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Working remotely – my five learnings

March 26, 2020

Most of us have had to work remotely from time to time, either because of illness, temporary assignments or travel. Switching from a role working 100 percent from our office at Lysaker, Norway to stick to the same job just solving it from my home office in Dubai for a full year is another game altogether.

Before I get started, I will give you some brief context. About a year ago my husband decided to relocate within his global management consultant firm from Oslo to Dubai. Our daughter who had just turned 17 thought that sounded like an awesome adventure and got herself admitted to an IB diploma class in Dubai. It left me with few options than to make the leap as well.

I love my job in Cisco working as a marketing lead for Norway, and really didn’t want to leave, so I thought: “Why don’t I just ask my manager if it’s possible to work remotely for a year?” And when you happen to work in one of the world’s biggest IT companies it’s pretty obvious that this should work, and it does!

There are several tips and tricks about how to work remotely, my five key learnings are:

  • Remember to take breaks. It’s easy to feel stuck and move remotely from meeting to meeting without any pauses like at the office when you move between physical meeting rooms, go to lunch and pick up some coffee on the way.
  • Be comitted and structured. Don’t drown yourself in meetings all day long, that leads to tons of night work
  • Virtual coffee breaks sounds awkward – but they work! The daily unofficial meetings are important.
  • Change things up by switching between sitting and standing. If you don’t vary how you work in front of the laptop you will easily get back and shoulder injuries.
  • Remember to bring water and food to your home office. Make yourself as comfortable as possible to stay tuned.

My biggest working from home mistakes

One cannot avoid the fact that it’s easy to make some mistakes as well.
In November my family came to visit me, since they were supposed to stay in our home for one week I had to work some of the days. I remember one comment from my mother in law; Trude you have been working all day long without being outside your office, this is not healthy.

Then moving on to Christmas Holiday and back in Norway I realized that I had to go to the doctor because I had got a bad mouse arm. After those two occasions I asked myself: How do I keep my job running and productive from another country through day to day videoconferencing?

Seeing is believing – using the right tools makes work from home way more comfortable

After Chrismas I brought myself a Cisco Webex screen, and yes even I had to admit … seeing is believing!

Here are some refection’s about working remotely with a long distance

  • Stick to the country you work for and not the country you live in
    • I have been working on Friday’s even though it’s the same as Saturday where I live, same goes for Sunday when I’m off while my husband and daughter are at school and work.
    • I have not converted the time, even though I’ve had three hours time difference
  • I’m chatting with my colleagues seamlessly via Cisco Webex all day long in addition to Webex meetings. Sometimes only a virtual coffee chat to hear how things are going
  • When I’m in Norway I plan my meeting schedule carefully so that I get to meet my key stakeholders face to face.

More than half way into this period we’re hit by the tragic coronavirus and I suddenly realize that the world has started working exactly the way I’ve been doing for a while and I guess it works, maybe also many realize that this is a quite effective way of working to get things done. Though I’m not saying that face-to-face meetings are not good, it definitely is, but a better mix of both would maybe give us the flexibility needed?


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  1. love it! #lifeonwebex #lovewhereyouwork

  2. I love this! So many great tips and tricks.