The good and bad of WFH – My journal
I work in a support services organization at Cisco, Bangalore. Working from home is not something we are used to. There a number of complications that would arise if we work from home. At least that is what we all thought until COVID19 (Corona) happened. I am working from home since the 13th of March and here are my notes on work from home.
Increased available time and reduced strain
Anyone working in Bangalore understands the pain of commute to office. Although I work in a modified shift, in a typical day I spend about 2-3 hours waiting for the cab, picking up other colleagues, and commute to office. With work from home, this number is now 0. Simply means that I got back about 12-15 hours of time in one week. I was able to write blogs, make youtube videos, invest time in new learning in these hours.
For Telugu audience only, an awareness video on Corona by Neha – https://youtu.be/4QQ7NPk3vvE
Not just the time, but also the strain involved in waiting for people to board the cab, bad roads, traffic honks and bad driving on the roads is all gone now. This is a reduction in the number of elements that are outside of my control that cause stress in a typical day. Now I get more mind space and I can see an increased level of productivity already.
There is a lot of self help documentation on the internet and our internal platforms, that 90% of the work can be done without being dependent on someone. But quite often, we see that the human tendency is to ask for help and get the job done quickly. The moment you know a few people who can help, you prefer asking them instead of searching / looking up on your own.
Now with everyone working from home, people are not “visible” and so you are forced to first try some self help documentation and if you still can’t figure out answers, you seek for help. This is a win-win situation for everyone. With increased self effort, there is so much people are learning. And with reduced number of silly questions, domain experts can focus on more important ones.
Article that I published about Corona Awareness and Precautions –
Chaos is (always) a Ladder
Many of you must have heard this line from the popular TV series Game of Thrones. Chaos always presents us with great opportunities. In times like these, I am seeing an increased number of people wanting to take up new challenges and showcase their skills.
With every company across the globe working from home, we at Cisco have seen increased case volumes for VPN and Webex technologies. This has opened up an opportunity for people across technologies to contribute and also learn new skills. A number of virtual trainings happened in the last one week and a crazy number of volunteers have come forward to pick cases in other technologies.
A truly amazing opportunity and excellent example of collaboration in situations like these.
Less number of meetings to attend
Working from home is also helping us cut down on the number of unwanted, for-the-sake-of-it sort of meetings. Now meetings happen only when needed and when work can’t be done otherwise. I hope this learning helps even when things are back to normal and we go back to office style working.
VT Collaboration – A steep learning curve
A lot of us are not used to virtual team collaborations. The forced worked from home has demanded us to learn new ways of collaboration. I noticed a huge spike in the number of internal Webex Teams spaces created to enable this collaboration. So many things that could have taken a few mins when in-person can take much longer while working from home. We are all learning a lot of new habits to ensure we are at our collaborating best and help each to get the job done.
Tough phase for people new to technology
I spoke to few new folks who joined Cisco less than a year ago and they are facing the maximum heat. When on job at office, they get a lot of help. But right now, all of them sitting at home and not getting the same level of support is making life a little difficult for them. We did setup a lot of virtual ways for such folks to connect and get help. But it is never the same.
I told them only one thing – “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”. This experience will go down a long way in their learning and each one of them will be prepared to face anything like that in the future as well. A huge shout out to all these youngsters who are putting in extra hours to get up-to speed and support the business.
Increased digital screen time
With no office and less number of people to talk to in person, the amount of time spent on screens has increased significantly. It is obviously not a good thing in the longer run. I myself am trying to keep my laptop shutdown when not working, and forcing myself to read books, so that I do not keep staring at TV or computer.
Some books, exercising, drawing, ball catch practice are a few things that I am trying (or intend to try) to reduce the screen time. Do you have any other thoughts for this while you are locked down at your home?
All in all, I am having a good time working from home. And hopefully this will continue to be a part of our lives even after the virus is gone and life is back to normal. WFH is good and adds a certain balance to my life.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!