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Working from Home

written by Chrissy Wainwright on Thursday June 16, 2011

Working for a company whose business and workplace is the web gives Six Feet Up's employees the luxury of being able to work from anywhere. Each Sixie has a laptop that goes between home and work almost everyday.  We are able to have a flexible work schedule, and it's no problem if someone needs to work from home every once in a while.

Technologies

We have several technologies in place that enable any of us to easily work remotely. None of these are specific to working remotely, and contribute to how each Sixie works every day.

Chat: We have a Jabber server with chat rooms set up for each team for work discussions. We got into the practice of having conversations online to make sure everything was logged and so that those working remotely can be involved. Some people visiting the Six Feet Up offices think it is strange that we are communicating online with people only a few feet away - but it allows for conversations to be readily shared whether everyone is in the same room or some of us are far away.  It also means that whether you work from home or office, the communications process remains the same.  This has also been very helpful for contractors we have hired to help with various projects.

Phones: Every day, each team has a status meeting. We have a couple phone extensions set up for conference calls, and people that work from home regularly have their computers set up with their Six Feet Up extension.  So even when you call the Indiana number and my extension, you will reach me in New Hampshire.

Online Conferencing: For the weekly company meeting, we set up a Fuze meeting for its video capabilities, and we can then all see each other and the person who is talking. Fuze has also been very helpful for doing remote trainings with clients.

Tickets/Wiki: Currently we are using a combination of Trac and KARL. All projects tickets are handled with Trac, and company information (HR info, potluck signups, etc) can be found in KARL.

Six Feet Up East Office

My Experience

I moved from Six Feet Up's headquarters in Indiana to New Hampshire in December, so I now work from home full-time. None of my duties or workload changed, and I had no difficulty adjusting.  Part of that comes from setting up an environment at home to successfully concentrate, something that is fairly easy to do when moving in to a new place. It also helped that I had previous experience working from home before joining Six Feet Up.

Contrary to the generalizations about people who work from home, I do shower and dress before starting work everyday. I continue to work the same hours I had when going in to the office. The important thing is to decide on a schedule from the start, and stick with it.

I have a room specifically set aside for my office, both to reduce distractions and have a dedicated area for work. I have cable Internet and a wireless router that works throughout the house.  Connectivity hasn't been an issue, except when my previous router went bad. Since the room is set aside only for my office, I don't have the distractions of a television or my husband. The cat comes and goes, and only gets in the way when it's his feeding time.

Overall, the experience of working from home has been great. There has been a lot more collaboration and contact with coworkers than the last time I worked from home, so I don't really feel lonely. I still miss events that happen in the office and the general day-to-day small talk, but I will be heading back to the office for FedEx Day next month.

 
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