Working from Home - Ideas and Best Practices

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by NYGator, Mar 18, 2020.

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Who is currently working from home or expects to be shortly?

  1. Working from home

    81.7%
  2. Expect to shortly

    2.8%
  3. Can't work from home due to job requirements

    11.9%
  4. Not working from home but probably could

    2.8%
  5. Got laid off

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. I didn't have a job to begin with

    0.9%
  1. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    So most of my company works from home regularly. We have gradually migrated to this over the past 10 years. Since the virus we are at 100%. I have a lot of experience with best practices and ideas and I am sure many of you also do. I wanted to start this thread as a place to help those who are new to it and looking to stay connected while working from home.

    To start, here is a blog I helped write with one of my marketing people, that I thought may help some of you. A lot of this assumes that you have some way of connecting via video chat. If you don't have a camera on your computer or tools like Zoom or Google Meet, get creative and use your mobile device and Facetime, discord or other similar software.

    Feel free to ask questions and share advice.

    Work Remotely, Stay Connected

    If necessity is the mother of invention, then COVID-19 may be the mother of a new era in the workforce. With limitations on group gatherings, school closures, and travel bans, many businesses are trying to do their part to practice social distancing and limit the spread of the virus. That means many employees and employers are forced to work remotely, with no concrete idea of when they'll head back to the office. For some, this is a welcome change. For others, it may sound like a nightmare.

    As a general rule, humans aren't fans of change, and there's no doubt that many people are feeling uncertain and anxious about the many changes happening in the world right now. Employers have to work quickly to provide a sense of stability for their people who are facing a sudden remote reality. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to help the team adjust. It won't be quite business-as-usual, but you can acclimate quickly with the right communication strategy and digital tools.

    Have a Plan (Or Make One, Fast)
    For the past decade, our company has placed a premium on functioning remotely. These days, approximately 85 percent of our people work from home full-time, and everyone on the team is remote-capable.

    "More than ten years ago, some people on our team were remote, but we didn't have the tools to be effective remotely. That was a major focus of mine in the early days," says xxxxxx, President and COO at XXXXX. "We quickly implemented Google Suite, and then Salesforce. They are the two main solutions that help us run our business virtually, and we've been continually improving ever since."

    If COVID-19 is forcing your hand and shifting divisions or even the whole company into telework, remember that transparency is important. One of the biggest challenges when going remote is keeping everyone informed in an efficient way. Establish a "remote guidebook" for employees and clearly document any plans or changes to processes in a central place. Lean on members of the team who have telework experience, and look to them for advice on how to best manage these changes. Be sure your leadership is on the same page and ready to answer questions (and trust us, there will be questions) in a consistent manner, whenever they arise.

    Communication is Key
    Whatever digital tools you choose, remember the function they're designed for: communication. Good communication is key to help us stay connected and work more efficiently. Just because you aren't in the same building, doesn't mean you can't be face-to-face. Consider looking past the phone and take advantage of tools like Google Meet, Zoom, or GoToMeeting for video calls. Utilize messaging services like Google Chat or Slack for both casual and business conversations. Whatever tools you choose, keep it simple and make sure the entire team understands the intentions for each digital tool. For example, should Slack be used for informal chat only? Be transparent by making your expectations and guidelines clear.

    Take this time to use technology to grow your team's knowledge and connection as a group. To this end, we host weekly virtual "knowledge sharing sessions." All are invited to attend and learn something new, and each session is led by different employees. Sometimes we hear departmental updates, sometimes we learn about the particulars of a certain position within the company, sometimes an employee gives us a lesson on his or her favorite hobby. Sometimes we all do yoga together. The possibilities are endless, as are the opportunities to team-build.

    One thing people might struggle with when they suddenly find themselves working remotely is the lack of interaction with coworkers. Most employees find it easier to be productive when working remotely, because there are generally fewer distractions, but for particularly social folks it can get lonely. For those teams that thrive on connection, we suggest opening up a video chat while you work. It's not to have a formal meeting, but just so you can talk and collaborate while also working independently. This simulates the office environment and may keep people more connected. You can set scheduled blocks of time to do this, or be more informal and leave the video chat open all day. The only caveat: if you're not wearing pants, don't forget to turn off the camera before you stand up from your desk. Nobody needs to connect with you on that level.

    Especially now, with COVID-19 drastically limiting opportunities to socialize, leverage technology to connect and sustain friendships. We started a virtual happy hour on Friday afternoons, where we each grab a beverage and snack and pop onto a Zoom meeting to shoot the breeze. The fact that we're spread all over the country is of little importance when we're laughing together and looking forward to a well-earned weekend.

    Trust Your People
    Trust your people to do their jobs. Remote work is miserable for the micromanaging boss, and miserable for the people reporting to him or her. Embrace the idea of asynchronous communication, when you send a message without expecting an immediate response. Give employees a little more control over their time and when they work. Studies show it results in more productive work and happier people. Sure, mix in synchronous communication where it makes sense, but be willing to be flexible.

    We suspect this may be a real watershed moment for the remote work movement. What happens now during the COVID-19 outbreak may well determine if the practice is adopted more widely in the long-term. It can be a challenge to implement a remote work system quickly, but our results are a testament to the value of the practice. Our people are happy, our business is thriving, and our customers are satisfied.

    "There's something to be said about our 'agility' as it relates to how we're set up," says xxxxxx. "Especially in times like this, when so many companies are scrambling to dust off their business continuity plans, we are glad to already have remote capabilities in place with no physical location dependency."

    So give remote operations your best shot while you have the chance. At minimum, you can walk away with the knowledge that being remote-capable is another great tool for the company toolbox... just in case.
     
  2. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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  3. Bricktop the white

    Bricktop the white Well-Known Member

    I have to go back to the office today to set up my VPN again since our it department sucks ass.

    Tbh the office will be empty and it's close to my house so maybe I'll just work there for a bit.
     
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  4. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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  5. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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  6. jkun

    jkun UGA, United, Falcons, Braves, Tennis, Chelsea
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    Bought a new computer chair, keyboard, mouse and webcam yesterday. Had a decent setup but figured if I'm going to be doing this for the next however many weeks I'm going to be comfortable. I'm following my old routine every morning for the most part just go to my office instead of work.

    I setup a daily morning WebEx with my team which has been good, just a chance to see each other and talk.

    Able to workout at home during lunch now which is pretty awesome.
     
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  7. dallasdawg

    dallasdawg does the tin man have a sheet metal cock?
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    routine is key. i get way more done if i act like i’m going to the office in the morning than if i just throw on a hoodie and open the laptop on the couch
     
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  8. dallasdawg

    dallasdawg does the tin man have a sheet metal cock?
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    (posting from the couch in a hoodie)
     
  9. GoS

    GoS Saul Motherfucking Goodman

    Been doing it for 2-3 days a week for a year, gonna miss getting the fuck out of here and changing things up. Also dealing w kids here makes work very hard

    Notgreatbob.jpg
     
  10. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    Yes, a good setup is key. I basically work in a cockpit. I have a small 8x6' office, but it has everything I need and more, and I prefer small spaces. Sit to stand desk is a big plus also. Right monitor is a typical meeting by video conference. That is using Google Meet/Hangouts, but we also use Zoom for much larger groups.

    IMG_1003.jpg
     
  11. SP1

    SP1 Ball State #1
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  12. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    I am a big believer that the chair is a major key. I spent a little more, but this chair significantly helped me with back issues that I had been having. There are lots of cheaper knockoffs or you can buy them for much less as refurbished on amazon.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. SP1

    SP1 Ball State #1
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    Be really cognizant of how much you're eating...it's a lot easier to snack/graze while at home compared to work, for most people.
     
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  14. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    Some things that I do that helps...

    -Take the dogs outside and play with them for awhile when I take breaks
    -Take a 15 minute nap somewhere between 2 and 3:30PM
    -drink a shit ton of water instead of eating all day
    -once in awhile grill ribs or something slow cooked since I can be home to watch it.
    -listen to music (if you cant at work - now is the time to start)
    -schedule time on your calendar for stuff you need to get done that isn't necessarily a meeting
    -keep your morning routine that you would for getting ready for work - maybe even just take a ride in the car or a walk to simulate travel and ease into your day
     
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  15. Bruce Bowen

    Bruce Bowen Well-Known Member
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    Posted in covid main thread but posting here as well. Downstairs temp setup so both of us can help with the kid. Thankfully he is pretty independent.
    upload_2020-3-18_12-22-30.png
     
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  16. Bruce Bowen

    Bruce Bowen Well-Known Member
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    When I work from home I tend to not take an actual lunch. Will jump back on if anything comes through. Trying to be more conscious and take a solid hour of no work.
     
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  17. dtx

    dtx Well-Known Member
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    i just work on whatever i need to and then lay on my couch with my notifications turned all the way up and jump back up if someone messages me

    check my emails on my phone

    #lifehack
     
  18. War Grundle

    War Grundle Nole Mercy
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    Luckily my company has been flexible with us from working from home since I started there eight years ago. They pay for our internet as well.

    I think working in area with no TV is key and to shower first thing like you would normally.
     
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  19. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    How's it going? Is this new for you?

    I wfh 3-4 days a week normally but I always leave the house as soon as my day is done. Now that I can't, I'm dying.

    What time do we start drinking?
     
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  20. ShuPoor

    ShuPoor My life for comrade Britney
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  21. Baron

    Baron Well-Known Member
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    It's 5 o'clock somewhere
     
  22. John McGuirk

    John McGuirk member of the blue tiger club
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    Day 3 of WFH with a hyper toddler. Work has pretty much dried up so there’s going to be a lot of reading, training, and planning until we go back. It’s also been rainy here so I think we are both getting cabin fever. Haven’t lost it yet, but two weeks from now might be a different story. We shall see
     
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  23. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Sneakers

    T's and P's.

    Work has slowed down for me too because they had to get Operations Managers setup to wfh.

    My biggest issue is that now my wife is home all day too. So it's highly likely we will murder each other at some point.
     
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  24. TDintheCorner

    Donor

    New for me and I’m kind of loving it. First day was an adjustment but I've settled in. I’ve read halfway through Fellowship of the Ring in 2.5 days.

    My assistant is useless though.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Sneakers

    so are you getting anything done?

    both of my assistants are a lot like yours
     
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  26. Nandor the Relentless

    Nandor the Relentless Former Leader of Al Quolanudar
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    Nerd
     
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  27. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    I typically start at around 3PM. In fact, I encourage my employees to feel free to have a drink when we meet. No judgments from me. I have even sent my employees bourbon with the purpose of having a collaborative drinking and writing session.
     
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  28. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Sneakers

    You wouldn't happen to be hiring, would you?
     
  29. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    Is Nerd bad?
     
  30. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    we were, but...
     
  31. TDintheCorner

    Donor

    A little but not a ton. Right now it’s mostly just helping everyone else getting set up to wfh.
     
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  32. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Sneakers

    dammit

    I had a director at a previous job and for every meeting we had around lunch or after, we took it at Mellow Mushroom.
     
  33. Name P. Redacted

    Name P. Redacted I have no money and I'm also gay
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    I refuse to do video conferencing just the sake of it, so I never join those.

    Having a good chair is very important, as is having your own defined working area.

    NYGator how do you like those RAID enclosures? They look like the one I use for all my pirated media (and is at GFA's house) but I have a Synology at home now.
     
  34. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Sneakers

    Oddly enough it was the Mellow Mushroom that fsudan worked at.
     
  35. THF

    THF BITE THE NUTS, THUMB IN THE ASS!
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    I worked from home 100% of the time for like 5 years. Did 90% the past three and this year was the first year of going into the office every day.

    A couple things which are helpful for me is to have a separate spot for work; dining room table works in a pinch but it’s usually right near other stuff so it’s easy to get distracted. An actual office is clutch. Or use a spare bedroom and setup a small desk.

    We use Skype and Zoom so I have a decent set of Bluetooth headphones connected to my laptop which I can use so I can walk around sometimes is helpful.

    Dual monitors are legit. You can find monitor stands on Amazon fairly cheap.

    The suggestions for water are critical and I keep a Yeti full of ice water for that reason.

    Be mindful to have some down time during the day.

    Overall I love working remotely. It’s incredible.
     
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  36. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Sneakers

    Like actually videoing yourself? We used skype but lol at the video running. Never seen it used anywhere I've been
     
  37. Bo Pelinis

    Bo Pelinis WE GO HARD ON EARTH
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    Kids are being fucking dicks to each other.

    [​IMG]
     
  38. Bruce Bowen

    Bruce Bowen Well-Known Member
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    Day 1 and I’m there.
     
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  39. THF

    THF BITE THE NUTS, THUMB IN THE ASS!
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    We are having a heavy push towards a video chat once a day with each team. It’s psychological about personal face to face interaction. We are sales teams so it’s a big part of our job.

    It’s the first time I have really leveraged the video portion but it’s not terrible. It’s not even as close to as bad as I expected.

    Zoom does an incredible job.
     
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  40. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    They get the job done and is a lot cleaner then when I had a million drives slowly growing off my PC. I host a Plex server with about 10K movies, 2K complete TV shows and 200K songs for friends and some employees. Started a group chat at work for recommendations and conversations about content during the home isolation.

    I love video chats. I truly believe it is important to connect with people and I really struggle with conference calls, because you can't see people's reactions and you never know when ti is your turn to speak. We have fun with it. We have filters, we drink, we chat. It is much more personal, especially since my employees are all over the country.
     
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  41. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Ah, ok. That makes sense.

    A former co-worker is now the VP of Marketing for Zoom. I've never used it, but good to know they've got a good product.
     
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  42. Name P. Redacted

    Name P. Redacted I have no money and I'm also gay
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    Kansas State Wildcats

    One of my managers/team lead likes for people to turn on their cameras (or use the camera in the conference room) for Teams meetings. Big no thanks for me.
     
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  43. NP13

    NP13 MC OG
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    I'm about to. don't really know the logistics of how it will work, but some days I'll likely have nothing to do. i don't do any video conferencing or anything like that, and my job is totally independent of pretty much everything else.
     
  44. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Sneakers

    Yea, I am saving people from seeing me hungover every morning at my 8am standup.
     
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  45. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    It's great. You can also make use of the private room feature. Have fun with the background filters too. You can replace your entire background with a photo behind you. I had a happy hour with about 45 coworkers on friday night.
     
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  46. Name P. Redacted

    Name P. Redacted I have no money and I'm also gay
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    Kansas State Wildcats

    This is also partly because I always WFH and most people are in the office wearing business casual, and I typically don't shower before 10-12 pacific and everyone is east or central time.

    basically i want to hide my disgusting features
     
  47. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    Fuck them. I wear sweats and a t-shirt every day. I don't shave. I don't give a fuck.
     
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  48. Jake Scott

    Jake Scott Well-Known Member
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    Sneakers

    The more I think about it, the more I wish we had video. Our entire dev team is offshore. When they speak on our calls it sounds like they're in the streets of a bustling Indian market. Might actually suggest we use this feature moving forward.
     
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  49. THF

    THF BITE THE NUTS, THUMB IN THE ASS!
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    This morning I updated my Virtual Background to this image....

    I am kind of curious to see the reaction of my team when I use it tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    I stole the idea from this image... (Top Right)

    [​IMG]
     
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  50. NYGator

    NYGator Degen from Upcountry
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    It is so much better. Think about how hard it is to have a conference call when someone has an accent and you are struggling to understand. That coupled with not seeing reactions and not knowing when to speak make it so much better.
     
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