Working in the Office...From Home

By alan.wallace, 8 October, 2023

There has been a lot of discussion the last few years about remote work.  Is it good?  Is it bad?  How do you manage people and develop camaraderie with people that you never see?  At our organization, we have developed a different approach than what is typically seen, and it really works for us.

Prior to COVID, we had circumstances that required one of the employees in our department to work from home for a period of time.  Higher Ed in general is notoriously reluctant to embrace remote work, but approval was given.  We had a spare TV hanging on the wall in our office which we used for meetings between campuses and testing out new AV equipment.  We had the idea to put that remote employee up on the wall and join them to a persistent video call throughout the day.  

The result?  It felt very much the same as before.  It wasn't long before another employee with a long, sometimes treacherous, commute got approval to work from home.  He also joined into the office video call, and once again things were very much the same.

Then COVID hit and everyone was sent home.  That was when our whole team ended up "on the wall".  Each morning as we get to work, we join in to the same video call.  We usually stay muted unless talking with someone else in the group (no need to share belches with each other unless they're good ones), but I believe having everyone know what's going on allows us to be far more effective as a team.  It also greatly reduces the number of times each of us is hit with surprise projects since we already likely overheard talk of it.

Different people have different comfort levels with being on camera, but if you're on a team that requires a lot of collaboration, or just want to be a little less isolated, this may be worth a try.  We are going on almost 3 years with everyone in different houses, cities, and sometimes even states Other than the loss of ping pong ball battles and nerf wars, working in the office... from home has been great!