Back in March, Lachlan and I, hosted two webinars to talk about the effects of COVID-19 on Scrum teams and to talk about how everyone was coping. I really enjoyed reading his summary, and he’s agreed to let me publish it. Here it is …
We’re sure you’ve been inundated with opportunities to watch webinars on remote working or how to get through the new world of COVID-19, we have. We knew what we were going through but we didn’t know what others were experiencing so we ran a couple of lean coffee style sessions to find out what others were going through and share everyone’s experiences. The following is a brief write up of what we learned.
It was chaos – for most
Most people found the first few weeks of working from home chaotic and some still do. Others found that good workplace practices have helped to adapt to the new way of working.
Routine is important – keep it flexible
Using a routine for working from home seemed to help a lot of people get through the chaos into a more productive and functional home and work life. Setting a goal for the day in the morning (use SMART goals folks) and being clear with others in the household and at work about these sets expectations for the day. This may sound familiar, almost like a daily scrum and one person who joined us is running daily scrum for the house (including the dogs).
The routine is a good foundation but expecting it to go pear-shaped by the end of the day should be expected. Be easy on yourself when this happens (it probably will), everyone is dealing with chaos at the moment.
Good workplace practices have eased the transition
Some people found the transition easier than others. This seemed to hinge of their existing practices easily transferring into our new world. For example, using Slack as a communication tool works the same way in the office as from home. Continually review workplace procedures to ensure they work well and deliver the intended outcome has allowed some people to do things such as onboard new staff without a problem.
We’ve all had to learn new tools. We tried using GotoWebinar for the session and we don’t recommend it. Others have had to learn Zoom etc. This has been easy for some people and more challenging for others. We found the following tools helpful:
- Slack – paid for version has some good features for screen sharing
- Collaboration superpowers
- MS-Teams – strong endorsements
- Lots of video conferencing – zoom, Google hangouts etc
- Physical exercise
The challenge of work-life leaking into home-life was common. How to have “downtime” away from work when your home is your workplace was tricky. Physical activity was universally endorsed (being at home has the advantage of not needing to deodorise before your next meeting).
Everyone’s experience is unique and similar
That may seem glib but it’s important to not gloss over. We’re going through a complex time, after some chaos, and I may feel like what I am experiencing is the same as you. Neither of us can buy toilet paper or hand sanitiser, we’re not sure if we should wear gloves or a mask when we leave the house, we now say “zoom” in the same way as “google”. This similarity can mask the unique challenges we are facing. One person has the kids home from school, another has high school kids, another pre-schoolers, another has a poor internet connection, another has neighbours banging on the ceiling all day; what are they doing up there? So don’t expect that everyone is experiencing the same as you.