I can be flexible on other days if required. I have WAH for a few weeks previously (due to popping a knee cap in a dance battle ……or was it playing football…..you decide) and it can be challenging especially when other people are about however managing your time, have a dedicated start and end time, get out at lunch and have a dedicated working space may help you find your WAH mojo.