The Workspace Experiment: The Story So Far
I had always thought of working from home as one of those treasured occasions when youΓÇÖre ploughing through your work in blissful silence, in slippers and PJs, and the only distraction is when the cat wants to be let out.
So it was quite a shock to the system this morning when I attempted to kick-start our Alternative Workspace Experiment by working from home for the day.
The reason for our impromptu home-working idea was the result of a small fire at officebroker.com HQ in Tamworth. The flames were not the problem – thanks to our quick-thinking cleaner, Sue, the fire engines were called and the flames extinguished before too much damage was done.
The real problem was the smoke – clouds of black smoke that left a thick sooty mess throughout the whole office. With PCs rendered unusable and with desks in short supply, Simon Jones and myself decided to embark on a workspace experiment to see how we fared away from the hubbub of our usual working environment.
So today, Day 1, I am working from home. But it’s not been quite the fairytale I expected…
I had borrowed a laptop from work, and our excellent IT team had put everything on it that I needed (or that I had remembered to ask them for), and showed me how to connect.
At 8.45 this morning I was going through the connection process, and everything was working pretty well. I came across a few issues which my partner Pierre ΓÇô luckily someone with a far greater knowledge of all things technical than me ΓÇô resolved within a few minutes, and full connectivity ensued.
No sooner had Pierre left for work than the problems began.
The wireless internet connection, usually 110% reliable and one that we have never had a problem with until now ΓÇô was constantly disconnecting, and as a result my connection to the officebroker.com network ΓÇô emails, CMS system, internet ΓÇô failed repeatedly.
After much switching-off-and-on, rebooting and head-scratching, I realised that the port to which the wireless router was plugged into must be faulty. I was using an upstairs port which we rarely use, rather than the normal one downstairs. This is only because we have a plasterer in for the day and I expected that he would need to switch off the electricity downstairs while plastering around plug sockets and lights.
As soon as I moved the modem back downstairs and checked that the electricity would be staying on for the time being, the connection resumed. It was fast too ΓÇô I could almost have been sitting at my desk.
The next issue comes down to planning on my part. I needed to upload some photos to use on the blog, and when I went to upload them I realised that the folder wasnΓÇÖt there. Of course ΓÇô I didnΓÇÖt ask IT to put it on the laptop!
I was prepared to drive the 40-mile round-trip to work and back just to get the upload facility added onto my laptop, but a few frantic emails and some simple instructions later, the upload facility was available. Relieved!
Late morning, I decided to post an update on Twitter of my progress to date. Access denied! While I usually have access to Twitter on my normal computer ΓÇô the one that currently sits blackened in our soot-covered office ΓÇô most computers by default have no access to social networking sites.
Rather than pester IT any more this morning I instead chose to update Twitter using my personal laptop. So while itΓÇÖs not exactly saving energy by running two laptops, at least I have what I need.
So all-in-all itΓÇÖs been a testing morning, and less productive than usual. But thanks to some very helpful members of the IT team and an efficient process for remote working, the problems were resolved quite quickly.
On the plus side, now that the teething problems are out of the way and I can get down to some proper work, I have virtually everything I need to crack on and the quiet atmosphere is definitely a bonus.
Via email, instant messenger and mobile phones, itΓÇÖs easy to stay in touch with colleagues. This also helps to combat the issue of isolation ΓÇô something which can take its toll sooner or later. ItΓÇÖs definitely strange to be working whilst not ΓÇÿatΓÇÖ work ΓÇô but with the problems out of the way IΓÇÖm enjoying the ability to just get on with it.
It will be interesting to see how it compares to be in a serviced office tomorrow. LetΓÇÖs hope their wireless works better than mine!