Welcome - How is Remote Work working out for you, your team, your organisation?

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MVP

Working from home sounds awesome right? No commute, your choice of pants - but we now know it's not all fun. You might not have the right office setup, distractions and interruptions affecting your meetings, the added responsibility of home schooling, lack of human interaction, building anxiety, these are things we didn't expect to deal with in 2020. The good thing is you're not alone! 

In this Table Topic we discuss what we're all facing right now. For some of us, it's a significant change to work from home. Some of us have been working from home for years. What are you doing to be productive, keep healthy, and remain engaged with the people you work with? 

 

Start a new conversation thread in this space.

  • What have you learned about yourself and your team while working from home under COVID19 conditions?  
  • Talk about how you're managing your workload, your tasks, your daily schedule.
  • Share the creative activities your team and organisation engage in to keep connected and take a break from the isoation or meeting-madness.
  • Tell us how you really feel about working from home. 

Then join one of three online meetings running during Microsoft Ignite, named "Table Talks". Each Table Talk will be facilitated by 5 community leaders who will encourage you to come off mute and share you thoughts and experiences in real-time. We'll also highlight some of the popular discussion threads from this "Enabling Remote Work" space. 

 

To join, add one of these Table Talk sessions to your session builder. There are limited spaces, as we're using a Microsoft Teams meeting to provide for real-time discussions (no live-event delays).

 

 

 

 

We look forward to talking with you!

 

19 Replies
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Thanks for getting the ball rolling @Darrell Webster 

 

As I sit here at home on the lounge (because my husband is using the home office and it's pretty cramped in there), and the fact that here in Melbourne, we're still in lockdown, one of the things I learned about remote working is how much I value speaking to other people IN PERSON.  However, as we aren't allowed to go outside of a 5km radius nor beyond an hour outside - and only for exercise - not for socialising, it's made me realise that I don't have local connections within the 5km radius.  All colleagues and friends and family are scattered all over the city or indeed all over the world.  One lesson for remote working for me now is to reconnect with local people and business more so that next time this happens, I have a wider group of close networks to call upon - not just people on Teams/Skype/Zoom/WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger/Viber/GoogleMeet/ Webex with....

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Yes indeed local connections are proving to be valuable even though they are to be kept socially distant. While I work from home for more than 3 years now, what has worked to my advantage is to have a schedule to follow (nothing specific, I just keep putting things in my calendar even if that is as simple as getting the car wash, I also review it before I start my day and when I end the day). Additionally, because now that everyone is at home, noise inside the home is more than what is outside (well one of the side effects I am sure all of us have these days), to overcome that, I bought a pair of noise cancelling headphones. I must say having the right work gear does help to keep yourself motivated and productive. Additionally because live is mostly static now because of limited or almost no interactions, I keep playing Youtube videos on a monitor (extended via hdmi) and optionally listen to ambient music to keep stress levels low. Last but not the least, I also keep a track of time and I take 5-10 mins walk around the house every hour or so to avoid fatigue.
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Looking forward to this, posted a couple of YouTube videos on this topic, get inspired and hope to see you in the EMEA session :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoBolD2Uh8M

We are a #HomeOffice only company at CloudWay. Together we gathered 5 of our best tips for #WFH from years of experience. 0. Intro: 0:00 1. Comfy office chai...
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Thanks @Darrell Webster hitting the start button on this great topic. :grinning_face:

 

Since a few years, I manage my team members, who mostly work from home or customer site. Moreover, I personally also like to work from home. Hence, I'm more than happy to share both perspectives in the upcoming days here and in our TableTalk.

 

One thing that I realized, doesn't matter how much I like working from home, I also miss personal interactions with the people. And this may vary between your colleagues and even within your team. While some would love to be 5 days in the office to see colleagues, others are fine with meeting them only once or twice a year.

 

What challenges appear with that?

  • Employee:
    Not all working from home tips and tricks are suitable for each employee. There's no one hint to rule them all. However, collect and try as many hints as possible to find YOUR way of feeling happy when working from home. This channel is best for that! :thumbs_up:
  • Managers:
    Balance the need of your team for meetings and also within meetings. Is a weekly fixed "kitchen talk" appreciated or better select an unformal upon request meeting? Do your colleagues like to make only "small talk" in those meetings or would they also appreciate to hear something productive. This will be an agile way with try and error. Ask your team, try out new formats and live these new ways of collaborating. :flexed_biceps:

Dear community, happy to hear your thoughts, ideas and recommendations. :)

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Cheers @rob. I like what you said about trying lots of tips to find what works for you. I hope to see lots of good advice and experiences in new conversation threads of this community space.
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It is working out pretty good especially with all the collaborative tools we got now, but who doesn't miss going to work/school, or anywhere?
I think remote working should be ok, but also, people need to go to work and that should be the normal, social interaction is missed, and the all virtual world is not fun.
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I started a blog series to accompany the table talk. You can find part 1 here: https://www.sharepointlonghorn.com/msignite-session-working-from-home-how-are-other-people-doing-it-... More to come between now and the start of Microsoft Ignite!
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G'day! @Darrell Webster et al. Hope this finds you well. Thank you for getting us organised here mate!  I'm still banging the same drum and nurturing John Stepper principles of #WorkingOutLoud. "Share your work with a view others might find it helpful, and others might help you improve your work." So with that in mind ...

 

We at #Symity are working with wonderful people at UK Department for Works & Pensions (DWP) supporting Teams deployment-adoption to >100,000 (!!!) employees who are mostly now working from home. We are preparing to launch "Teams Pioneers" training. Taking Teams Owners to Teams Pioneers, to Teams Superheroes!! 

 

And Symity are developing a #Teams Bot to #Request-A-Desk for those that need to attend the office now and then under safe conditions.  I will be deep in user testing next week so lots to keep spinning on enabling work on our patch! 

 

Be great to chat to folks on how they are scaling-up and engaging Teams "Champion" communities who work from home.

Table talk:  https://myignite.microsoft.com/sessions/con200

 

 

 

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@Darrell Webster back in March when locked down first started I curated a 4 part blog series on #flexibleworking. We used the content to create a booklet for North Yorkshire UK Police supporting their Teams deployment-adoption where most of the back office staff were at home during a crisis, trying to work. 

https://minttulip.com/flexible-working-tonic-3-work-out-loud/ 

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@Darrell Webster

"Near future Home and Office. One day, the virus will subside. It could be eradicated. But even then, life will not simply return to the way it was before Covid-19. Spurred on by the coronavirus crisis, architects have been rethinking the buildings we inhabit. Find out how the future might look."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-dc2d6e2d-3ab4-42de-8d03-bb7eda5fff8e 

By the BBC Visual and Data Journalism Team

IMO this is brilliant!

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@Darrell Webster  on a the work life balance topic - now have numerous headphones depending on the task. I still find wired ones the best connection when running Teams training in my loft .  I've invested in a second screen, and 3rd with my mobile.  Boosted wifi. Invested in a standing desk that sits on top of my actual desk so it takes up no more room. I have a mirror on my desk to check my hair is behaving before going on camera! Water and good quality sweets when I get a dry mouth or thirsty. Always visit the loo before an hour long meeting! Have a footstool under my desk as raised legs helps with back ache.  Always stop for lunch, if weather nice then eat in  garden, water plants and pat the dogs (;o)  At Symity we have a regular 4pm catch up and talk about anything & everything for an hour with pets and kids and just have a laugh, if you can't make it or don't feel up to being on camera that absolutely fine too. I am very happy WFH. However, my heart bleeds in the middle of the night for millions of people who just want their old lives back. I could say a lot more but its already been said. Lets hope & pray they find a vaccine. Keep safe x

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Your Request a Desk bot sounds great. We’re seeing less people in our offices and are going to reduce our occupancy to less floors. Shared desk booking systems will be popular. Microsoft expanded their Resource booking in Exchange to include shared spaces as a category. How about that. Each shared desk having it’s own shared mailbox for the purpose of scheduling time to use it.

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I hear you @Helen Blunden! As you know I am in the same lockdown as you and like you have realised most my friends are outside the lockdown 5km area rule. So it has been a looooong time since I saw people in person. And it isn't the same. I feel kind of home sick.
While technology enables so much, connecting with people over just video calls doesn't make up for the bonds we build being in the office. I miss the 'water cooler' conversations and heading out for lunch and a walk with people.

Technology wise though my work has remained the same. The only difference is clients don't question me being remote and running a workshop with them. It would have been frowned upon before and I travelled to everything. So I like having that option and I hope, post COVID, I can continue at times to dial in so I can meet both personal and work committments with much less stressful juggle than previously.

The mind-set pivot this year was incredible to see. The 'adoption by crisis' attitude and rapid acceptance of new ways. Many are probably exhausted from such a 'change whiplash' but it has advanced so many organisations which is a plus.

And when the 5km rule is no longer Helen I am coming to meet you for a walk in person!

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Love it, yes let's meet! @MStrant 

I may have to use the term "change whiplash" :rolling_on_the_floor_laughing:

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@Darrell Webster I circled back to our Request-A-Desk developers. They advised the customer had urgent need for this now as Exchange version is still under development. Customer requested additional requirements to Exchange version that includes: location, directorate, check-in, accessibility eg., standing desks ...  (;o)

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@Darrell Webster Something I am seeing become a hot topic with organisations I am working with is also supporting their leaders and how things have changed, including challenges of such a massive shift in leadership.
One organisation is kicking off a program 'Managing a Hybrid Workforce'. While they were used to team members having flexible working and days at home, the leaders were used to having majority of their staff in the office, visible, in meetings etc. I don't think staff have many challenges working at home but being less visible requires a lot of trust, and connecting across the team is harder. Would love to hear other thoughts on this - does anyone here manage staff and how has the change been with all your staff being remote?

I have a team, we do calls to connect as a group, ensure there is some time to have social chat, blow off steam, and try to replicate 'water cooler conversations'. I try to make time to check in 1:1, and do see days where people are down and struggling, and days when they are more productive and energised. I think I am fortunate that I trust my team a lot, they are self-motivated and work hard so there is never a doubt they are off netflix and chilling!
But it is a major change - any leaders in here? Tell us about how you have changed your work and what is different leading people when all remote, if that is the case. 

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Hello Lesley,

Looking forward to the session and more than happy to share to latest on our Teams Pioneers, as we drive adoption across DWP.

Hope you have a great Ignite!
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Thanks Stephen. I noted this comment published 4 May 2020
From: Department for Work and Pensions, The Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP

"We have also sought to make it possible for people to work from home and have already deployed 10,000 computers. We are now at a level of deploying 750 new devices a day to enable working from home and added to the IT capacity for remote users. However, where staff need to continue to work at the office, we are applying social distancing...."

The focus on this UK Gov department has been immense (as in other countries). How has DWP IT coped with managing the scale of this unprecedented tech change? Not only responding to distraught public - but at home trying to work? Have staff actually adapted better than expected?
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Great topic, @MeganStrant, as a manager I truly feel you. I have an amazing team and I fully trust them, wherever they work. This is core and basement for good collaboration. Furthermore, each member is different and has different needs. Covering all of them is a challenge, especially when working from home, but doable, when you're emphatic and try to see the things from their perspective. I'm talking about this in out TableTalk. I'll also speak about it in even more detail on Saturday, 10/3/2020 during 365 Saturday Warsaw 2020. Feel free to join me and share your experiences there. :grinning_face: