When not frozen by panic one of the interesting things about watching Coronavirus Twitter is mass move to remote working from individuals and organisations across the spectrum who are suddenly having to challenge some of their misconceptions and prejudices about home working.
There is a growing amount of useful content out there –
- this from the #designandclimate community is a great guide to running remote workshops
- Mr Dodds at the ODI put this brilliant collection of resources together
- Trello have prepared this wonderful document that busts a few myths as well as provides useful advice
- The Basecamp folks wrote REMOTE a couple of years ago and it remains a great read on the topic
- Scott Berkun (ex of WordPress) wrote ‘The Year Without Pants‘ which is another great book about remote working
- mySociety are a great example of a remote by default organisation
There is more out there but these are some good examples.
Here is the thing though. I know all this – have read the books….and the blogposts. I worked for mySociety. I use many if not all of the recommended tools by default (except Miro – I bloody hate Miro) but….I am terrified of a long spell of working from home.
I’m just so bad at it.
It is bad for my mental health. Without workplace interactions I become very isolated, very fast and getting too far in to my own head without other humans to pull me out of it isn’t great.
I don’t have the right environment. I live in a small, one bedroom flat. That resembles the shop in Black Books. There is no space for a separate work set-up. It is just not comfortable for much of anything work related and certainly provides no space between home and work.
So many of my ‘skills’ totally dissipate if I am not in the room. So much of what I do is about communication, influencing people and making decisions based on incomplete information. Somehow my confidence in my ability to do these things in a manner I’m comfortable with just shrinks when I am not around my team(s) or client(s).
I know this all sounds weird coming from someone who is currently literally blogging every day and lives on Twitter (and Slack) but it is a reality. One of the reasons I struggled at mySociety was how hard I found the remote working (and there I was at least going to Desklodge).
I don’t even have to worry about the heat and electric etc that some might as well.
It is my suspicion that I am not alone.
I’m 100% on board with the idea that organisations need to embrace this way of working and that hopefully this is one positive thing that can come out of this whole nightmare but please don’t assume every individual is as excited about it all as you are.