Do It Yourself: The World's Best Work From Home Tips
Coronavirus causes global crisis. People are forced to work from home. Everyone's struggling. Kids are at home too. Bla bla bla. You know the drill. It's how almost all articles start these days. This post is different. It's what I'd like to call a ‘do it yourself blog post’ - consisting of tips from all of you - based on your real and recent experiences. Here we go...
The biggest workplace experiment on the planet
This whole ‘work from home’ experiment is undoubtably the largest workplace experiment ever. Billions of us are in a ‘research project’. The ‘why’ is terrible. The ‘how’ is really an experiment in how we cope. Could there be any positive side effects?
Progressive companies we’ve visited focus strongly on ‘experiment and adapt’. They constantly search for better ways to work. Now, everyone is forced to follow their lead. Unfortunately, this experiment is far from ideal. There was no time for proper preparation. No clear hypothesis to test. No clear metrics in place. And the fact that kids are also at home makes it at least 10x more difficult (I assume)!
However far-from-ideal this is, it is better than to never experiment at all. Let’s reflect on the experiment so far. Let’s help each other to get better at this 'work from home' stuff.
Luctor et emergo
Joost and I grew up in the Zeeland province in The Netherlands. The motto there is luctor et emergo (Latin for "I struggle and emerge"). Struggling (and hopefully emerging) is what many people are doing in this new reality. To support the struggle and help you emerge, this post is about all of you – the community – sharing insights and lessons about how to make ‘work from home’ work. So, here we go.
Crowdsourcing working from home tips
Drop your tips, recommendations, learnings, do’s, don’ts, failures, and essentials in the comment section below. Whether they are about technology, rituals, dog-walking or cat-feeding, kids, team dynamics, meetings, information sharing or decision-making, share what you’ve learned and inspire others.
Do It Yourself: The Best Work From Home Tips
Let’s crowdsource as many practical tips directly from those in trenches - you. Drop your comments below, and we’ll join in with our team as well.
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Personally I take one room a week and clean it with a friend, cause pair cleaning is much easier than getting stuck on my own. Yesterday we started with the garage ( 90 minutes spent, half of the wast thrown away, and aprox. 2 more sessions to go ). When I get three weeks experience I will courage to clean up the team backlog as well - with or without the product owner :)
Just before corona, I started my own regular one day per week working-from-home experiment.
Traveling to and from the office takes me about two hours. And although I really enjoy being there with Pim, Joost, and Bram, I wanted to make more use of freedom. By working from home more often I could use the mornings to go to the gym etc. Well, that experiment was taken to a whole new level when we got back from a team vacation in Sankt Anton. From a changed perspective of once working from home once a week to an uninterrupted period here of eight weeks, here is what I do:
- Start my day with a check-in with Pim. After setting my own goals on Trello for the day I discuss with Pim.
- Embrace the fact that I can go for a run whenever I feel like it.
- Embrace the fact that my productivity is different from when I am at the office.
- Store away my home office on Friday. As we do not have a separate office space it feels good to clear it all away to enjoy the weekend.
I'm starting new habits that are helping me a lot
1. Wake-up, take a shower, get dressed, and make-up. Even if I'm at home, I love the feeling: I'm beautiful :)
2. I'm trying to set a work schedule to avoid long working hours
3. I'm doing exercise 3 times per week after work: Some virtual classes with other people and exercises routines in YouTube
4. I stopped listening to news about COVID. The counting about how many new contagious and died are not good for my mind
5. I try to do video calls with my family every day. That recharge me a lot.
I was planning on writing an article on this but you guys went one step better (again) an open source conversation, I like it.
I've been gleaning tips and tricks for a virtual consultant start up. This article is timely.
In no order here is a collection of my favourites:
1. Plan on your non negotiable activities each week, well in advance of booking appointments.
I have two hour lunch breaks and quality family time away from the phone and laptop daily. Allows us to go picnic. Food shop and cooking time also allows me to take ownership of family meals and not end up in a hanger fueled war zone with pregnant wife and kids from 5pm until bed...
Exercise and calls to people I love also in the non negotiable category. Structure to the lock down madness...
2. Take any audio calls I can on foot. Gets me out of the house and away from screen.
3. I ordered a standing desk (essentially a shelf) as a second laptop base. Locate in a room with a view. Allows me to mix it up again further and be closer to the family to help out at times... My attic is too appealing to live in.
4. Buy best tech and equipment I can afford. I want to be my best employer. A second hand ergo chair. Big monitor. Quality mic and camera, laptop that dreams are made of (unfortunately).
5. Trick your self you are at work for uber focus. Routine exercise. Breakfast. Dress up. Be professional. Being in your jimjams and not washed at 2pm while fielding work fires all day doesn't work for me.
6. HOLD - I have lots of these, check out. My article.
In his excellent book Brave New Work, Aaron Dignon asks whether your organisation behaves like traffic lights or roundabouts. These are two very different approaches to busy road intersections. Traffic lights have strict rules, which require no thought or judgement. You go when its green and stop when its red. Roundabouts, on the other hand, are based on agreed principles.
Work is solving other people’s problems. Most progressive companies on our Bucket List think they do that best when structured as networks of teams, rather than hierarchical pyramids. Teams in radically decentralized networks are often self-managed and highly autonomous. And these teams are often very small. They rarely consist of more than 15 people. But why are self-managed teams in these networks typically so small? There are very good reasons.
We sent out our first newsletter nearly 5 years ago—around the end of 2015. We had just quit our corporate jobs to embark on this crazy adventure called Corporate Rebels. A lot has happened since then! But one thing that hasn’t changed: our newsletter. And it's about bloody time to do so....