Like many of you, we’ve been receiving daily suggestions of articles offering advice and insights on how to work remotely most effectively. A lot of these lists offer some great advice, and we’ve even been included in a few such articles ourselves (links below). What struck me, however, was that there was always something in a list that felt like it was missing or that might be overstated for my specific needs. Assuming that might be the case for others out there, I asked members of the Art+Logic team to offer their own insights into tricks, concerns, and changes that help them work remotely while still staying focused and maintaining a high standard. We’ve been working remotely for almost 30 years.
Juan Carlos Perez:
Noise-cancelling headphones can be a life and mood changer. You might also want or need to remind people that when you are typing, you are working. Or wear a hat that conveys the same message. 🙂
If you don’t already have a home office, try to designate a place as your office.
If you’re going to work from home for a long time, it’s worth it to invest in ergonomics. You might regret using just any old chair or desk.
If you have small children and it’s possible to be in a room with a closed door it helps with interruptions.
Be clear with family members about respecting your work space/time. Interrupt only if an emergency. Tell the family “operate as if I’m not at home.”
If you’re having issues with video calls, etc. be sure to check what else is using bandwidth in your house—family members streaming movies, online gaming, etc. All of it will compete for the same available bandwidth.
Be aware of distractions that pull you away from work tasks (laundry, dishes, anything needing attention) Set aside time for chores after work.
Establish a routine or schedule and stick with it. Use rituals to reinforce it.
I almost always walk while I talk on the phone. Makes it much easier to keep my Fitbit happy that way.
You can read more about remote work from Paul here: "Remote-first versus remote-friendly: What’s the difference?"
Maintaining separation between work and home life is important, even more so when it’s hard to go out for activities because of virus-related precautions. Self-care like exercise, walks, and interacting with others (even online) is key.
Because people can’t see that you are busy, make use of calendars and status settings to convey that you aren’t available. Also, calendar tasks you need to do so those times aren’t interrupted with “do you have a minute to chat?” It’s the distributed version of closing your office door to focus on getting a proposal written.
Because communication is asynchronous, remember that not everyone or everything needs your response immediately – we are conditioned to check up on notifications thanks to FB and Twitter, but in a collaborative workplace environment, responding immediately to every notification can eat your entire day.
I’d also encourage employers to set up a space/channel/group for community posts. People will want to update each other on things that they would normally share in the break room — to keep culture and connection strong, provide an avenue to do that.
Even during your designated work times and work space, try to avoid conducting work from a mobile device. It’s far too easy for your work to spill into your personal space if you get too comfortable working from a mobile device.
You can read more from Bob about remote work here: The Bosses Who Prefer When Employees Work From Home and here 7 tips for using Zoom, Google Meet, and other remote work apps as more companies mandate employees work from home amid coronavirus outbreak
One routine that helps me is to "get ready" as if I were going to walk out the front door. Select a comfortable work-appropriate outfit, brush/comb my hair, double check whatever is in my background if I’m going to be using a webcam.
The Pomodoro technique! Grid your day into half hour increments — 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of stretching, breathing, resting. Not only does this keep you from being slouched at your desk for hours on end, but it’s also a nice way to manage your time.
Keep the machine you use for work separate from the machine you use to read the news about the apocalypse happening somewhere outside. TURN OFF the apocalypse machine when you’re ready to work.
Putting a lock or anti-baby doorknob cover on the office door does not (necessarily) mean you’re a bad parent.
Working remotely might be seen as a prompt for a company to write down information that was never written before, making it more visible/appreciable to more employees — regardless of whether they’re remote or not. Depending.
I wanted to share with you an update regarding the current situation with novel coronavirus/COVID-19. As you probably know, Art+Logic is a fully distributed company, which means that everyone, from our sales team, to our designers and developers, works remotely. As a company that has been working remotely for almost 30 years, we are fully prepared to continue to work on your project without disruption.
We are closely monitoring developments and are aware that the impact of the virus could impact your own team and also result in school closures and social distancing recommendations that could impact workflows.
For the immediate future, Art+Logic is discouraging company travel. Unfortunately, that means we were not able to make our presentations at SXSW, which was cancelled, and will not be attending TechDay NY.
If you have a project you would like to discuss with us, please fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you in a timely fashion. We encourage everyone to stay up to date on the latest Coronavirus information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
It recently came to our attention that someone has been using our company name as part of a job scam. While we’re not entirely sure what they expect to get out of scamming people with a fake job offer, we can share with you an anatomy of a job offer scam that affected us.
First, here is a version of the scam email that was sent to people claiming to be from Art+Logic:
There are several clues in this email that should immediately set off alarm bells for the recipient. First, the email address that is used, email@example.com, is typical example of the false email addresses that scammers use. We are a software development firm with our own URL, we would never use a generic gmail address for any company business. This email address has already been reported to Google, so it is possible that the scammer is already using a different gmail.com address.
Next, in the emails used for this scam, the senders refer to the company as Art & Logic. While that is technically not false, we changed our company name to Art+Logic a few years ago. If you receive an email offering you a job, and something just doesn’t feel right about it, look for the possible inaccuracies in how the company is referenced. Even the smallest discrepancy could be an indicator of a scam.
The details in the summary for the job seem to come from other listings that one can find online and they seem to have just cut and paste them into the email. If you look at them carefully, however, you’ll see that they refer more to tasks one would have at a graphic design company, not at a software development firm. There were other emails sent out to people that did something similar with a fake offer for an animator position.
The About Us section looks like it was just pulled verbatim from our website, which is probably why it gets our name right the second time.
Then we arrive at the strangest part of the email, the section that should immediately make it obvious that this offer is a scam, the How to Apply section. We would never use a service like Telegram as part of a job application process. I’m skeptical that any legitimate company would ask a job applicant to contact them via anything other than a company email address or phone number. It would be very odd for an established company to use an app or web-based account that’s easy to create anonymously and that does not use the company name or that directs someone to an easily anonymized phone number.
Apparently, these scammers will even go so far as interviewing people and then asking them to do some work — but then disappear once it comes time to pay for the work. In similar scams, they have also requested that potential applicants submit a payment for a background check. Most legitimate companies, like Art+Logic, would never ask a job candidate to pay for any part of the interview/job application process.
We encourage anyone who receives a scam job offer to file a complaint with the FTC, submit a report to the Anti Phishing Working Group, and also notify Google.
Fortunately, many people who received this type of email notified us immediately and did not fall for the scam.
Bob Bajoras, President of Art+Logic, recently joined Neil Hughes on his Tech Talks Daily Podcast to discuss the relationship between software and hardware and the recent IoT truce struck between Google, Apple, and Amazon:
The recent news that Amazon, Apple, and Google are working together to create a new standard for smart home communication is a rare display of unity amongst the giants of our interconnected worlds. But will their work be successful? Is this the right time for this? Why now?
These are just a few topics that we discuss on today’s podcast. Bob Bajoras, President of Art+Logic, an innovative software development firm for over 25 years, who have worked with Google and Apple in the past, has some thoughts on the plans.
Because none of these companies have dominated the smart home field yet, Bajoras sees this plan as a truce more than a standard. Bajoras’ and Art+Logic’s extensive experience in designing for all things IoT make them thought leaders on this subject.
As we did last year over the holidays and then again over the summer, we thought we would share with you a list of the books that we’re reading at Art+Logic. Maybe you’ll find something for yourself in this list (or for the developer or designer in your life).
So here, in no particular order, is our list for the end of 2019: (more…)
Recently, I had to re-educate my garage door opener. Our house on a hill in San Francisco occasionally settles, and the door is experiencing different stresses than it did 5 years ago when I installed a new opener. So I had to re-teach it how to open and close the door.