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You’re working from home,

now what?

Simon Bramfitt

The global response to the coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented shift in working habits. Almost overnight, governments and businesses worldwide are shifting to advising/mandating/implementing work from home (WFH) programs as a way to control the spread of a new and uncertain threat.  

I started working from home full-time in 2009, and then a year ago shifted to a more nomadic approach - Work From Anywhere, if you like. Last year, I spent about five months away from home, flew about 95,000 miles, stayed in 18 different cities, in 6 time zones, staying in different locations from four to five days to four to five weeks. If I’m only going to be somewhere for a couple of days, I get by with a laptop and a sofa, but if I’m going to be somewhere for a while, I set up a dedicated WFH workspace.

Last year I set up dedicated WFH workspaces four times. Repeating this every couple of months has given me plenty of opportunities to optimize the process. So if you, like many of Tehama’s customers, have found yourself unexpectedly joining the WFH movement, and need to know how to make it work, here’s what to do to get started and why.

1. Buy a monitor, keyboard, mouse and noise-cancelling headphones (expense them)

2. Put them on a desk or table (standing desks work better)

3. Make a sign "I'm at work, don't disturb me"

That’s it, you now have a WFH Office. 

OK, there’s more to it than this. How to remain engaged and part of a team when you can’t meet face to face. How to avoid isolation, how to bookend your time. A lot more. But these three steps should get you through the first 48 hrs and set you up for success going forward. 

And then, there’s Step 4, talk to @Tehama_io about how we can transform your new WFH workplace into a secure virtual office. This really should have been Step Zero, but we can still help secure your response to coronavirus at any time. 

Here are a few examples of how we’ve been helping new and existing customers over the last couple of weeks:

  • We’ve enabled a company that was already looking to retire a VPN it considered as insecure against today’s threats to provide a comprehensive WFH platform. Tehama is secure as it gets, and as a PAYG SaaS service, you can be up and running in minutes.
  • We’ve helped a company that discovered it would take six weeks to scale their VDI environment, but needed to support 200 more remote workers in 3 days - it takes us less than an hour. 
  • Another that was planning a 50 user WFH trial on Thursday that became a 600 user global WFH roll out on Friday - they told us about it, but that was a self-service change. 

Keep reading for a more detailed explanation of Steps 1 to 3, or you can contact info@tehama.io for more today, and come back for part II when I’ll be looking at the tools you need to work from home successfully. 

Breaking down the steps to creating your WFH workspace

Step 1. Buy a monitor, keyboard, mouse and noise-cancelling headphones (expense them)

Firstly, don’t ‘borrow’ your personal equipment unless you really have to, maintaining separation between work and home is important. Don’t try to take equipment from work either, and there’s all sorts of liability issues, forms to fill, building security to navigate. Buy everything online and have it shipped to your door. It’ll be there tomorrow. 

Don’t skimp, you are going to be working from home for quite a while, maybe permanently (more on that another day), so choose the right equipment. You probably had a 27” monitor on your desk in the office, you’ll need the same at home. Unless you work from your local coffee shop and have forgotten just how bad laptop ergonomics are, go get yourself a decent full size keyboard and a mouse as well. Actually, get them anyway, because you’re going to have to stop working out of the coffee shop - you know, coronavirus. And the headphones? Well, you’re not the only one who will be at home. The schools either have already closed, or will be soon depending on when you read this.

And expense them. Working from home is for your employer’s benefit as much as your own. That extra hour or two that you save each day not commuting into work, you know you’ll use that for work and not as personal time. So submit that expenses claim, your employer will recover the cost in a couple of weeks, a month at most. 

Step 2. Put them on a desk or table (standing desks work better)

OK, this should be obvious, sitting on the sofa with your laptop on your knees is not a productive environment. The standing bit is less obvious. Not only is it better for you in general, but have you tried sitting on a dining chair for eight hours? Basic comfort aside, it’s actually easier to get standing workplace ergonomics set upright than it is a sit-down environment, and there’ll be no in-home ergonomic assessments to help you get sorted. Cheaper too, a standing desk/desk converter costs way less than a decent office chair. 

Step 3. Make a sign "I'm at work, don't disturb me"

Creating boundaries within your home that your family members, housemates, etc.  understand and respect can be difficult. If you don’t have a dedicated space with a door that you can close, you will have a hard time maintaining productivity. This and the headphones may be your only line of defense.

Wrapping Up

I'm lucky, I'm part of the team that is building Tehama. We set out to build a platform to secure the digital supply chain, to enable businesses to safely and securely engage service providers of all types in a zero-trust world. Along the way, we discovered that we’d also built a platform that was perfectly suited to enabling businesses of all sizes to respond in real time to the uncertainty that coronavirus is creating.  Which is why on Friday we introduced a new Pay-As-You-Go, no-term, cancel-anytime service.

There is no minimum amount required to get started, no term, no professional services needed, and the service can be canceled at any time. Billing is monthly. New customers can simply create a Tehama Room in minutes, just by choosing a connection method, hosting region, and giving it a name. Then add as many desktops as they need, and be up and running in minutes. 

Tehama has already enabled many companies to respond to the disruption of coronavirus, it’s also helping me work from wherever I choose to be, confident that my work is secure so I can look after my friends and family without worrying about my job.

To learn more about Tehama, and how it can enable your team to work from home securely, contact us today. 

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