Basic WFH Rules: Lean and Mean


Working from home (WFH) is becoming another trend nowadays. It is not a new thing for some people working in technology industry. I personally have been “using the internet” to communicate since 2008. The first topic about WFH is usually about the software. Teams, Skype (previously Lync), Webex, Hangout, Zoom, and many popular software for voice and video call are there to help us to communicate. In this article, let’s discuss about WFH in the bigger picture, not only about the software, but also the best practice and what is the Basic WFH Rules, according to my personal point of view. 🙂

The basic rules of working (from home or anywhere) are two words: Lean and Mean.

Lean in this case is about more productivity with less resources. Effective and efficient.

  1. It is working from home. It is not working at home. This is the fundamental understanding of doing our WFH: the philosophy is the same just like if we are working from the office. We are there to be more productive. Create something. Add value. Take a step back to think what can make us more productive if we are working from the office. Get prepared. Have a workspace. Most of the time, it can be as simple as a chair with a small table, but it is not a corner on the bed! Be understand and empathy for many people who does not have an ideal situation for WFH. Stick to the office hour. Be ready. Be punctual. Be respect with others time. Around 35-40 working hours a week concept is there for a reason: too low is not efficient, too high is not effective. Take shower as if we want to have one-on-one face-to-face meeting with the customer! Raise the sense of seriousness. Be effective. Be productive.
  2. Tools is important, choosing the software is important, but how we use the software is even more important. Try to understand about the required call type; Is it a voice calling, screen sharing, or video calling. Is it a personal, one-on-one communication or a group conference? Is it important to have everybody show their faces? We need to consider that not everyone is ready for the infrastructure. Required bandwidth for video calling can be up to 15x higher than a simple voice call. The same bandwidth quota can be used for 1-minute video call, or 15 minutes with a simple voice call. Be efficient. Take less resources.

Mean is a unique word. An old quote in my childhood that I really respect: Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean. The most important thing is to explain the meaning.

  1. Communication is another important key. When we are working from home, not much people can see our presence directly. Most people are visual type that require to see us to get a good impression. But people style and preferences is not only about visual, but also auditory and kinesthetic. Listen to them. Explain to them. Feel them. Do we require to meet someone every 5 minutes when we are working from the office? If it is not, then it is not relevant to setup a call too often too. If we spend most of our time to call, do we have enough time to think, analyze, reflect, make a good decision, or even trying to understand the context? Communication is about ideas and perception at the end, in the middle is just tools and techniques. Communicate clearly in a clear way.
  2. Focus on the meaning. One of the goals of working (from home or anywhere) is achieving a target we agreed together. Produce. Get the output. Reduce the number of calling but make it sure the content is meaningful. It is Not a meeting to set the next meeting. It is a meeting to discuss. It is a meeting to decide. Plan and outline the agenda. Get everyone understand about the context. Asking why more often. Get the big picture first, then go details. Focus: one thing at a time. Meaningful for us: we know why we do this. Meaningful for others: we believe why they need this.

Working from home is not for everyone. The condition today may force too many people for working from home, but WFH situation itself is not always ideal for everyone. If it must be done massively for a while, let’s try to make it lean and mean as good as possible.

#selfnote #lean #mean #respectothers

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