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.

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.

How These Remote Workers Convinced Their Bosses And Clients They Can Work From Anywhere

“Managers know who is a high performer and who is not—it’s not a secret.   If you have people that you’re afraid if they’re working out of your sight, then they aren’t getting work done, why are they working for you in the first place?  That’s not a ‘work remotely’ problem. That’s a management problem.”

Erica Warren

Source: How These Remote Workers Convinced Their Bosses And Clients They Can Work From Anywhere