What have been your top challenges with WFH and what techniques have helped you overcome them?

What I found at my previous company was internet connectivity issues, that was a big problem, because people never updated firmware on their old Linksys or whatever. And then all of a sudden, they have 20 devices on their network and it's slow, even though they have a fast connection, potentially. When this first started happening with COVID, my IT team was troubleshooting home networks, to make sure they were effective, because we were using Teams, and they don't really have any bandwidth accelerators like Zoom does. Every call we had with Teams was cutting out, and it was frustrating to everybody. So the CEO made it an initiative for IT, to go, “if we have to buy new routers or whatever, for everybody, let's just do it because we have to make these calls better. We have to make this work.” So in a lot of situations, we did that. The hours were another thing, because not everybody wanted to work a regular 8:00 to 5:00. A lot of people were either working earlier or later, and it was harder to get a hold of people. We didn't really have any rules for when you had to be available specifically. But the biggest one for us was work-life balance, because now, there's no work, so you lose the balance because everything is home. So everything's life and not necessarily work, unless you have a big enough house to completely separate that. Then our offices, when we were there, all had great food and everything, but now my fridge is right there and I can put whatever I want in it, and so that's distracting too. And then trying to coordinate meetings when you don't see people in the hallways, the hallway conversations aren't there.

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What I found at my previous company was internet connectivity issues, that was a big problem, because people never updated firmware on their old Linksys or whatever. And then all of a sudden, they have 20 devices on their network and it's slow, even though they have a fast connection, potentially. When this first started happening with COVID, my IT team was troubleshooting home networks, to make sure they were effective, because we were using Teams, and they don't really have any bandwidth accelerators like Zoom does. Every call we had with Teams was cutting out, and it was frustrating to everybody. So the CEO made it an initiative for IT, to go, “if we have to buy new routers or whatever, for everybody, let's just do it because we have to make these calls better. We have to make this work.” So in a lot of situations, we did that. The hours were another thing, because not everybody wanted to work a regular 8:00 to 5:00. A lot of people were either working earlier or later, and it was harder to get a hold of people. We didn't really have any rules for when you had to be available specifically. But the biggest one for us was work-life balance, because now, there's no work, so you lose the balance because everything is home. So everything's life and not necessarily work, unless you have a big enough house to completely separate that. Then our offices, when we were there, all had great food and everything, but now my fridge is right there and I can put whatever I want in it, and so that's distracting too. And then trying to coordinate meetings when you don't see people in the hallways, the hallway conversations aren't there.
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Anonymous Author
The first couple of months I felt like I was living at work. But I think I've come up with mechanisms to separate it, so I don't feel that way anymore. Because that was one of my big concerns about working from home. I used to take the train home. Whatever needed to get done, I would get it done on the train, or I'd relax. But I'd get home and I was done. And for the first couple months of work-from-home, with Slack, email, etc., It seemed like everybody was always online, and everybody was spun up. I would send the team member a question, and they would have to respond, or ask somebody else. Finally I said, "Okay, enough's enough. Unless it's an emergency, we're not communicating after six o'clock." And the time came about when I would just turn off my laptop, and charge my phone. I'm not very good at it still, but at least trying to make that transition, I think, has made it so that it works a lot better for myself and my family.
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Anonymous Author
I think one of the things that has been the biggest downside I've seen is just the motivation. People are doing good work and they're staying, but I saw a good picture right at the start of the year, I think maybe Harvard Business Review published it. It was a graphic of a guy with a contraption with this thing kicking him in the butt to get him going. And I felt like that's kind of what I needed, and what I think other people needed, just to say like, here we go, another year in work-from-home. I came to this realization that I'm the one that's supposed to be doing all the, "Let's get this group going. It's a new year. Let's go." And that was really tough. The more people I've talked to, other leaders in the company, it's kind of a common sentiment. That challenge with motivation.
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Anonymous Author
I definitely miss the office. I'm at a point where I have a WeWork subscription. It's good for me. I go to the one right by Snowflake. I'll go there once a week. It's just good for the family also. When I'm home and my wife's stay-at-home teaching, I'll go into the kitchen to make coffee, and then try to solve something she is working on. My wife just kind of gives me the side eye, and like, "I got this, you don't need to just come and solve all of a sudden. Just make your coffee and go back to your office." So I think it's good just from a mental standpoint. Also, I really like when you're at work, you're thinking about work. And then when you're coming home, you're thinking about home. And so it's a good physical separation for me.
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Anonymous Author
Working from home, sometimes I think the staff gets a little bit worn down from feeling like they’re always at work. You leave your bedroom, you brush your teeth, you have a cup of coffee and then next thing you're in your office, right?I always try to remind people of a couple of things that, at least just for me personally, help.  There's all these little tricks we started to learn after we settled in for, whatever it's been, 9 months. Where it's like, get outside every day, stop and have lunch. Don't eat at your laptop, because I was running into that terrible habit. For people that have family that they live with, and not everyone can do this too, all of a sudden I spend way more time with my kids. Lunchtime now, we hang out. And my kids love to do puzzles, so there's a huge puzzle always on the dining room table, and people are eating lunch. Little things like that. I never did that before. I was traveling and I was never home. Take an opportunity to force yourself to get outside every day. I don't care what it is. You get up from your desk, and you go outside. You take a meeting, only audio, put the headset on and walk around the block. Get outside, get some fresh air, because you will start to go crazy if you don't.
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Anonymous Author
We've done a great job using Teams to meet, collaborate, see faces and experience togetherness. What's missing - still missing - is the 'water cooler' communication and unexpected pop-ins. While we've tried to replicate that convivial experience, you just can't plan or coordinate it. Zoom happy hours are fun but also feel like work. We're missing the spontaneous exchanges. I feel like we've chipped away at all of the challenges except the ones we used to not even consider to be deeply important.
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Anonymous Author
One of the challenges we faced was technical validation exams for candidates, we normally hire developers, and our development division requires that developers are technically validated using an interactive technical exam running on a real development environment; candidates used to take these exams at our offices. We used Azure Labs to create a template for a Developer Machine that runs the tools required, the machine also ran a version of FFMPEG that video records the entire user session over RDP and dumps that into Azure Storage, with the convenience of Azure Labs the team was able to enroll candidates using email and they proctored the exams using Web Cams. the whole setup wasn't expensive and did the needed pretty well!
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