Being an Internet/IT company, many people think that becoming a completely virtual team would be easy! Right?!
Technology is our friend
From a technology standpoint, most of us at the office are very comfortable with technology; especially the technology that we have to use everyday at the office. Adjusting to new technology (like constant web meetings) hasn’t been that hard either for most of us, but it is an adjustment.
Isolation is not
We are a local, family owned company. As such we are a tight knit team and I personally love coming to work to see everyone. That is true not only for our team, but also for our customers as well!
The biggest piece of adapting for us has to do with not being able to jump up and head over to the cubicle of a co-worker to just bounce something off of them, or ask if they watched the game last night? (Hint: There are no games right now. Nowhere. Not a question that can be asked right now. Can you tell I’m having some sport competition withdrawal? Alright, done with this side conversation now…)
This goes for being able to stop into businesses that have our service to; most office environments have had to move completely remote as well. I’ve had plenty of conversations with people from doctor’s clinics, to concrete mix companies where I am talking with them on the phone and can hear a kiddo or a dog in the background. (I think it’s kinda cool actually!)
I miss the personal interactions that we have grown accustom to. I had to check and see if I was the only one or not.
Feedback from the team on 1) the challenges and 2) the things they enjoy about working remotely
The Customer Service Team
When you call the office, you will talk to our Customer Service (CSR) Team. These are the folks that can answer questions, help you fix your router, and help order pizza if you need (long story; thanks Matt!)
These are your heroes Alyrica!
Viggo – CSR Manager
“I miss more face to face interactions. It’s also a bit challenging with kids at the house, but that’s not unexpected.”
Robert – Tier 2 CSR
“1. I miss getting up and bothering my co-workers while they’re trying to work.
2. I really appreciate the peace and quiet, I feel that I’ve been far more productive working from home.”
Matt – Tier 1 CSR
“Can I second what Robby said?”
Stephen – Tier 1 CSR
“1. Being able to ask questions directly and get answers without having to call people back multiple times. 2. Not wearing pants.”
Morgan – Tier 2 CSR
“1. The biggest challenge has got to be the communication change. It was always easy to just stand up and walk around to whomever I had a question for, see if they were busy and ask my question. 2. So far probably the biggest thing I appreciate, I get to work with my cat on my lap, that and my own personal restroom is only 5ft from my desk 🙂.”
Nathan – Tier 1 CSR
“1: Coffee walks and seeing all my lovely co workers.
2: I have a lot of friends back home in GA working in restaurants and they all have been laid off with no income. So I’m SUPER grateful to being working for a company that offers remote work!!”
Other answers from around Alyrica
Sam – Chief Technology Officer
“1. Coffee Walks. 2. Walking the dog on breaks.”
Patty – Office Administrator
“I miss seeing my Co-workers. I really like seeing my husband and parents more. I feel like I am not as in touch with all that is going on.”
Will – Network Administrator
“1. quick and easy access to inventory and server room. 2. free and plentiful coffee
Shane – Inside Sales Representative
“I miss a solid handshake or massive fist bump after a face to face conversation with a co-worker or supervisor.”
Kevin – CEO
“1. Lack of easy visibility on progress/ roadblocks 2. Hanging out with kids”
Brooks – Project Coordinator
“1: I miss the personal connection between co-workers and being able to bounce ideas or glean information by getting up and walking to someones desk.
2: Enjoying the ability to incorporate small, few minute exercises periodically throughout my day.”
Josh – Chief Financial Officer
“1 – impromptu conversations and idea sharing 2- better able to work on projects requiring stretches of high focus.”
Daniel – Software Development
“1) Personally, I miss face-to-face interaction with co-workers. It strengthens relationships on the friendship level and allows interaction with co-workers that I don’t have official business with. I miss that. I also miss hearing the general office chatter which allows me to keep up on what others are dealing with and step in to help when I feel I have something to offer.
2) I certainly appreciate the lack of commute and reclaiming 1 hour of my day. With my line of work being development, working away from the office usually reduces the amount of distractions and allows me to focus better on my projects.”
Press into the uncomfortable, working remotely is everyone’s new reality
Those that know me well know that I don’t mind pushing people to challenge themselves, their thinking, to grow, adapt and change. I have been encouraging people around Alyrica (and all over the place in small business) to embrace the change. Sure it’s uncomfortable (my kiddo is playing Lego very loudly right behind me while I type this.
Things I’ve learned when I worked from home exclusively for 3 years
Before I came to work for Alyrica I worked for a software company which was done completely remotely. Some of my first ‘offices’ were less than ideal! My first desk was in my bedroom with 12 inches to spare between my desk and my bed. I had to sit in my chair and spin into my desk; I wasn’t able to back up!
It was at this same 2 bedroom apartment in Seattle that I had a conference call with the head of a large federal government agency. Since my bedroom wouldn’t work for a backdrop I had to find the only blank white wall in the apartment which happened to be in the hallway.
Yep, if you look closely… those are slippers I’m wearing during my very important video conference call.
Jason’s thoughts on working remotely
- Be okay with interruptions: I have kids and had kids when I worked from home for those 3 years. Yes, they will make noise and interrupt you. Co-workers make noise and interrupt you too… the interruptions are just different!
- Work when you’re going to work: Disclaimer: I’m not very good at this; I like to work and find myself drawn to my desk more than I need to probably.
- Have grace on each other: If you share an office with a spouse or child or roommate; patience is a virtue especially now! Since everyone is working remotely, customers understand if there is a dog or kid in the background. Don’t take it so seriously.
Working remotely isn’t as scary as we may initially think
This is true for business owners, managers and workers alike. If you have never done remote work it is an adjustment. BUT it isn’t that scary is it?
I’ve personally relaxed into it quite a bit. The last 10 days brought some much change that no one knew what was going to happen next. Now that we are all working remotely and we know the schools are closed until April 28th at least; we can start to relax (and even enjoy it a little?)
Local, family owned company; that’s Alyrica!