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Home is where the work is

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I'm a proud 'Xennial' - a micro generation born late 1970s or early 1980s sandwiched between better know the better 'Generation X' and 'Millennials'. Being an Xennial means you probably had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood. Long summers spent outdoors, jumpers for goalposts and no mobile phones until into your twenties. I started my first job in IT in 2000 just after the Y2k ‘Millennium Bug’ .  Back then Internet connectivity was for the privileged few, exclusively for email access and Internet browsing and via ADSL Dial Up.  At the end of the working day, spent every day in the office, you could simply stand up, walk out and leave your computer behind at your desk with your 14" CRT screen and skip out and home.

Fast forward 20+ years and the workplace experience is very different. I'm lucky enough to work for an employer that recognises that Presenteeism isn't a reliable measure of effectiveness and an outcome-based approach to working is preferred.  Colleagues are provided with the right equipment and tools so as to make working possible from anywhere you can get online possible and trusted to work this way.  Regardless of how you choose to work, in the office, at home or a blend of both Technology is pervasive, always on and information flow is constant.

Right now, as a response to the ongoing global health crisis due to the Coronavirus outbreak I’m opting to work from home. Temporarily I hope but, as yet,  nobody knows how long for. This brings a new challenge of adapting from life in the office and a daily routine of commuting to more hours at home – with my family – my wife, 3 children and the dog!

During that period, I’ll be sharing my experiences of working at home and the technologies, tools and techniques that I discover along the way that can help ensure this remains, as much as possible a productive time.

 

  1. Get Organised - The Basics

First up its important to find a suitable space to work from. This could be a spare room, dining room table or you may already be lucky enough to have a dedicated home office space. Once the hygiene needs are sorted it’s a good idea to agree some sort of structure to your day and agreeing some ground-rules with those you share a space with can be a great benefit. This can be as simple as coordinating your kids learning time with your own work time – use screen time to your advantage and schedule this for when you have an important call or task to complete.

Once you’ve sorted out the home front set about calibrating your calendar for work at home. Regular touchpoint meetings with key colleagues are invaluable. As everyone will likely be remote pre publishing an agenda, sticking to an agreed time for the meeting and capturing minutes and actions are all good practice and will ensure time isn’t wasted. To ensure you are up to date with any important company communications it’s worthwhile having regular catchups with your Manager and anyone you manage as well.

Predominantly as an organisation we use Microsoft Teams for collaboration which allows for Instant Messaging Chat, Voice and Video Calling, Online Meetings, File Sharing and Collaboration. Others are available, Microsoft and Google have both enabled free use of their premium conferencing and collaboration apps, Microsoft Teams and Google’s Hangouts Meet, these could be good tools for businesses that haven’t ordinarily paid for these services.  Zoom is also a great free tool for video conferencing.

Once you’ve got that all done, take a minute to appreciate the benefits of homeworking. No commute means money saved on transport and the ‘green’ benefits of less cars on the road. More time with family can mean you can have breakfast and lunch with your kids  - a treat if you’re not usually afforded the time to do it. Today I made soup!  Recipe here;

- Article by Peter Snowling, Principal Management Consultant, Novosco

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