Remote working review

Last Friday morning (Australian Daylight Savings Time), 20 March, we launched the first of our weekly Remote Working Coffee Meetups. Our concept was straightforward, we thought… but Meetup says we’re supposed have a local community. However, they have made some concessions due to current circumstances:

“…Our current policy is that the majority of a group’s events need to be in-person. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, we know that’s not possible for all of our members, so we’re temporarily suspending the enforcement of this policy. We want you to be aware of our regular policy and the value we place on in-person connections, but know that you will not be penalized if you host virtual events in the coming months.”

Interesting times ahead, as people and companies adapt to the new ways of working. I’m wondering how they revoke use of the platform when things return to normal or if that will be possible. Time will tell.

Although the group consisted mainly of Aussies enjoying an early Friday morning coffee, we also had people join from New Zealand, Thursday afternoon in the US, and Thursday late evening (glass of wine) across Belgium, Italy and Spain in Europe. The majority were regular flexible, remote workers. Familiar with nuances of working from several different locations and adaptable to finding the resources they needed to get their work done.

However, times have changed. And now, remote working predominantly refers to working from home. Our discussion topic focused on the distractions and challenges that would face our colleagues who were less familiar with remote working. What tips and strategies could we share with them to make their transition more comfortable? It didn’t take long before the discussion became focused on how these seasoned remote workers were describing frustrations and challenges of having their usual approaches being disrupted by others.

Their experiences with the current, additional distractions and their strategies are the first in our series of briefs for working remotely (to be published shortly). What was different, was the injection of additional people – family members, partners, flatmates – people who are not normally part of a remote workers’ day, were suddenly forced into their space and routines.

These are new challenges, new types of distractions and are forcing us to find new tactics to reduce tensions within our personal living spaces. When I reflected on the distractions we had collected, there was almost no mention of typical daily routine distractions, like doing the washing or cleaning, or shopping, these seemed to be easily solved. But, as flexible workers, we shared strategies that were innovative, clearly demonstrating the ability to adapt – although not without showing some increased levels of stress associated with the disruptions.

Our next meetup will be Friday 27 March (or Thursday 26 March) – depending upon your timezone. We’ve collated a number of topics that the group felt were important – and not surprisingly, they’re mainly focused on the people aspect of remote working, with just a touch of technology enablement.

Join us this week – details here.

Stay safe – stay home – and don’t touch your face!


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