Like most people in various businesses worldwide, I have been forced to work from home with no end in sight — this has been going on for several weeks now. I work in support management and while I am based in Phoenix, two of my direct reports are in other countries.
While my day-to-day hasn’t been affected that much, it’s mostly the unplanned activities that I miss — helping someone from another team in one of the open spaces or walking to somebody’s office to ask or discuss something.
Working from home: Pros and cons
Working from home brings some benefits: spending more time with family, saving gas by not having to drive anymore, and having more time for old hobbies.
But it also has its challenges: kids getting more screen time than usual, not being able to do much other than walking in the neighborhood, etc.
Working from home can be hard, with a need to stay focused and disciplined when disruption from family or home comes so easily. However, work at Axway was already remote in many ways, working with distant customers or working with team members in other countries.
The main channels of communication are Jive (the company social network), Microsoft Teams, Salesforce CRM, JIRA (for defect tracking), and email. Therefore, the overall productivity of support services to engineering hasn’t been affected. Discover how to overcome your work from home challenges with Syncplicity.
Making working from home to work for you
How do we do it and what can others learn from it? Here are a few tips to take the stress out of working from home.
1. Plan for a longer but less-focused day of work Depending on whether you are a morning person or not, you may start earlier than usual or finish after dinner. Keep early and late time slots for tasks that don’t require anyone else’s involvement.
2. Get the kids involved. I don’t hesitate to bring my kids on a webcam during meetings, when appropriate. It’s easier to let them participate for two minutes rather than trying to keep them away during the whole meeting (though this may not apply to customer meetings where the mood is more serious).
Both one of my team members and I have twins, so we have had 1-1 meetings with twins on both sides coming and saying hi.
3. Reach out to new people. With challenging times, it often brings the opportunity to develop new connections and search for new ideas. I have been surprised to see people I rarely know or don’t directly work with setting calls with me in the last few days.
4. Be spontaneous. Many spontaneous social posts in several countries had people sharing pictures of their work from a home environment with various desks, shelves, and monitors, pets, families, etc. Finally, people realize that the company’s social network isn’t futile or maybe they learned to appreciate it more.
Axway has a rock band (the Grifftones) composed of Phoenix coworkers. They mostly play songs from famous bands, but last year they debuted their own song, “Better Together,” even playing it on local TV stations. It has never been so true. They recently did a virtual session of “Better Together.”
Check out Axway’s Remote Work resources using Syncplicity.