Author: Dan Meyers
Date: March 25, 2020
Originally published on the Fauna blog.
If you’ve seen my posts on LinkedIn (Dan Meyers) over the past week or so, you know that not only is Fauna a 100% distributed environment, but that as an HR Leader, I have worked virtually 8 of the last 10 years leading organizations of 50-22,000 employees. In other words, I understand this working from home (WFH) thing!
In the spirit of my previous posts, I wanted to share a few more helpful hints to help make this transition a success for you.
For many, you are ending week 2 of WFH and reality is starting to settle in – the good and the not so great. Hopefully you and your co-workers/manager have settled into a groove – you’re having daily/bi-daily or weekly check-in’s via video as well as video team calls to stay in sync work wise, but also to support each other emotionally if needed. Now more than ever, you are most likely burning up the keyboard with IM’s via Slack/Skype to stay connected.
But let’s talk about the reality of WFH though; it is incredible in so many ways yet challenging in others…
The good: no commute and the stresses/expense that comes with it, wear-n-tear on your vehicle, no public transportation, better for the environment, no waiting for coffee from Starbucks (wait, this might be a “not so good”) etc. and the time saved commuting (over 1 hour a day for most) is devoted to other more important priorities such as family or even getting ahead on work items.
The not so good: loss of routine, no direct human connection (isolation), distractions at home or even the “Vegas Syndrome”.
Much like the ability to succeed in a traditional office setting, preservation in WFH comes from best practices, mindfulness and discipline. In a previous post, I covered off on how to avoid the “isolation” factor, so here, we’ll focus on distractions and “Vegas Syndrome”.
Distractions! Oh, there are many and given the current situation (Covid-19) those distractions can be compounded by having your children/spouse/partner at home as well. What to do? I wish there was one simple answer, but there isn’t as everyone’s situation may be different. What I do suggest though is to find “your workspace” in the home – think of it as your dedicated cube/office. At the beginning of the day, talk to your spouse/partner/children and review your/their schedule (yes, your children need a schedule too – routine is key for everyone). Make sure to carve out 10-15 minute blocks throughout the day for you/them to connect or for you to do things like taking the dog out, flip the laundry over, grab a snack etc. – this is important for obvious reasons but also to avoid the “Vegas Syndrome”.
“OK Dan, you’ve said it twice now. What is this “Vegas Syndrome'' you keep referring to?”
Well, ever been to Las Vegas? The casinos are designed in a way that you lose all sense of time. Day? Night? No clue. Just keep gambling! Same thing can happen when you WFH if you don’t have a routine – next thing you know, 3 days have zipped by, you haven’t showered, are eating horribly and your spouse/kids/dog do not recognize you. A little over the top, but for illustrative purposes, you get the point.
Keep a similar schedule to when you went into the office. Really? Yes really, but maybe sleep in an extra 15 minutes 😴. Still get up at 6am, walk the dog/exercise, take a shower, get dressed (skip the fancy work clothes, but no sweatpants and for your sake, I hope your company still doesn’t require fancy work clothes – so 1990’s!), have breakfast with spouse/kids/dog then head to your dedicated space. Once working, have a virtual coffee/lunch with a co-worker, take those 10-15 minute blocks to get up from the desk/table and end your day at your normal time. Yes, it is fine to check email/respond to items later at night like you may normally do but limit it to 20 minutes max!
As you have read here and probably on other commentaries posted on-line, there are many benefits and challenges to WFH. Ultimately though, you control your success/frustrations in this new way of working and hopefully these tips will help in your journey. This really can be a great working experience – just remember to pay attention to yourself!
Finally, since Fauna has been a 100% remote org from the start we have a lot of folks who would love to share their experiences and offer advice. Please feel free to reach out to any of us via our Slack community. We also have a specific #remote-work channel where we can all share our experiences - positive and/or negative!