Surviving (and Thriving) Remote Work During Coronavirus

If you’ve never worked remotely before, it can be a daunting and stressful experience. Combine this with school closures, and it can feel like a recipe for productivity disaster.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://effectiveremotework.com/blog/surviving-and-thriving-remote-work-during-coronavirus/
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Thanks for the helpful hints. I runs retail shop and there’s always paperwork to do even if there are no walk-in customers. Now that I’m working from home, it sure feels strange not to be in an office environment. I can see remote working is a shift in work environments now.

One tip I am following is to not work out of the bedroom if I can. If I’m in the bedroom, my mindset is geared towards sleeping or relaxing with a good book in bed. However, some of us might not have the luxury of an empty guest room to use as a home office. With that in mind, I’ll work from a makeshift desk instead of working with my laptop on the bed. I try to leave the work out of the bedroom if I can.

Every once in a while I’ll send out a WhatsApp message to various friends to let them know I’m still alive and making sure I’m still present in their lives. We throw out funny observations and crack jokes to lighten the mood. Our text messages are spaced out far enough so that we aren’t intruding on each other. We understand that replies may not be immediate and we will respond when we finally have something to say.

I’m also avoiding hitting my social media for most of the day. I’ll hit the news or chat groups at the end of the day to catch up. I’m not anxious to see how many people in my community are diagnosed with COVID-19. It wouldn’t change the situation. I figure that if my friends want to tell me something, they’ll tell me. I’m not going to obsess over the latest news every 15 minutes. I’ll keep going about my business and get my mind out of world news. I’m sure that when the antidote is ready, my WhatsApp app will be lighting up and we will all breathe a sigh of relief.

Take care everyone!

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In my University, it’s been interesting to see how people are reacting to working from home. For those of us in IT, who work from home 3 or more days a week, it’s been a fairly easy adjustment. For those who have never worked from home, and always had the quip about how easy it must be to work from home to those of us who do, they are going through human contact withdrawal symptoms. Last week was the second full week of work from home and by Wednesday, I was getting IMs and emails asking how I do it extended during the summer (I use usually work from home the whole summer, as I live in a beach town).

It’s been an interesting change for our faculty, some of which have never even used the Learning Management System (LMS), and are now having to use Zoom to teach classes. I honestly feel horrible for some of these faculty who are in their mid-late 70s and have taught in person for 40+ years. Thankfully, the administration has given the ITS Support Services Team as many resources as possible to help these faculty. On the backend side, we’ve provisioned about 20 new VPN connection servers to handle the load. Our hope is that this pushes the burgeoning online classes offerings.

I hope everyone here is safe and well.

Yeah its a huge culture adjustment the first six months or so. After that I’ve found it gets so much better!

Jealous!

That’s nuts but awesome you can do that. What do you run for VPN that can scale like that?

We run Pulse Secure, which allows for load balancing servers, which is what we provisioned. At peak times, we only have about 7 of those being used. We set it up sort of like VMware Horizon, which you provision the servers (or instances) then as it hits 70% utilization it turns on a new LB server, when it hits 80% it switches to the newly provisioned LB for all new connections. I think we went overboard, but thankfully the way it is set up, we can just remove them from the available pool then resources are released.

When we were planning this out, we saw some people using bare-metal for VPNs, which is insane because there is no scaling from that point. I feel sorry for those who did it that way now, if they saw the increase of VPN traffic we saw, I don’t see how the performance wouldn’t have slowed to a crawl.

That was a really smart move to virtualize it! In my IT tenure it was rare to see anyone virtualize VPN appliances. Smart idea!