Work from Home (see also: #WFH)
“How comfortable are you with working from home?”
When I interviewed for my current social media role with IIBA® this was the easiest interview question to answer. You see, as the person managing the social media accounts for organizations, it is normal for me to work not just from home, but from everywhere! I’ll be editing videos and images during a subway ride, reading about the new functions and tools on social media platforms while sipping on coffee and sinking my teeth into a buttery, crunchy croissant or replying to emails and comments on social media before going to sleep (much to the annoyance of my spouse).
So just this past week or so, to say I was baffled with the fact that more than half of the world is trying to “adjust” to working from home, is an understatement.
To be fair, I realize it isn’t just purely the “working from home” that people must adjust to – it’s also having to adjust to their partners working from home, and family members and children being around. If you haven’t seen it yet, this mom made a “kiddie Kanban board” in exchange for some peace and quiet around the house.
This got me curious about how Business Analysis professionals are managing the work from home scenario – and so I reached out to a few of them to share their best ‘tips & tricks’. Here they are!
If you are not used to working remotely, make sure you stay connected.
Nancy Beatson, CBAP®, Business Systems Analyst:
“For an introvert like me, I'm surprised at just how quickly I am feeling disconnected from other humans and am waiting for a time when we can hold in-person workshops again. I think the ONE tip I'd give other BAs who are working from home is to be patient. Sometimes the technology doesn't work as well as we'd like, sometimes lines are scratchy… and sometimes the person you are meeting is late because he needed to go change a diaper just before the call. Overall, have a sense of humour. I've heard many children, dogs and cats during meetings that I wouldn't normally have while meeting in the office.
It really adds a nice touch. “
Stefan Bossuwé, CBAP®, Holistic Business Analyst:
“When you're doing elicitation interviews or workshops with a limited number of participants via conference call, make sure to use video. You can never underestimate the importance of body language when interacting with others. And it works both ways: If you're open and comfortable, you will inspire the other participants to adopt to your attitude, which will benefit your meeting. And in the other way, you can observe the other participants when they make statements / ask questions, or how they respond to other participant's statements / questions. “
Set some goals to stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Jamie Champagne, Business Analysis Professional:
“ONE thing...one thing at a time... Imagine you're going to work for the next hour - what's one thing you're going to COMPLETE (not just do/work on/think about) - what can you accomplish in the next hour. Being focused on discrete, manageable chunks can be one of the most valuable way to ensure your productivity and feel that you're still contributing to organizational and team goals. They are measurable pieces, but only take on small enough pieces you can complete in discrete time frames. “
Leshoko Mmola, Business System Analyst:
“The idea is to be transparent and I use my google calendar to share my schedule, I ensure I am available always on my mobile even though I am away from my workstation. Tools such as slack, google docs & hangouts and Jira make it easier for me to keep some level of presence. The idea is to block-out time and make work and home life integration transparent to my employer, team and family. “
Keep a separation between work and home by keeping up with your daily work routine.
Jessy Mathews, Senior Business Analyst Lead:
“Having some uninterrupted time, unlike when I’m physically in the office, I get to focus a lot on research work because I’m currently working and studying for IIBA’s Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA). “
Adam Haesler, IIBA Member:
“I have been using the Pomodoro method! The method is cycles of work (usually 20 - 25 minutes), short break (usually 5 - 10 minutes), with a long break every 2 cycles (usually 15 - 20 minutes). The reason I felt it was so crucial to do this, and it has been so effective, is that I can get soooo easily distracted at home with temptations to go get food, watch tv, answer a notification/email, clean my apartment, go for a walk, and the list goes on. But to commit to 25 minutes of uninterrupted work is doable. Often I get more done than if I try to do continuous work for an hour or more, as I know I only have 25 minutes, so I must get super clear about the objective for that work part of the cycle and super focused during that time. Thus, after about a day you get good at knowing how much 25 minutes’ worth of work is towards completing something bigger if not possible to complete everything in 25 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to take the Agile mindset route, then you get good at knowing what a 25-minute MVP looks like. “
Find a dedicated workspace to separate work from home life.
Adrian Reed, Director and Principal Consultant:
“A key tip from me is when working from home for an extended length of time is to have a dedicated 'workspace'. It doesn't matter whether this is a dedicated home office, or the kitchen table, but when you're there you're 'at work', and you're in 'work mode'. This is doubly important for those who live with spouses/partners/families etc. I personally find it easier to 'switch off' when I physically walk away from my 'workspace'. Also, it's well worth investing in a good chair/desk set-up.
Back ache is no fun, and best avoided! “
James Shields, Business Analyst:
“Get to a desk and work from there. “
Take a break to re-focus and keep a healthy work/life balance.
Judy Alter CBAP®, IIBA’s Global Chapter Council Chair:
“I have worked from home at least one day a week for the last 11 years. I retired and now have my own business and I am working from home except when I travel. I have found that I don’t get out of my home office enough. I need to consciously go outside in the yard for a few minutes as the weather gets nicer. I have found it easier to eat healthy and go to the gym every day. “
Did we miss out on an important WFH tip? How will you use these tips to make remote working more effective and enjoyable? Share your advice using hashtags #WFH #IIBA