The working from home thread: tips and advice

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  • As many people are now having to work from home indefinitely, a dedicated thread to share tips, give unsolicited advice seems like a good idea.

  • Paging @hoefla to share her questions on Microsoft Teams.

  • We're seeing major performance degradations on Teams, as everyone has been using video on meetings to try and improve engagement. Our IT department have advised we don't for now as Microsoft are struggling to meet bandwidth demands.

  • We abandoned Teams a while ago and have gone back to Skype for Business... Sad state of affairs.

  • We're finding teams a bit hit and miss but yeah, no video for now. We're advising our customers to avoid video too.

    One useful addition for us has been guest users so we can allow users from other orgs into our teams.

  • You're kidding me?! So teams can't keep up with the demand?

  • Probably not helped that MS announced that the free tier was getting advanced features

  • In China we've had issues with all MS products for the last month or so, everything working horrifically slowly due to the demand of everyone working at home... So enjoy!

    We actually sacked off Teams before all of this, before it was cool etc.

  • It could just be that connectivity-wise we've pretty good access to the Frankfurt DCs but other than video, it seems to be okay. As big an issue is home internet access slowing to a crawl because everyone is at home either working or streaming or both.

  • gone back to Skype for Business

    You might need to rethink that SFB is changing to Teams in 2021

  • I've been using both skype, teams and zoom for calls and video interviews and team chats and been WFH since Friday

    Zoom is in-built into teams but a separate app is also available.

    When I'm setting up video interviews (which have either been in the UK or also UK/Australia) I make sure the dial in numbers are available as Option B and issues with lag or bandwidth and video goes down.

    So far haven't had any issues. Anecdotally I heard skype is better in N hemisphere and zoom better globally

    Teams has the chat/messenger function that also has a tab that you can upload files too. Easier than emails in the sense all the conversations are there and you can go back through easier. You can have multiple projects created for each subject to keep things contained and more focussed.

    I've got a global team video call this morning via teams between 5 countries so will let you know how it goes

  • Yeah I heard about this, let's hope it works better before then! I mean, SFB is gash so it can't be that hard.

  • "Hey guys can you hear me?"
    "You sound like a robot"
    "Wait, why is the wrong screen sharing?"
    "Sorry I was on mute"
    "Is that any better?"
    "I'll drop out and rejoin"
    "We're just waiting for Dave'
    "Sorry I was on mute"
    "Can you hear me?"
    "No you've gone again"

  • So my WFH tip is this: if you don't have heating and it's still a little cold in your house, put an electric blanket on your sofa (other chairs also available). I'm so much happier working now I'm cozy as hell.

  • My top #STFH tips

    When you leave the office taking all your stuff, when you look at your Bluetooth keyboard and think 'I don't need that', you do

    Cats are a liability when you're on a Teams meeting, lock them in a cupboard or something

    Set up a dedicated work area that's furthest away from access to toast, crisps and biscuits

    Don't go video, nobody needs to see your WFH face

    Get dressed. Big one this, it'll make you feel like you're doing work and stuff

  • I've been working from home full time for the last two years, happy to answer questions or share tips.

    The first small thing that made a big difference for me was making sure to get up at the same time I would have been commuting. It might feel like a great way to get a lie in, but waking up and logging in straight away becomes very depressing after a while. Certainly not worth the extra hour in bed.

    Also, if you live with a partner/family, try to set clear boundaries. If you have the luxury of a spare room/office, then close the door or ask others to respect your working times like knocking before coming in or to call/txt if they want your attention like when you were at the office.

    If you don't have separate space, and/or are both trying to work at home in the same room, have a definite agreed plan about calls meetings. Who goes first or who takes their laptop into the bedroom etc.

    Make sure you get up and change your scenery every once in a while. Take your coffee in another room, stare out the window, go for a short walk (if possible/responsible in the current situation).

    Suggest to colleagues you have a 10/15 min catch up, on video if you can face/support it, helps keep a level of human interaction apart from the people living under the same roof.

    If I think of others I will post them.

  • I'm very pro not bothering to get dressed when wfh, if I have to go down and get groceries I'll stick a hoodie and a mask on, but otherwise nope. But we don't have video calls...

  • Getting dressed is another good thing to get you into work mindset too. But, agreed, I often take my first few meetings in tshirt and boxers (camera off, unless they ask nicely). But even just putting on jeans and a shirt helps. Pro points if you have a shower too. Before the jeans, obvs.

  • Don't have big lunch followed by a training webinar.

    That way lies zzzzzz

  • Mine -
    In addition to the above, remember to brush your teeth in the morning!

    You get much colder sitting stationary so keep the heating on if possible and use a rug/bodywarmer (don't worry, no one can see you) to avoid getting sore neck/shoulders.

    Get up at least once an hour and try to avoid it just being to stare into the fridge and/or boredom eat.

    Try to keep DIY/cleaning etc to your lunch break or finish early to do it. Might not be the case for everyone, but I feel trying to mix them together gives me a feeling of having to 'catch up' when I start working again which causes unneeded stress.

    Finally if you can afford it and have any available space, get a desk and office chair and ideally monitor. WFH really takes its toll on your posture pretty quickly.

  • If alone, have Radio 4 Or something similar on in the background otherwise the crushing silence will eventually get to you.
    Make sure you have calls scheduled two days in advance to ensure you have human interaction at least twice a day
    Keep snacks to specific times.
    Open the window and get fresh air

  • Are kneeling chairs any good?

  • Have worked from home for the last 7 years, so i have a bit of experience here, things I have found that work (echoing others to a degree)

    1. Set times, I am always at my desk no later than 8.30 everyday
    2. Get dressed, doesn't need to be in "work" clothes, but just clothes
    3. Dedicated area is key if possible, and leave the area when you are having lunch etc.
    4. Don't try and do chores randomly through the day, set dedicated times to do it
    5. Take more breaks, else you could end up sitting there for hours on end with no interaction or movement, I specifically have 2 dogs for this purpose
    6. If you are doing video calls think about your background, if you can't find a nice plain background there are apps that will blur your background
    7. I have a sliding sign on my office door with vacant\meeting on it, bought as a joke, but my 4 year old has actually learnt not to come in when it is set to meeting
    8. I have a TV news\music on in the background on a low level as I like the almost white noise it produces, but don't try and watch proper TV
    9. Inane chatter over Teams etc is important, I am in pretty much constant contact with a couple of colleagues and genuinely would have gone crazy if we didn't spend half the time randomly talking shit
    10. Enjoy! I can't ever imagine going back to an office situation, the flexibility WFH gives is amazing and has allowed me to move from central London to deepest darkest Devon, and have a much better quality of life

  • Thanks for the advice all.

    I didn't consider the radio until you pointed out @Sam_w

    It certainly feels weird at the moment, but I'd imagine before long this will normal and hopefully more routine.

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The working from home thread: tips and advice

Posted by Avatar for andyp @andyp