There's an itchy tickle in the back of my throat.
I saw a doctor. She confirmed that yes, I probably have an upper respiratory viral infection, and no, I probably don't have COVID19. As I've not been overseas, or been in contact with anyone confirmed to have the novel coronavirus strain causing this global pandemic, I don't need to be tested.
Doc says rest, fluids, and stay at home. The usual prescription for colds and flu. But if it gets worse, or doesn't improve in a few days, come back and get another check up.
So I'll stay home. I'll work from home! I realise I'm incredibly lucky to be able do that. I'm even more privileged to be able to say it's my preferred way to work.
Working with open source software, using open practices, for an open organisation is an extraordinary blessing. I see much buzz on twitter and in work chat rooms about adapting to or sharing distributed and remote working practices.
There's some really good material out there that will help those new to working from home, and not have to learn every lesson from scratch. I'll link some at the end of this post.
Here's 6 reasons why I like it.
- No need to pretend to be productive when I'm not. I just do something else that needs doing.
- Check in on overnight activities whilst having coffee and brekky in my PJs.
- No commute! (although I love trams, I don't love them at peak hour, when they're more like sardine cans)
- Easier to attend "global" meetings out of hours, and then do non work errands during the business friendly 9-5.
- Better communications and documentation for everyone if you can't rely on "a quick chat in the hallway."
- It also seems easier to juggle a range of tasks and projects. It's quieter. I'm more focused.
My challenge now though is to find a way to kindle the energy and enthusiasm that comes from face to face real time collaboration in an online medium. Something tells me there's no perfect tool, approach or method that will quite match the magic that happens when people with shared purpose share spacetime and focus on their goals. That said, there are many other benefits that will come from thinking differently about how, where, when and why we work together.
Resources for distributed teams
- Mural's eBook - The Definitive guide to facilitating remote workshops is very good.
- John O'Duinn has written a whole book on this and also has an excellent blog, and links to many more good resources.
- Some more book suggestions (Though I've read none of them)
- StormID's approach to distributed agile
- How Asynchronous communication boosts productivity
For many of us this isn't at all new, weird, or different. It's normal, and comfortable. For people who've been involved in Open Source communities, using issue trackers, chat channels, mailing lists, conference and video calls is commonplace. When you also need to take different timezones, cultures and languages into consideration, working asynchronously can have surprising benefits.
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