Kendra’s Top 3 Tips for Working Remotely

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Kendra’s Top 3 Tips for Working Remotely

  • How is it in other countries?

    Here in germany it is like a third world country when it comes to home office, it is barely a thing.

  • Firstly, welcome to the UK I hope you have a good native guide/translator to help you through some of the more confusing aspects of British culture.

    Secondly, I have really enjoyed the editorials from yourself and Grant while Steve was on sabbatical, is there any chance of making these a (semi-)regular feature?

    I have used a good quality camera in MS Teams/Skype meetings in the past, meetings held entirely remotely seem fine but when the signal has to go over our oversaturated local corporate network the link can drop out as packets get lost.

  • You can never work from home the same as you can work from work. And as far as working remotely goes with regards to COVID 19 the fact remains you wont be working from work or working from home either way if you're ill regardless. Unless of course ....

  • Hi Kendra, love this article. Your points about a webcam and breaking up the day are excellent. I didn't realize that having a webcam would be useful, but I can see that it would. I've heard of stories where people at meetings at Microsoft, are constantly trying to multitask during the meeting, which must lead to at least a few people not following what's being discussed closely. I've adapted a Pomodoro pattern, using Windows Alarms & Clocks.

    But I've got two things I want to bring up. We use both Skype for Business and MS Teams where I work. Most people's bosses (mine included) require that both apps be running at all times. The bosses expect to interrupt anyone at anytime as well as any other colleague being able to interrupt one's concentration at any time. Your recommendation is a nice idea, but the culture where I work forbades it.

    Second, which is something I think you should have included in your list, is a cultural change may need to be done. I work for a large state government department. Very recently our governor announced a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 virus, and asked that "non-essential personnel" work from home. In this state there is no tolerance for people working from home, either in the public sector or the private sector. For the time being our CIO has declared everyone is an essential person, thus side stepping whether nor not we can work from home. We just had an online meeting in which the CIO said that the State personnel office is working on a a policy for working from home. Since this state's attitude is so forcefully against people working at home, I get the feeling that those who have to change the policy are extremely upset having to allow people to work from home. I've asked several managers, in the past, what the business reasons were for not allowing remote work. Most of the time they don't answer the question. If they do, there's two answers: (1) "We've always done it this way" (which to me is more of an excuse than a business reason). (2) Its an issue of trust, as in they don't trust their employees to actually work from home. (As far as I've been able to find out, there's no precedent to support this distrust because they never actually allowed people to work from home, it's just that it's never  been done before.) So, I would add that something has to be done to change the culture and attitudes. I confess that at this point I really don't have any ideas or answers as to how to do that. I've found that if people have a firm idea embedded in their thinking, it will almost take an act of Congress to change it.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Thank you. Excellent advice.

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  • david.wootton wrote:

    You can never work from home the same as you can work from work.  ....

    True, I am MUCH more productive at home. YMMV

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  • How often are you interrupted? Is there a pattern?

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  • I find the pattern to follow the following rules:

    1. usually folks on the west coast like to interrupt you right before/during your lunch and dinner hours.
    2. it happens mostly during the weekdays
    3. everything happens on Friday at 3pm local time

    Rod, for what you can get away with, leave it up but don't check it. Maybe a cursory glance to see if boss/direct report boss is the one asking, otherwise, set it aside until your designated timeframe. Even though they expect responses, REASONABLE timeframes are usually accepted. If it takes you an hour or two to respond, that should be good enough. If they see you responding appropriately to priority issues, nobody balks.

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  • Sounds good, Jonathan.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Robert Sterbal wrote:

    How often are you interrupted? Is there a pattern?

    Robert, I'm not sure if you were asking everyone, or just one person. I'm going to answer your question, but if you had intended to ask only 1 person, I'm sorry.

    Where I work I am often interrupted. It doesn't follow a pattern, though. I work in a large cube farm with about a dozen other people around me in their own cubes. Most of those around me are IT Tech support, for answering phone calls, or calling someone to respond to a help ticket is normal and always frequent. The other problem for me is my cube is outside the office of the manager of the IT support people that surround me. He gets visited by his boss and when that happens my concentration goes out the window, because the big boss talks loud and long. He "mansplains" to his subordinate, who is also a man. (Mansplaining isn't just between a man and a woman; at least that's my observation.)

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • The tip about not working from Slack/Teams/Outlook is gold!

    At home I have two monitors plus the laptop screen.  Sometimes the work I do needs those 3 screens and with Slack, Outlook, MS Teams open I can't waste screen real estate on having them all at the front.

    My advice for home workers would be to make sure you have a decent physical setup at home.  A decent chair sounds expensive until you find yourself in need of an osteopath.  I've bought a small collapsible laptop stand so the laptop screen does not require me to stoop.  This prevents upper back pain.

    My home internet is much faster than work internet even when using a VPN.

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