We’re a few weeks into the lockdown in New Zealand and in some ways not much has changed for me. I already worked from home 3 days a week, my team is still continuing to develop the product and support our customers just like we always have. However, in other ways, everything has changed, the world has changed both in big and little ways.
My wife and 4-year-old daughter are now home with me during the day, which makes work life more interesting!
I’m a big fan of micro-breaks. I often get up and wander around, make myself a cup of tea, or just to stretch my legs and keep my mind fresh. But now whenever I leave my desk, instead of making a trip to the watercooler, I am immediately caught up on the “State of Play” from my chatty and very imaginative daughter. What she’s drawing, or playing, I’m often included in her play: “Daddy, you’re Christopher Robin and I’m Kanga” (one of her teddies was Roo).
Another day last week she had made crowns from shiny cardboard. I was given a crown and pronounced “The King”. I did notice that my crown wasn’t as ornate as hers, but I wore it all afternoon regardless. Luckily, no-one called for a video meeting after that. It would have taken some explaining!
I’ve been reflecting on both the tragedy and the serendipity of the situation! Amongst the craziness of this level 4 lockdown, I have experienced some of the cutest family moments and have banked some amazing memories that will last a lifetime!
Work wise, the hardest challenge right now is planning. How do we plan our next projects or organize our priorities? Normal isn’t normal anymore and our metrics are all changing. How do we measure success and failure? I’m not sure anyone knows for sure just yet. As much as possible we need to react quickly to the changes going on around us and adapt where necessary.
My tips for working from home as a team?
- Continue to collaborate. Being physically apart doesn’t mean you should stop bouncing off ideas with your work colleagues. Ideation is an interesting process. Even the best don’t get their ideas right first time around. Ideas develop as you talk them through. Merely explaining your idea to another person helps clarify it in your own head. New ideas form and the best insights get brought through to the final solution.
- Have a “Video On” rule. As a listener, you give better attention to a face-to-face interaction as opposed to a voice only call. I find there is temptation to get distracted and check your emails otherwise. Also as a talker, it is easier to see if people are agreeing with you, or if you have lost their attention. It may feel a bit uncomfortable with a webcam pointing directly at you in the beginning, but it keeps your team more connected.
- And last but not least: Point your web cam away from hallways and doors where at all possible. You want nothing like this to happen.
Jonathan is a Team Lead/Senior Developer at ProWorkflow