On this week’s All About 365 podcast with Jay and Steve, we’re talking about remote working. Both Jay and I work from anywhere in our day jobs, and a fair bit of that involves working from home as well as from the office.
It is of course quite a controversial subject.
Remote workers often scoff at their colleagues in the office, who get constantly interrupted and get judged by turning up rather than what they achieve.
And of course these work from home advocates constantly bore us by telling us how unproductive the office drone must be, wasting an hour each day commuting into a drab office building to do exactly the same work they could do from anywhere, if only they had the right technology.
But of course it goes both ways. Office aficionados cast scorn upon the colleague who claims to be “working from home” but they suspect is really just lounging around in their pants on the sofa watching daytime TV.
Or perhaps the person who has to “work from home” in an emergency because the plumber is coming round, and misses that all important meeting because they couldn’t join the conference call. And because it’s the first time they’ve tried working outside the office it’s a good excuse to pretend the VPN doesn’t work.
Certainly in some workplaces, it’s yet another fact of life that divides people.
Perhaps though, we should be at a turning point, where it’s not remote worker versus office worker.
Working from home, remote working, working from anywhere – whatever you want to call it – shouldn’t be something unusual. Unless you are working on a checkout in a supermarket… then I guess it would be kind of strange.
But if your job involves collaborating with other people and you are focused on the output or outcome rather than being seen at a desk then really it shouldn’t matter where you are. If you need to be available and present then why does it matter if you are sitting at a desk, at a coffee shop with a pair of headphones on, or in your office – the one that happens to be in your house. If you are putting the hours in, and you are producing the goods – then that is what matters.
Of course it’s not just the technology that is important. Microsoft 365 of course allows you to be open with your colleagues. It is a must to have a good deployment in place using modern models for identity, security and device management, along with the right tools for working on data in the cloud and collaborating with your inner and outer loops using Microsoft Teams and Yammer.
Working from home also needs the right environment. Unless you live alone or have the house to yourself in the day – you probably need your own space to concentrate and work. JK Rowling was recently attacked for mentioning she has a “writing room”, but the reality is many people use a study, spare room or even build a garden office. And to look and sound your best in meetings you need decent equipment, like Skype for Business certified headsets and webcams.
Naturally though working from home doesn’t need to be the only place you do it though. As we discuss on the show today, what works well for Jason and myself is mixing it up a bit. Being around your colleagues is important – face time can’t be replaced by occasional IMs – so going into the office for meetings makes up both of our normal weeks. And for those weeks where you might not have reason to travel to the office, or customer site, then changing surroundings is important for mental health. That might be spending the morning working in a coffee shop or somewhere similar that you can concentrate but not have that horrible realisation mid-afternoon that you’ve not seen another person all day.
So, in the show today we talk about all of the above, plus
- What is remote working? Is it working from the sofa?
- We tackle misconceptions – or try to!
- And are some people better suited to office or working from home?
- We discuss collaboration in the office Vs collaboration anywhere
- We try and answer the question “is a home office the modern corner office? “
- What are upsides/downsides of being in the office – and the same for remote working?
- How do you identify the right solution when you roll this out to your employees – Such as choosing the the right equipment for the right person?
- What mix works well for each of us and what are our tips?
- And we also plug fellow MVP Loryan Strant’s Work from Home Warriors vlog
You’ll find Episode 21 above, and at our podcast site, on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher and you can subscribe with your favourite podcast app using the feed. If you’ve got any suggestions for what you’d like to hear on the next shows, let us know. You’ll find us on Twitter as @SteveGoodman & @jaywynn