Tackle Workplace Disruption and Become a Remote Warrior

Millions of people across the world are expecting to have their daily routines impacted as the shift towards remote working increases amidst global health concerns over the COVID-19 situation. For some people, this will not be a major adjustment as working from home has become part of their weekly work schedule. For others, however, this situation will be something that they are not entirely accustomed to.

With this in mind, we spoke with some ActionPointers who already embrace the modern workplace and are well accustomed to remote working. In this piece, the team share their experiences of working from home along with some helpful tips and tricks on how you can ensure your productivity levels remain high in this change of scenario.

Finian Nally, Head of Microsoft Cloud Solutions

I work from home on average 2-3 days per week so remote working for me is just normal working. My setup is pretty straight forward, an external monitor, standard Logitech webcam and my Microsoft Surface. I’ve my own office in the house which means I’m away from any potential distractions and can more easily get in ‘work mode’. About 40% of my time is on video conference calls using Microsoft Teams. One of my more recent investments has been a stand up desk, this really makes a difference throughout the course of the day. All of my meetings are now stand ups.

No morning or evening commute is by far the single biggest benefit. I can start at 8.30 or do the school run with the kids and still be at my desk for 9am.

While working remotely has many benefits it’s still important to meet face to face to build the connection with internal teams, customers and partners. I try to ensure I’m down with the team face to face at least 3 times per month as well as out at various customer and partner meetings aswell.

Ivan O’ Connor, Head of IoT

I work from home on average 3 days a week with one day spent in Limerick and another out meeting customers. I spend a lot of time on web conference calls with customers and partners particularly in the UK and Europe and sometime North America.

Video conferencing is close to my heart as it’s a field I worked directly in for nearly 5 years. The reality now is that with tools like Microsoft Teams, the user experience and call quality is for the most very good and there really is no excuse for most people not to turn on their camera. We have a very progressive “camera always on” policy in ActionPoint and my experience is that video meetings deliver better results, full stop.

From my perspective, remote working enormously supports work life balance. On the one hand, it allows me to have a highly productive 9 to 5-30 work day and on the other hand, because of the commuting time I am saving, I have that extra time in the evenings to prepare healthy home-cooked meals for my family and get to the gym more often than I would otherwise be able to do if I was on a commute.

 Daire Hall, Bid Manager

I work mostly from home apart from visits to the office in Limerick or with third parties. Mostly, I work from a designated room/space as I use my two monitors a lot when working on documentation. I’ll move into another room for a change of scene if I’m reading paper copies or researching. Teams is my main form of communication/collaboration. I use my mobile a lot when outside my normal working hours (I work mornings) if I need to keep in touch while out and about or in the car. 

The flexibility and the time that is freed up from having no commute is definitely the main benefit that remote working offers. I work designated hours but working from a home office means I can adapt these according to my needs or according to business requirements. 

Limited interaction with the rest of the team does have an impact, so I find it important to keep in contact with colleagues and meet in person.

 David Rose, Lead Architect/Engineering Manager

I work from home 3 days a week.  I have two external monitors and a good quality Bluetooth headset.  I use OneNote as a whiteboard, with the smart pen that came with my Surface.  This helps a lot when discussing complex concepts and brainstorming with people.
Meetings are generally good as there is ActionPoint’s “camera always on policy helps remote people to read emotions and body language when communicating.  Some people are a little quiet, but when they are remote with a headset on its much easier to hear those people.
I personally like being in an office at least 1-2 times per week to socialise with people whom I do not work directly with. Working remotely brings many benefits including a much quieter space for most of the day, as opposed to an open plan office which most people find hard to focus in for more challenging tasks.

 Leonie Lynch, PR & Events Manager

As a self-employed mother of two young children, I have been working remotely for over 5 years now. My usual set up consists of a Surface Pro (the discovery of OneNote and Teams have both changed my life), a pink salt lamp, printer, bose mini (only classical allowed), lots of whiteboards and flip charts for brainstorming and coloured pens – lots of them.

My recent home set up is far from the norm for most people – though I would highly recommend it! I happen to have a Pilates reformer in my home office, adjacent to my white boards and beside a number of kettlebells on the floor. This for me is central to my work space as I will often stand up and swing a kettle bell if I need to think. It shakes the mind into clarity! Or especially if I just need a break from sitting down. I have a large gym ball that I sit on occasionally, if my back is stiff from the chair.

If I am not here, and crave some company, you will find me in one of five excellent coffee houses in Limerick City from school drop-off to pick-up. People around, a little café chaos is my white noise. I am really productive like this.

The disadvantages? It can be hard to switch off when working in this way, but this flexibility allows me to spend more time with my kids while they are young.

To discuss your remote working set up, contact the ActionPoint team today.

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