Testing from Home Pitfalls & Tips

As you might have noticed we have this new thing called Covid-19 or the CoronaVirus…  

If you are listening from somewhere in the Civilized world (with some exceptions around China and the Scandinavian countries) you are probably listening to this podcast from home.  You are keeping social distance, and coping with new work & life reality than the one we used to have at the beginning of 2020.

Yes, for each of us this is different.  Some of us have families, while others might not.  Some of us live in apartments, while others might live in a house in the suburbs or the country.  Some of us might have been working full time or a couple of days a week from home, while others might be experiencing this for the first time.  

But all of us are encountering new challenges and difficulties related to this new (forced) working and testing from home environment.  And today we want to review a number of these points and talk about things you may do to improve your status and if possible even avoid them altogether.

How’s life

Joel:

  • Not traveling anywhere other than the recycling bin 50m outside my house
  • Sharing my home office with my 12 year old – the other 2 girls and my wife are also at home but working in other rooms.
  • But working like crazy – we are seeing that some companies are reducing work as it is expected, but many others have managed to do the transition and do their best to work as normally as possible.

Rob:

  • Thankfully I was planning on taking a couple of months off to write my squirrel book and finish my online course.
  • I’m working on lots of video content and also another book based on my zero to keynote course.
  • Homeschooling is hard work and my wife is taking on the bulk of that so big thanks to her.

 

Let’s talk about the big elephant in the room, or the smaller but noisier elephants trashing the family room right now… 

We are not working from home, we are basically working while trying to keep the peace of our families at home

  • How do you find your quiet place?
  • Organizing your day so that you can find time to work
  • Chores, chores and more chores
  • The importance of exercise and eating right too is tricky – try meditation too – I use headspace

How do you keep your team organized?

  • Over Communicate with multiple channels  (Slack – Mail – Zoom – Whatsapp)
  • Daily meetings – stay in touch multiple times through the day via chat or phone – like standups: what did you do, what are you doing today, what do you need for this?
  • We also have all hands twice a week.  Where each team reports on a high level what they are doing.
  • Leaders and managers need a harder style of communication which means being confident, direct and positive, whilst maintaining realism and of course, trying to deliver this with empathy and care – this will test many managers’ ability to communicate. Panic and doubt and vague soft communication may not be what your people need.

Working together is more difficult than when in the office all together

  • Yes, but it is not the end of the world, some people have been doing this all their professional relationships
  • Video makes a world of difference
  • Use collaboration tools like PT 🙂  or google docs
  • Good internet helps.
  • I saw a meme on LinkedIn about who was responsible for your companies Digital Transformation. The CEO, no. The CIO, no. COVID 19 – yes.

The workday explodes, expanding from 6 AM to 10 PM

  • It happens, and it is an issue
  • Block times for non-work stuff in the calendar (I have time to prepare and eat lunch with the family), time to have dinner and exercise at night – make sure people know they have to respect this.
  • Block time for personal tasks
  • Set max of 30 min per meeting, and feel free to ask to move stuff to emails or slack
  • Try and work in a different place to your other activities, so you can physically or metaphorically close the door on work, and create that separation.

Working with Junior staff that need mentoring and training

  • Yes, it can be done
  • Set expectations, share the tasks between the team
  • Encourage self-learning and reviews
  • Put a plan in place and agree on it. Then keep working it.

Burnout & Decline in motivation

  • Yes, it will happen
  • Remember to be in touch personally with the team.  It is OK to ask personal questions, and even to suggest someone takes a break and even a day off to watch TV and relax
  • Situation is not great for many if not most companies.  As a leader, show the bad and good news together and explain what the company is doing to come out of this stronger in the end.
  • It is not about showing all is good, but about showing we have things monitored and have plans to navigate the ship over this period of rough waters…
  • Social zoom events do not harm 🙂
  • Look out for people’s behaviors shifting significantly, give people more slack, listen to your people.

 

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