Nationwide Moves To Permanent Work-From-Home Strategy

“We’ve been investing in our technological capabilities for years, and those investments really paid off when we needed to transition quickly to a 98 percent work-from-home model,” said Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker.

I’ve been working from home for nearly 14 years.  Social distancing comes naturally to me at this point in time.  It’s interesting to me a virus will be remembered as the Gladwell tipping point for showing the corporate world  a better way of working.

98% permanent WFH!

New to WFH? Read This Article

How to maintain your mental health while working from home

Pretty good article online at Fast Company.

I’ve been working from home since 2006.  As a result social distancing and hoarding come naturally now.  The article has several good suggestions and well worth reading.

Personally I would add one more suggestion to the list: your favorite music.  Today is a Willie Day.

Be Proactive – Be Prepared

Marler Clark is a law firm in Seattle Washington.  Outstandingly proactive and quoted here for my readers to view.

I especially liked the generous financial contribution to the employees and the last item on the list to stock in your pantry.

Here is what I sent my staff late last week:

All, see symptoms below – if you are sick, please stay home.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

I have asked Chris and Michelle to give me some ideas on recommendations on how to responsibly deal with this from a medical issue.  We will give you all our thoughts early next week.

All, please email to Leslie all your contact information and a close contact too.  Leslie, please share that with all.

All, please let me know if anyone needs any technology to work from home if necessary if this becomes a bigger problem.  Think about what you might need to work from home for an extended period of time.  What do you need to effectively do your job from home – computer, paper, pens, etc.?  COVID-19 is not an excuse to work from home, but I want to be prepared and sensible.

Also, let’s look at travel schedules over the coming months to see if there are alternatives.  Please shoot me your travel over the next 30-60 days.

All, take a hard look at your cases – what deadlines might be impacted by Court and other office closures, etc.  I want us to be proactive and think ahead.  I do not want deadlines missed.

Finally, not to be a “prepper,” but Kelli, please drop $2,500 (pre-tax) into everyone’s account on Monday to be used as they see fit to prepare for some disruptions.  I have not thought of exactly what those needs might be, but there are probably a few websites that have suggestions.

Here are some ideas for being prepared for home:

All medications (over the counter *ibuprofen* , allergy, cold etc and prescriptions )

All household products you will need for two weeks (toilet paper, soap, paper towels, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, etc)

Supply of water for two weeks

Food for two weeks

         ⁃        Chicken broth

         ⁃        Beans

         ⁃        Onions

         ⁃        Garlic

         ⁃        Potatoes – sweet, Yukon, etc

         ⁃        Pasta

         ⁃        Canned tomatoes

         ⁃        Steel cut oats

         ⁃        Peanut butter

         ⁃        Bread *freezer*

         ⁃        Eggs

         ⁃        Frozen meat

         ⁃        Canned fish

         ⁃        Jerky or dried meat

         ⁃        Dried nuts and fruit

         ⁃        Popcorn

         ⁃        Chocolate

         ⁃        Wine/booze of choice

Link to the full article post.

 

Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted – MUST READ

This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.2

Click here to read the full NEJM Editorial.

I’m hoping the NEJM editorial gets read and shared widely.  Clearly all individuals and businesses need to be prepared for the worst case scenario.  If you manage a large company, go back and review/revise your disaster recovery/business continuation plans. I’d make absolutely certain your tele-commuting platform is A+ and working as well as possible.  You may even consider expanding your remote work capabilities because every one of your employees might be using it.  Soon.

 

 

Tulsa Remote

A year after Tulsa Remote launched, the first participants — a mix of expats from expensive coastal cities, wanderlusty young adults, and those with roots in the region — say they’ve found many of the things they were looking for: a more comfortable and affordable quality of life, new neighbors they like, enough of an economic cushion to ease the stress of buying new furniture, and a fresh start. Many say they’ll stick around past the end of the one-year program. More than that: Some of them tell stories of positive personal transformation that are so dramatic, they might appear too perfect, almost canned. But after checking in with participants over the course of eight months, I found that many of them remained just as effusive. Maybe it’s something about Tulsa. Or maybe it’s something about Tulsa Remote.

According to an analysis of U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the remote work consultancy Global Workspace Analytics and Flexjobs, telecommuting grew more than 150% between 2005 and 2017. This year, the American Community Survey found that the fastest-growing commute was no commute, as work-from-home arrangements become more popular everywhere.

What Happened When Tulsa Paid People to Work Remotely

I love Tulsa.  It’s kind of like a really great restaurant you want to tell all of your friends about but you don’t because if everyone knows about it the place gets too crowded or the food quality slips.  But for a city to pay remote workers to come live and work is certainly a grand experiment.

My #1 Project currently lives in Owasso, a suburb of Tulsa.  He could have gotten a job anywhere but decided to settle and stick roots in the Tulsa metro.

The Citylab article is long but worth reading if you’re interested in tele-commuting and remote work issues.

Here’s a taste of Oklahoma for y’all.

Craft breweries, adaptive reuse, and neighborhood revitalization in: Urban Development Issues Volume 57 Issue 1 (2018)

Source: Craft breweries, adaptive reuse, and neighborhood revitalization in: Urban Development Issues Volume 57 Issue 1 (2018)

The month isn’t over yet the events of the past few weeks already make this a memorable year. My contract with a large insurance company that shall not be named ended. I was with the client for nearly ten years. When I tell people I’ve contracted with a single client for ten years mouths drop open. In the gig economy this is about as rare as rare gets. Who contracts with a single client for ten years? Friday January 10th was my last day. Two days later I was in Lynchburg Virginia. Sometimes life moves quickly. When you get to the same stage and age in life as me you’ll come to appreciate the memories more and more with each passing year. But this trip was special and I want to capture and share these memories before they fade away. For me every day is another opportunity to learn something. Here’s what I learned from five days in Lynchburg.

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Mark Twain

It’s Nice to Get Out of the House

I’ve been working from home since 2006. Seriously, I don’t get out much and when I do I try to practice my social skills. Working alone at home, or being face down in your smartphone (which makes you dumb), or severe anxiety where you need your benzos, all can erode what little you have left of social interaction skills. The Boss knows this all too well. The last business trip was over 2.5 years ago and placing me in a situation where I have to interact with others can be dicey.

“Be nice.”

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“Be professional. Don’t be yourself.”

“The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.”

ee cummings

The Boss knows at the minimum I’ll try to behave. Hopefully I passed the audition.

Staying in a Nice Hotel and Eating Out is Pretty Awesome

I had an excellent stay at the Virginian. The hotel was a block away from my new client’s office and the room was stocked with bottled water from local springs and a Keurig coffee maker. I did what I always do when I arrive in a hotel room with a coffee maker. I check the coffee supply for correctness. As I suspected the K-cup selection was all wrong. I had four servings of DECAF. I immediately went down to the front desk with the K-cups in hand.

“Mr. Lee, is there a problem?”

I handed the coffee to the front desk employee and stated in a low firm voice,

“This is so wrong.”

The very nice young woman at the front desk agreed and allowed me to exchange my four K-cups of DECAF to the real caffeinated kind. I also left a note next to the brewer for housekeeping to restock with only real coffee NO DECAF. The rest of my stay went quite well. The room was comfortable, quiet, and I had plenty of coffee.

Eating Restaurant Food Causes Obesity

I arrived in Lynchburg late on a Sunday evening and the only food available at the hotel was at the rooftop bar. There was local craft beer on tap. I ate there three times during my stay. When you work from home you eat a lot of leftovers. Some days you eat leftover leftovers. By the time Saturday rolls around you simply have to go out to eat. Taking all of my meals outside of the house this week was awesome despite needing to loosen my belt a notch by Wednesday. The team treated me to dinner at The Depot Grille, a renovated old train stop that had nice local craft beer on tap. Before I left town I was introduced to The Water Dog which was more of a Millennial type establishment that had even more nice local beers on tap. After seeing the (beer) menus I thought to myself I could live here.

Despite the proximity of some fine eateries I took most of my meals at the company cafeteria. This company amenity should never be taken for granted. I had plenty of good food, freshly prepared at reasonable prices. When you’re on business expense this is kind of important to avoid any potential criticism of your spending habits when someone else is paying. So the accountants will be happy I found Benny’s.

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I had forgotten how easy it is for me to put the weight back on. Over the years I’ve moved away from the standard American diet (SAD) because it was my diet that was the proximate cause for ballooning up to 370 pounds. It might have been more but I stopped weighing myself at 370 (for obvious reasons). For this trip I relaxed my dietary preferences and ate whatever I wanted to. I haven’t weighed myself since the trip ended but my belt fits again at its usual belt hole. I’m easing back into my usual dietary routine. And I have no regrets about passing on the fried tofu sandwich at The Depot Grille. I didn’t want anyone to think I was a vegan.

“Look for the human connection as you make your journey. Connect us to the people who connected with you.” William Zinsser

There are Really Nice People in Lynchburg

During my week in Lynchburg I met some very nice people. The people you work with are just as important to your happiness as the work itself. I ate lunch at the underwriter table in the company cafeteria all week. I figured I needed as many contacts as possible once I started work in the system and needed guidance. I may work by myself from home but no one ever works alone.

It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.

Muhammad Ali

The Boss has told me change is good and my new adventure will be good.  I know she’s right.  And I am thrilled with the opportunity.

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Is Working Remotely Bad for Your Health?

On the other hand, research from Cornell University finds that remote workers are at greater risk for feeling personally and professionally isolated than their in-office colleagues. Social isolation has been associated with significant increases in both mortality risk and risk for a heart attack or stroke. More research had tied social isolation to depression and problems sleeping.

Nice article from Time online.  Read it here.

I’ve been working from home since 2006.  I totally get the social isolation aspect.

Fortunately the social isolation negatives are mitigated by my commute.

It takes me less than a minute after leaving the office to grab a beer from the fridge.

Work From Home? Join the Club

FlexJobs just did a state-by-state analysis of telecommuting based on Census data and found that Colorado, Vermont, and Oregon continue to top the list, as they have for the past five years.

Graphic courtesy of flexjobs.

i-1-these-are-the-states-where-the-most-people-work-from-home.jpg

In May 2018 I will have worked from home for 12 years.

The laundry is always caught up, someone is home for the service calls, and dinner is on the table at a reasonably normal hour.

The Upsides and Downsides of Telecommuting

Workers who “telecommute” appear to have a lot more job satisfaction than folks who report to an office every day.  But that positive comes with trade-offs. Remote employees may also have a harder time separating work from their personal lives, and they can become socially isolated.

Source: The Upsides and Downsides of Telecommuting

Friends?  The wine shop manager, grocery store employees, and staff at the YMCA.

No, I’m not socially isolated.