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How To Be A Remote Work Superhero


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So now we’re all remote workers. Whether you’re managing teams or working for studios that are rapidly transitioning to remote work, it’s important to start understanding the new skills, disciplines, and technology required for all of us to be collectively successful as remote workers. But where do you start? This talk focuses on precisely how the clever application of technology and technique can untether you from your location, keep you deeply connected to your team and project, and distinguish yourself as a spectacularly effective Remote Work Superhero.

Published in: Career

How To Be A Remote Work Superhero

  1. 1. HOW TO BE A REMOTE WORK SUPERHERO Jon Jones, Art Outsourcing Manager
  2. 2. ● Working in games since 2001 on over 50 titles across all platforms ● Career-long specialization in art outsourcing management ● Working remotely managing distributed teams since 2009 ● Speaker at events like XDS, GDC, SIGGRAPH, MIGS, Casual Connect, and IGDA Who is Jon Jones?
  3. 3. Remote Work Superpowers 1. Omnipresence 2. Super Speed 3. Omniscience 4. Vigilance 5. Foresight 6. Regeneration
  4. 4. Video call tradecraft ● Look at the camera, not their face. Eye contact is important! ● 10 minute cutoff for no-shows ● Buy and use a laptop camera cover. Always keep it closed unless you’re on a call ● Stay muted unless speaking to minimize background noise ● Before a call, check what’s in the camera view and hide sensitive items ● Always wear pants. You can tell by their face. ● Screensharing advice: ○ Hide your bookmarks bar: Ctrl-Shift-B in Chrome ○ Check your open tabs, open windows, and desktop for sensitive or embarrassing info ○ When possible, share only the WINDOW and not the entire SCREEN
  5. 5. Omnipresence ● 90% of telepresence is being in the first place people look when they need you ○ BE WHERE THEY LOOK FIRST! ● “Management By Walking Around” is normal for many managers ○ Person in seat = Person working ○ Transitioning to remote work is like having your senses severed ○ Compensate by learning, setting, and maintaining expectations of responsiveness ● Communication is the beginning and end of everything ○ Learn when and where people communicate important information, and BE THERE
  6. 6. ● Identify primary comms channels: ○ Work assignments and feedback ■ email, Trello, Basecamp, Slack, Teams, Shotgun, Jira, etc ○ General or technical discussions ■ email list, Sharepoint, scheduled video calls in Zoom/Hangouts, etc ○ Location of file share for collaborating on content and file transfer ■ Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Aspera, Resilio Sync, etc ○ Source control ■ Perforce, SVN, etc ● Learn how people use those channels. How would you get answers? ○ Where am I most likely to find a responsive artist or programmer? ○ If source control is down, who do I talk to? ○ It’s late, everyone’s offline, and I need help. Where are our shared resources? Omnipresence
  7. 7. ● 90% of telepresence is being in the first place people look when they need you ○ BE WHERE THEY LOOK FIRST. ● Sometimes that's clear, sometimes you can train the team around you. ● Always : ○ respond quickly in the primary channels ■ don’t spread yourself thin across too many channels ○ follow up when you say you will ○ consistently use the same communication channels for the same information ● This doesn't mean you're on call 24/7. If your team has set core hours, work during those core hours, and don't respond outside of them. Set boundaries. ● Remote work on an ongoing basis is EARNED. Push for sustainable conditions. Super Speed
  8. 8. ● Take responsibility for understanding process ○ Whose work is upstream from me? ○ Where does my work product go next? ○ What tools do those teammates live in? ○ Where will highest-priority contributions be noticed first? ○ How can my thoroughness be easy to verify? Omniscience
  9. 9. All information must create its own context. ● Document A should not require Documents B, C, and D to make sense. ● Use proper nouns and be specific ○ NO: hesheitthattherethingplace ○ YES: BobAlicefile.pdf[full path]etc ● Save and include images, never link. Links break! ● Use specific filenames and absolute folder locations in all feedback ● Cite all sources and references, including web links ● Document edge cases in a shared “scratchpad” to incrementally build knowledge Omniscience
  10. 10. Vigilance ● You are now remote. You no longer have the luxury of ignoring security hygiene ● You do NOT want to be responsible for an easily preventable data breach a. Password Manager i. Use 1Password. Pay for it. In 2020, password managers are critical life infrastructure. ii. If you can’t do the bare minimum to protect your life’s most valuable information, why should a company trust you with their confidential information? b. Two-factor authentication app i. Use Authy. Set a backup password. If you don’t, lost phone = permanent account lockout ii. Only use SMS 2FA if there is no other alternative iii. 2FA on ALL ACCOUNTS! c. Create a new “Work” profile in your web browser i. Create new Gmail address for work ii. Log into your browser with that profile iii. Set up sync, set up 2FA
  11. 11. Foresight Realistic scenarios to plan for: ● Power outage ● Internet cell service outage ● Hard drive crash ● Stolen hard drive laptop ● Hospital or family emergency ● Non-specific hardware failure
  12. 12. Regeneration Self-care is important! ● Dedicated workspace with explicit “on work / off work” hours ○ If you mix work and play areas, you will never be fully at work or at play, and you’ll grow to hate it ● Create daily rituals to separate yourself from work ○ Do yoga ○ Walk a dog ○ Cook a meal ○ Take language lessons (DuoLingo, 5 minutes at a time!) ○ Podcast while you clean ○ Develop a “focus time for work” playlist
  13. 13. Thank you for listening! Questions?