Remote working: Telecommuting from the trenches


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The positives and negatives of working from home, some collaboration tools, and some essentials to consider before deciding if working from home is for you. Presentation from the ASTC(NSW) 2012 annual conference, November 2012 (Sydney, NSW); revised slightly for a webinar presentation for TCANZ (New Zealand).

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Remote working: Telecommuting from the trenches

  1. 1. Twitter hashtags: @cybertext @astcnsw REMOTE WORKING: Telecommuting from the trenchesNovember 2012 Rhonda Bracey
  2. 2. “The virtual office has existed for at least a century...Clothing factories used to drop off piecework at thehomes of stay-at-home mothers who would sew thepieces together and receive payment on a per-item basis.…it’s simple enough to give a worker a remote login toyour network, a high-speed Internet connection, orwhatever other connectivity service she requires.”Lee, TJ. The Virtual Office: Part © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd
  3. 3. “I’m sitting in a traffic jam, in the car that I need to get to work, so that I can pay for the house that I’m never in.” How many minutes of this per day?3 10? 20? 30? 45? 60? More? © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd <date>
  4. 4. 4 Only to face this for 8+ hours… © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd <date>
  5. 5. Just 3 minutes walk away…5
  6. 6.  Worked remotely full-time since Feb 2007 Several long-term clients in that time (WA, Qld, Tas, Israel, US) Main client since late 2008: [removed] Rarely, if ever, meet my clients/work colleagues Mostly do tech writing/editing for large teams of authorsAbout me
  7. 7. Positives7 No commute; no madly running errands on the way home; More discretionary time no ironing! More time for family, leisure activities No expensive meals/snacks/drinks; no parking/public Less costs (~$10,000/yr) transport costs; reduced fuel usage; no need to regularly update wardrobe/shoes/makeup/hair/nails No/fewer meetings; no water cooler chat; few ad hoc Greater productivity interruptions (prairie dogging); little office politics Few interruptions = meet deadlines; work hours to suit body Less stress/better health clock/commitments; not rushing; fewer take-outs/meals out; more time for exercise; don’t catch/transmit bugs Reduced footprint on Not running car as often; not consuming as much Earth © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  8. 8. But it’s notall roses…
  9. 9. Negatives9 Miss ad hoc work and social relationships with co-workers; out of the loop; Isolation no body language/facial expression nuances Possible increase in power/internet/phone costs; equipment/software Increased costs costs if employer doesn’t provide; dedicated office space and furniture Family/friends may assume you’re ‘always available’ to do other tasks Interruptions (chores, shopping, kid taxi, coffee/lunch etc.) Managers/co-workers may assume you’re doing nothing or doing things Perceptions other than work Overworking Can be too easy to work all hours and not separate home/work life Self-discipline is essential otherwise you’ll get nothing done; beware of Underworking distracting yourself with non-work tasks © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  10. 10. It’s about managing…10 Yourself and your time (discipline/routine) Perceptions of others (ALWAYS be available during core hours) Interruptions (train your spouse, family, friends) Your workspace (dedicated is best, with a door) Your mental and physical health (exercise regime, social contact) Your employer/manager (who pays for what; negotiate core hours) © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  11. 11. © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  12. 12. Helping hands: If you have these…12 Existing work/ network Appropriate Existing environment reputation Consider telecommuting (at least some of the time) Good self- Supportive discipline employer Supportive family © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  13. 13. 13 Connecting Technologies Takeaways:  Internet essential—the faster the better  Remote access and collaboration tools are getting better all the time  Have regular voice meetings with boss/colleagues © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  14. 14. Internet14 MINIMUM: Broadband connection (>1.5 Mbps) Websites, email, social media Conference calls: phone and video Transfer/backup data files Connect securely to another system (VPN) Work on another system as though you were there (Windows Remote Desktop: free) Instant messaging (e.g. Microsoft Lync in corporate environment) © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  15. 15. Telephony15 Landline, mobile, VOIP (e.g. Skype, Cisco) Skype: • Computer to computer (free) • Smartphone app, conference calls, video calls, chat, voicemail, file transfer, screen sharing... Cisco IP Phone option if already used in office: • Office phone directory • Dedicated local number/extension © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  16. 16. © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  17. 17. Web conference/screen sharing tools17 A Google search for screen sharing applications gives 50 million results! Many are suitable for tablets too. Examples: Provider Pricing (in US$, as at July 2012) Website WebEx Free (up to 3 people); $24/month (up to 8); $49/month (up to 25) GoToMeeting $49/month (up to 25) Adobe From $45/month; also ‘pay per use’ Connect option: 32c/user/minute Microsoft Various prices depending on Office 365 Lync Online subs, corporate installations etc. en-us/office365/lync- online.aspx Join Me Free; Pro version from $19/month Fuze Meeting $15/month (up to 15); $49/month (up to 25) pricing © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  18. 18. Remote access requirements18 If you need to  Domain name, username, password access:  your own  Client sys admin to allow VPN access system while on  Tools to provide access, such as: the road  Remote Desktop (Windows)  a client’s system  Remote access to server and networked from PCs via HTTP anywhere  Microsoft Outlook Web Access (if using then you’ll need this Exchange Server) information…  Commercial desktop and web tools © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  19. 19. Remote access tools19 A Google search for remote access applications gives 76 million results! Examples: Provider Pricing (as at July 2012) Website GoToMyPC $10/month for access to one PC LogMeIn Free for basic access WebEx PCNow From $10/month for access to one PC © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  20. 20. Example collaboration tools20 Content management systems, wikis, forums, blogs, Twitter (!) Document sharing tools (e.g. Google Drive, Office 365) File sharing tools (e.g. Microsoft Skydrive, DropBox) Project management tools (e.g. BaseCamp, ToodleDo) Microsoft SharePoint: Tries to do all the above in the one package; success varies… © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  21. 21. Why these?21 • Simple file transfer/sharing • Available for PC, tablets, phones DropBox • • Free • Instant help from around the world • Keep up-to-date with events/trends Twitter in field • Water cooler chat • © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  22. 22. Twitter is good for informationyou might not normally hearabout © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  23. 23. Twitter is great forquick answers toquestions/problems © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  24. 24. 24 Home Office Takeaways:  Essentials: dedicated space with a door  Get a GOOD chair © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  25. 25. 25 © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd <date>
  26. 26. 26 © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd <date>
  27. 27. Minimum equipment27 PC and/or laptop Modem/router Printer (multifunction for single footprint – copy, scan, print, fax) Headset (or microphone + speakers [often built-in to laptops]) External, portable hard drives/thumb drives Phone (smartphone is ‘one device to rule them all’) © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  28. 28. Nice to have…28 Tablet (iPad etc.) Wireless connection (built-in to later laptops; on phone) Digital camera/camera on phone (if your work includes photos) Webcam (built-in to later laptops; on phone) Travel-sized bits and pieces (mouse, network cables etc.) Digital voice recorder (try your phone!) © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  29. 29. Stuff for your body29 Decent desk + chair (you’ll spend a LOT of hours at both, so don’t scrimp) Quiet/free from distractions (noise-cancelling headphones, ear plugs) Good lighting Temperature control Exercise © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  30. 30. Some facts… 30 UK companies spent 24 billion GBP on business travel in 20111 It costs employers 7000 GBP per person per desk for office workers1 90% of office workers would like to work from home some of the time1 35% of tech professionals would sacrifice up to 10% of their salaries for full-time telecommuting21. From "Home of the future" Episode 2: Work (TwoFour Broadcast Ltd, 2012; presenter Chris Sanderson)2. © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  31. 31. 31 Resources Takeaways:  Search for ‘remote working’, teleworking’ ‘telecommuting’  Plenty available on benefits/costs of telecommuting and convincing arguments for your boss  List of some on my blog today ( resources-for-remote-working-presentation/) © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012
  32. 32. 32 Thank you… Any questions? Contact me:     Twitter: @cybertext © CyberText Consulting Pty Ltd November 2012