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The Hidden - But Very Real - Cost of Working from Home

  • 1.  The Hidden - But Very Real - Cost of Working from Home

    Posted 26 days ago
    I read this article recently on WFH versus in-person costs/benefits in Fortune magazine. (Unfortunately, this link requires a subscription.)

    An interesting read nonetheless. The talk of trust being developed through handshakes, eye contact, other face and body expressions. Also, it discusses the spontaneity and creativity that evolves through informal meetings or interaction ('water cooler talk).

    I realize many of us have worked remotely, some at length. Still, 2020 has been an interesting shift in social dynamics and the realization of importance of human engagement and interaction with one another.

    The hidden-but very real-cost of working from home
    Fortune remove preview
    The hidden-but very real-cost of working from home
    Working remotely is a necessary reality in the pandemic. But companies from Goldman Sachs to Google know what's missing when we Zoom-the creative spark that leads to true innovation.
    View this on Fortune >



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    Jeffrey Westcott, CPA
    CFO, Cloud Security Alliance
    Bellingham, WA
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  • 2.  RE: The Hidden - But Very Real - Cost of Working from Home

    Posted 23 days ago
    Agreed, I'll never forget this one conference call where my then boss asked me if I was ignoring his emails with respect to some process change. I replied that I hadn't been told about the process change and this was news to me, his reply

    "it's like you ignore all my emails"

    to which of course I said "no, I read the emails you send me and do it, you're my boss"

    his reply was something like "yeah when I reach out and tell you to do it NOW, it's like you ignore all my emails to the [redacted name] list"

    my reply was "the [redacted name]" what list?"

    "can we check if Kurt is on the [redacted name] list?"

    It turned out I was not on the list. Once I was added to the list of course there was no need for my boss to reach out constantly.

    A lot of business processes rely on informal, ad-hoc, organic processes, which works, but is fragile when placed in a different environment, e.g. moving from an environment where there is ongoing and frequent face to face contact (daily or more) to 0 face to face contact that isn't explicitly created via online meetings for example.

    Identifying these newly created gaps and finding ways to deal with them is going to be critical for companies moving forwards.

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    Kurt Seifried
    Chief Blockchain Officer and Director of Special Projects
    Cloud Security Alliance
    kseifried@cloudsecurityalliance.org
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  • 3.  RE: The Hidden - But Very Real - Cost of Working from Home

    Posted 23 days ago
    Something that I think about is velocity and how it relates to in-person versus WFH. In an office, you can get answer to smaller/-ish things that much faster by just getting out of a chair and asking someone. With WFH, you don't get that same velocity with email or Slack. But then with WFH, you don't have to deal with the same distractions of being in an office and can focus completely (ignoring the possibility of kids being at home doing distant learning).

    But as you mentioned in your email example, Kurt, so much of that back and forth could've been handled in a moment. This is a fascinating and curious inflection point on how to be more effective and efficient as it relates to work. And we're only scratching the surface of what's possible and what to account for.

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    Frank Guanco
    Program Manager
    CSA
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  • 4.  RE: The Hidden - But Very Real - Cost of Working from Home

    Posted 22 days ago
    One thought regarding velocity: maybe thinking about it more in terms of friction, in office there's easier F2F, but this can mask problems (like poor written communications), these problems can't be masked as easily (if at all) when people are remote. Having said that these friction points can be solved, e.g. better written communications, having a system to capture, organize and share institutional knowledge that typically lives in peoples heads until they leave, and so on. I suspect this is also better in the long term, new hires for example have a reliable resource rather than "I think Agnes in accounting knows that, go ask her".

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    Kurt Seifried
    Chief Blockchain Officer and Director of Special Projects
    Cloud Security Alliance
    kseifried@cloudsecurityalliance.org
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  • 5.  RE: The Hidden - But Very Real - Cost of Working from Home

    Posted 22 days ago
    Friction is a much better way of putting it as velocity implies speed and we all know that most work situations are not fast.

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    Frank Guanco
    Program Manager
    CSA
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