April 15, 2020
With Shelter at Home orders in place in many cities and entire countries due to COVID-19, we are experiencing an experiment not yet tried in our history. Many are working from home who have not had the opportunity to before and it is creating some unique challenges.
Matthew Heusser and Michael Larsen welcome back Yadira Arevalo and Elle Gee to have a frank conversation about the stresses and realities of working remotely. We talk about both the challenges and opportunities with so many working remotely, as well as ways to do the best work possible and cope with what may be a new normal.
- Working from home: What the new normal looks like, plus remote management tips
- Some Advice for My New Working From Home Compatriots
- Pomodoro Technique
- How Zoom became so popular during social distancing
- Logitech HD Web Camera
- Blue Snowball
- RODE PSA 1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm
- MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Yamaha AUDIOGRAM6 Computer Recording System
- MPOW 071 USB Headset/ 3.5mm Computer Headset with Microphone
- Seven Kinds of Testers
Michael Larsen (00:00):
Hello everybody and welcome to The Testing Show. This is April, 2020. Depending upon when you are hearing this podcast, you are very likely dealing with a reality that was not in place two months ago and may have only been hinted at one month ago. For a lot of us right now we are dealing with stay at home orders, literal stay at home orders and because of that our work worlds and our personal worlds are probably in a spot that many of us are not used to. We decided that we thought that this time would be a good time to do a show specifically about working from home. For a lot of our listeners, this may be very new to you, so you already know me. I’m Michael Larsen and I’ve been working from home for the past two and a half years. Our Host and moderator is Matt Heusser and he can tell you a little bit about his reality.
Matthew Heusser (00:54):
Yeah, well I’ve been working from home since 2008 and if you average all the time, I actually had to go into an office since then, it might be 20% but I’m up here in sunny Michigan. Spring has just started and like many other people, we are under a stay at home order from our governor.
Michael Larsen (01:15):
We’d like to also welcome back Yadira Arevalo to the podcast again and Yadira, how’s this for you?
Yadira Arevalo (01:21):
It’s been a little bit of a transition. I usually, if I were to put a number of how often I work from home. Usually I’m probably looking at about a couple of days a month, so it’s not completely new, but it’s definitely not been to the point that I’ve worked for extended period of time work from home. Overall, I’m sitting in San Diego so I usually sit out of the Qualitest San Diego test center. I live in Spring Valley, which is about 30 minutes away from there and we’re also under orders to stay home.
Michael Larsen (01:53):
Sounds familiar. I should probably fill in the blank. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and we probably had one of the earliest stay at home orders in the state of California. It was followed quickly thereafter to become statewide. This is now heading into week four for me. But again, I work from home full time anyway, but this is week four for everybody around me. So it’s been interesting to see how people have been dealing with it… And we would like to welcome back to the show again Elle Gee. How you doing Elle? And uh, what’s your situation like?
Elle Gee (02:28):
Hi, thanks for having me back again. My situation, I have some experience with working from home but like others, it’s mostly casual day here, take day there. So the move to working full time from home, it’s been more of a transition than I initially expected. You think that you know when it’s going to be like from that casual day, but when you actually start feeling the reality of working from home every day you start to realize that it’s a little bit different.
Michael Larsen (02:58):
So as I said earlier, we want to look at this in a little bit more of a human perspective because for a lot of us, as you heard, Matt’s the longterm road warrior when it comes to working from home. I’ve been at it for a couple of years, but both Elle and Yadira, they’re casual, work-from-homers so this is a relatively new experience for them and it’s a new experience for my entire team outside of the engineering group that I worked with in Socialtext. Part of our conversation is just to explain kind of where we’re at, how we’re dealing with the situation because each of us is dealing with it in a little bit of a different way. I’m dealing with it less on my own and more on the fact that I now have a family at home full time. I’m lucky in the sense that I have grown children, but two of those grown children are living in the house with me right now, so my additional concern factor -and yes, these concern factors weigh into how you feel during the day- is I have a son, he’s 23 years old. He’s living in Los Angeles right now and he’s sheltering in place down in LA. He’s a freelancer. He said that work has been a struggle for that reason, but he’s managed to pick up enough to keep him busy and keep some money coming in. But it’s a challenge to say the least. My two daughters work at San Francisco international airport, but for right now they’re working on greatly reduced schedules because as you can guess, there’s very little flying going in and out of San Francisco right now that isn’t cargo. Passenger flights have almost all but stopped. My wife, Christina works for a law office and they’re closed down for now, so we’re all home. That definitely impacts my reality for what I’m doing for when I work, I’d love to say, “Oh yeah, you know, during my office hours between 6:00 AM and 3:00 PM I’m working in, you can’t disturb me.” That doesn’t work in this kind of a situation. So that’s my first thing I would recommend to everybody to say, don’t think about this as, “Well. I just have to get up and soldier on like nothing’s changed.” A lot has changed and this is going to be a really challenging period for a lot of people. And you’re not alone in that, but let’s give everybody a chance to talk about this. Matt, how is this affecting your reality?
Matthew Heusser (05:15):
Yeah, I’d say very similar things. Probably the biggest thing that has helped me with remote working is to move from a buttoned seat mindset to a deliverables mindset. I’ve got to get this podcast done today. I’ve got to get that proposal out today. I’ve got to get these three features tested today. I’ve got to get this piece of writing done today, so if I get it done, it doesn’t really matter. The second biggest problem I’ve had is once you transition to that mindset, it allows you to do things like you have to go to the grocery store, go to a doctor’s or dentist appointment, so we don’t have that now, so frankly it’s take a break on YouTube or get a snack. Once you transitioned to that mindset, it becomes a procrastination mindset because now you’re like, “Well, as long as I get that one deliverable done, I’ll do that from four 30 to five and I can goof around all day.” That’s not really helpful either. There are techniques like the Pomodoro, where do you give yourself 30 minutes of focused time. Personally, I do it more in blocks of an hour and then you give yourself a small break. Getting and keeping the discipline, getting and keeping your sleep schedule, getting and keeping your eating schedule. Those are difficult.
Matthew Heusser (06:27):
It’s easier for me and Michael because we’ve been doing it for years, but this COVID situation just adds a couple more layers of complexity. I think the good news for software testers, frankly, is that most of us are pre kinesthetics. We’re into doing by touch, so we’re good with the keyboard. We’re mostly relatively introverted. We don’t need the human interaction… Generally speaking, not everybody. If you did a bell curve of the human beings and introversion, extroversion, how much they need connection with others, and you did the same thing with software testers, we’d be skewed. There’s more of us that are introverted and if you lean that way, this isn’t going to be as hard on you. Maybe you might even use this time to get some really amazing stuff done at work. So trying to balance the challenge with the positives. That’s where I’m at right now and it’s been really hard for me to fulfill that promise of getting all the things done, frankly.
Michael Larsen (07:25):
I can definitely appreciate that. I will be the counter voice. Although I, I have jokingly referred to myself a number of times in the past as an extrovert with a thermometer, which means I’m an extrovert up to a point and then I have to kind of just go away for awhile. So I know the feeling. There are little elements of that. I’m fortunate in that I’ve got my family here and so if I do have a need for human interaction, I can go walk out for now. In a way, it might be more challenging after this is all over, but I definitely can appreciate that, that in many cases, many people who do have a lot of online interaction and if that’s sufficient and that’s what they’re used to doing, this doesn’t necessarily feel so challenging. But for those who do both crave that interaction with people and talking with people on a regular basis, this is going to be an adjustment in a big way. So I’m with you there. I just wanted to add that little counterbalance. Yadira, how are you doing?
Yadira Arevalo (08:23):
Doing all right. I mean I, like I said earlier, it’s been a bit of a transition. I’m in kind of the same boat. I have some of my family here, so I have that human interaction available to me. The main thing I think is just adapting to the unknowns. Like my dog for example, she won’t care if I’m in the middle of a call. Right? So I’ve started to, you know, set expectations at the beginning of my calls to let them know that that might happen. Overall, I mean, the good thing is that before this happened, our team had a really good interactions over Teams, we use that very heavily. It was just a matter of kind of setting up some blocks of time. I do like to try to keep my work. I prefer to block off my time when I start versus when I end and some time in there for breaks, et cetera. Obviously it doesn’t always work out, but just to have some sort of guideline to try to adhere to on a daily basis really helps me out.
Michael Larsen (09:15):
That makes sense. I can totally appreciate that. Elle, how are you holding up with all of this?
Elle Gee (09:21):
I think I’m the lucky one amongst us. There’s very little extra distractions at home. I’ve got the A.J, He’s used to working from home, so I’ve more impacted his routine than him impacting mine. And I have two senior Labs. I say senior because in our interactions with the team, everyone else has got younger dogs who are chewing up their stuff. Mine are sleeping all day. So the home environment has been less about the distractions in the home for me and more about creating a routine, creating a mindset that this isn’t permanent. It may will be that in a couple of weeks, months, whatever the timeline is that myself and my team have to transition back to an office, client-based work environment, so us being trying to stay focused on how to be successful in the now but still be ready for the transition that’s going to come again and when we work out what the new normal is going to be.
Michael Larsen (10:19):
That’s a very good point actually in the sense that I had commented on Twitter that I see this as an interesting experiment in the sense that because now we’re looking at a very large number of people actually working from home. This is going to be a very interesting stress test. Both of the systems that we have in place for being able to work with our environment remotely. Our commonly used resources are probably getting hit in a different way than they had just a few weeks ago. I think of Zoom for example, going from, it’s something in the neighborhood of a hundred fold increase of users because of this and they’re definitely having to deal with and scramble with, “Oh boy, we got a lot of stuff we got to address now” because with that level of volume and with the number of people using it, they’ve had to rescale I guess for Zoom and for companies like it that do messaging; Teams, Skype, et cetera, this is kind of a boom time and a proving time to really say, “Hey, what’s it going to take to get video conferencing on a mass scale working for as many people as possible?” So with all of this I, I thought it might be also worthwhile to say for many people now, cause we might be looking at many weeks of this still going forward from here when this… and that’s beyond when this podcast actually drops and you get a chance to hear it. If we’re going to be working from home for an extended period, what do we need to do and what should we expect and what should we have in place to be able to do it?
Michael Larsen (11:51):
So this is more of a nuts and part of the conversation as to what could we suggest to people. And one of the things, especially since I’ve done podcasting for a number of years, I have some good experience both on the lower end with this and also a little bit of a higher end if you want to invest in it and you might find it worthwhile. First of all, I would suggest that what you would probably want to have at the bare minimum, you want to have a webcam. Many computers today if you have a MacBook Air or better, or if you have a PC laptop, many of them come with cameras already built in. If for chance you don’t have that and you want to connect a camera to it. I have one that I use which is a Logitech 1080 P there’s a number on it. Yeah, I will put it in the show notes, but I actually have a little portable unit that sits on top of a monitor or you can put it on a little camera Mount and move it around. It’s got microphone built into it and a camera and it works pretty well for that purpose. Not very expensive . If you want to have a microphone that is podcast quality, I can strongly recommend one that I’ve used for 10 years. It’s made by a company called blue electronics and it is called the Snowball. It’s a USB direct microphone. It averages $50 which is not an outrageous price for what is for all practical purposes, I think, a pretty good microphone. By the way, I should mention I’m not sponsored by any of these people, but if they want to sponsor us, hey, fantastic, so I’m just giving you recommendations on my own experience.
Michael Larsen (13:25):
What I use right now… this is a little bit of a step up and this would probably cost a little bit more money, but if you do want to have a more dedicated audio set up, especially if you want to do things like voice-over work at some point, or if you want to practice doing music and singing, my current setup at home is I have a (Rode PSA1) boom arm that I use to position the microphone currently using an MXL 770 condenser microphone, which is a really good mic, it has a great pickup and it records very well. I plug that into a Yamaha Audiogram 6 which is a mixer that plugs directly into the USB port and acts as audio both in and out. Again, I will happily put notes to this in the show notes. The reason why I bought the Audiogram is because a condenser mic requires Phantom power and that’s not something you can just plug into your computer and the USB port. So the Audiogram 6 provides Phantom power as well as being an audio digital converter. You just plug a pair of headphones in… and also, if you don’t want to go to that extreme level, if you just want to have a basic headset, I have one that is made by MPOW, M, P, O, W… And it plugs into a USB port and it’s got a little boom mic on it. So just the headset, you can plug that into your USB port. This one actually is kind of nice because it also has a regular plug for headphones and for the microphone. So I can unplug that and plug it straight into the phones jack of my, Audiogram 6. So the headphones work double duty. So I’m just saying those are some pieces that I could recommend that would get you pretty good sound and pretty good video and are usable with just about any computer system as long as you’ve got USB ports. That’s my suggestion from the audio and relative video side. You don’t have to break the bank to do it and you can make a really effective setup with that. Matt, over to you.
Matthew Heusser (15:21):
Yeah. So Michael is talking about the hardware you’re going to want to get if you want to have effective remote work. Of course, we’ve been doing this podcast for two years now and before that we did another podcast for three years. So he’s really got the audio video equipment down. I want to talk about your video meetings, which we’re all gonna be in and there’s some natural things that happen in video meetings, especially as you get more people, your commitment to being involved decreases as the number of people goes up because you can be more anonymous. So you mute and you do other work and eventually you’re just completely disengaged. And what the net result of that is that your 80% effective at your regular work at best and 0% at the meeting. Like it just, you’re just worse off. So a couple of things that I’ve learned that make things better. One, if you’re running the meeting, identify everyone by name and say hello at the beginning. That’ll create the social commitment. Try to keep the number of meeting attendees down because that’ll create social commitment and no matter what your role is, if you are doing something in the background, taking notes, position yourself so that you’re looking at the camera, so put the camera on top of your laptop or use a laptop camera and then whatever you’re working on, put it right in front of that, right below that. It’s going to look to the other person like you’re making eye contact. Even if you’re not looking at them, those small commitments to being present. If you can, don’t work on anything else, just be present. It’s really surprises me. Testers, in my experience, I’m making these generalizations, but I think they’re true enough. We don’t usually pay enough attention to the social side of the contract because we’re focused on the work.
Matthew Heusser (17:06):
Hey man, I promise to have the work done by five I got it done by five what’s your problem? And the other person, it’s like, well you didn’t connect to me as a human being and it doesn’t feel like we’re in any kind of relationship. This is all transactional and that’s fine. As far as it goes, but when it comes lay off time, the people that emotionally are easy to lay off are the people that you have no relationship with, that everything is a transaction, transactions done. We don’t need the work anymore. Have a good day, here’s your severance check. And for a lot of companies that’s the reality. So I think that building those connections is really good. The other thing is, it’s really important because that’s how you find out what they’re secretly afraid of. That’s how you find out the areas of the code the developers are uncomfortable with where they took shortcuts. That’s where you find the bugs. By getting people to be a little bit vulnerable and getting their deflector shields down and really telling you what’s going on, it’ll make you more effective too. There’s a good post I can dig up from years ago where James (Bach) talks about different types of testers and he talks about the analytical and the social and there’s a couple other ones. The automator, the subject matter expert, and I think right now it’s going to be very tempting for us to become analytical testers. For many people it will be their detriment to let go of that social aspect at this time. So I want to orient myself in video meetings toward that.
Matthew Heusser (18:31):
Before the meeting starts, I try to review what’s coming up, type it up into a word document that I can… these are the important things and I can put that word document in front of me and I try to dial in early because something always goes wrong man. Especially if I’m dealing with someone outside the organization. They can’t hear me, I can’t hear them. I’m muted, they’re muted, the video doesn’t work. So I just try to dial in five minutes early and mixture of my stuff is ready. If there’s a tester I can talk and see the input move to the right and at least then I know it’s not going to be me when they can’t hear me. So that’s my video tips. I talked a little bit about that social aspect and Elle wanted to really talk more about how to keep in touch with your team, so it’s probably a good transition to her and also feel free to comment on anything I said. If you think I’m all wet.
Elle Gee (19:20):
I definitely don’t think you’re all wet. Not that I could see you, but I don’t think you’re all wet. I’m very committed to making sure that not just my own team but the teams that we support from our wider company are still connected both socially and through their work connections as well. Are we connected to our work? Do we understand that we do need to move as Matthew you suggested earlier from a time and hours type approach for deliverables type approach. But do we still have all of the connections that we have during the day? We’re used to leaning on the person next to us for some advice on how to complete a test case or one of the complexities of this particular software and that person’s not sitting there anymore. How do we recreate that dynamic and also how do we recreate that chat at the kitchen sink?
Elle Gee (20:08):
How do we recreate that time spent out in the breakout area playing one of the games or buying some ping pong or whatever the social release was in the office? What are we doing as a team to make sure that we have those same abilities to take a break in the new work from home environment? Some ways that we are doing that is on various of our teams. We’ve set up what we call water cooler calls, where on my team we get together three times a week. A different person facilitate each session and we’ve covered all sorts of things for 30 minutes. We actually will have the equivalent to a water cooler conversation. It might be talking about a new game. It might be talking about what’s going on in the world. If that’s people just need the release, we might actually have a trivia competition or a shared experience.
Elle Gee (21:05):
Last week the facilitator decided to do a game where we’d call out a theme and everyone had to draw a picture and upload it in the Teams chat and we laughed ourselves silly at each other’s pictures. It didn’t matter what we do in that 30 minutes. The goal for us was just about creating and maintaining the connection, letting people know it’s okay to take 30 minutes, that at that point along with other breaks away from the work that we need to get done and just connect with their teammates, connect with other people, and a side benefit of that is we get to make sure our people are okay. They’re touching base, they’re reaching out, they’re talking, we’re talking and reaching out and everything else, is everybody okay? We get to ask that because they’ve created an environment that allows us to, so myself and the management team that I work with, we’ve been very committed to ensuring that we have made sure that there are communication streams available, we use Teams, everybody has access. Luckily for us, everybody is issued with a laptop which does have video and microphone. So these things enable us to facilitate the remote calling right now and we’ve made it really clear to our people and our teams. It’s okay to stop and have that water cooler chat. It’s okay to think about how to fit that into your new routine and still be successful in delivering on your workload for the day.
Michael Larsen (22:35):
That’s all terrific advice. And actually I really do want to say that having that conversation to just “are you okay out there?” We’ve done something similar in the sense that one of our team members has set up an all day meeting through, you know, Google Meet cause that’s what we happen to use. And so you can just drop in at any time and people are there and you can just chat with whoever happens to be there. And that’s really neat because I’ve dropped in a couple of times and it’s like, “Oh Hey look, I’m not sure I know who this person is.” So I’ve had a chance to talk with people from the organization that I don’t regularly see. And I think that’s pretty neat and it’s gives me a chance to connect with people that I don’t necessarily know a lot about and they don’t necessarily know who I am either.
Michael Larsen (23:15):
It’s easy to say, Oh, you know, being somebody who works from home full time, this isn’t really going to be all that different, but it is different. It is different if my daughters are home and with my wife home the needs that are around, they’re trying to also work along that and deal with the new stresses and tensions. Much as I love my family, I will say there are stresses, intentions, and those add into your daily reality. The past three weekends, I’ll be very frank, I have slept most of those three weekends so far because I’ve been exhausted and yet this is on the surface no different than what I was regularly dealing with, but it is different and that’s something that we all I think have to come to grips with. Our normal is not normal anymore. We’re having to all adjust. Things that used to make sense, things that used to be very easy to bundle up and put into pockets. We can’t do that anymore. Frankly. I think it is perfectly okay to admit and own up to the fact to say, I got up this morning and I took a shower and I put on fresh clothes and I was able to get a few cycles of a hour here, an hour there of work done and I was able to brave to go to the grocery store and get the necessities that we need. And that’s about all I can do. I think it’s important that we realize that and that people are dealing with stresses that they’re not used to dealing with. And I’m dominating Yadira’s time and I’m going to stop because I know Yadira’s got some comments about how to deal with this situation and I want to give her a good chance. So Yadira, what’s your thoughts?
Yadira Arevalo (24:53):
No problem. So I wanted to talk a little bit about setting up some space for yourself when you’re working from home. But before jumping into that a little bit connected to what Elle was saying, I think that another thing that we have to, you know, put in effect, as part of taking care of our team… we work with a lot of clients, right? So part of what we need to do is to ensure that they trust us to work from home. That’s a difference in the dynamic obviously. So something that we’ve made sure to improve upon are things like working towards deliverables, making sure that there’s very clear expectations and deadlines, making sure that there is metrics to track against those deadlines so that we don’t get our guys wasting too much time on calls. With people transitioning over to work from home, a lot of the time people want to know what other people are doing all the time, so that increases the amount of meetings up the schedule on a daily basis, which automatically decreases the amount of time that you have to work on those deliverables. So I just wanted to tag that on,.
Elle Gee (25:55):
Just wanted to add something to that same topic there. There’s also another side to all of this, which a lot of our people, certainly on my team, and noting that they’re getting more done in the day because they’re trying to do that eight hour day that, you know, Michael, you said early on be careful of that, but I’ve had some of my people actually said “I’m a little bit worried that when I returned to the office they’re going to expect the same productivity that they’re getting right now.” It’s not just about ensuring that we meet the work deliverables and we show that we are maintaining productivity, but it’s also about that awareness that in some ways without the normal interactions in the office, there’s more productivity and there’s this worry. It creates an expectation that may not be possible in that new norm when it comes about and back over to you, Yadira.
Yadira Arevalo (26:46):
That’s a really good point regarding setting some space for yourself when working. I want to start off by saying that I think this has a lot to do with personal preference. I know a lot of people actually prefer to not have some space at home set aside for working. They prefer to, you know, be a nomad with their machine and work from their couch, then their bed, et cetera. I find that it’s really helpful for me. I said at the beginning of the call that I really like to set some time aside for myself. When I’m taking breaks, it’s not always going to work out exactly as expected, but having some guidelines for myself really helps. What I’ve also found is that setting some space aside for myself at home, setting up a monitor, having my laptop in a certain location and working from that location, standing up to take my breaks, et cetera, and then at the end of the day, closing down my laptop and stepping away. I find that it’s very helpful for me to have that kind of line in the sand to say, okay, I’m done with my work for today and now it’s me time. I don’t think it’s the same for everybody. Everybody has their own preferences, but I found it very helpful. Michael, I was looking at one of your articles and you were talking about getting dressed for work. I think that that’s also connected and I also find that very helpful to kind of go about my usual routine, take my shower, get changed for the day, setting up my my workstation, and at the end of the day just logging off and kind of follow that pattern like Elle said, we don’t think it’s going to be a full on the new norm has at some point in time, you know, we’re going to have to return to the office, at least most of us. So I find that that’s also really helping with keeping myself on track and making sure that I’m meeting my deliverables, but I’m also not overworking myself.
Michael Larsen (28:28):
Yeah, definitely. I appreciate that very well. One other thing that I would put in here, and again this is some people are going to feel very different about this, but this is something that I have found valuable. For many of us, if we did go into an office, we had a commute. So when you work from home, it’s common to where the idea is you just, you roll out of bed and you log on and you start working and then you kind of deal with stuff and then day goes by and toward the end of the day you decide, all right, I’m done, I’m burnt. You stop working and you roll back into bed. I want to discourage people from doing that. I really do. I think that can be a very detrimental thing in the long run. So I encourage you, if you’re used to having a commute, now that you’re at home, you might say, “Hey, I don’t have a commute anymore so I don’t have to worry about that.” I suggest you keep your commute pattern. I’m not saying get up and walk out of the house and go to your train station or drive, you know, cause you’re not going to, but how long did that take you? What did you have to do during that time and what did you use that time for? Got in my car, drove to a train station, waiting for a train, took the train, walk to work, and I repeated it on the way back. It took me about an hour, give or take from door to door. I listened to podcasts or had books on tape or I listened to some rough mixes of music that I was producing and took notes or worked on some project that I was working on or wrote a blog article. Those are the things that I did to separate me from work and to get myself in that mode that when I got to work, all right, I’m ready to hit it and then when I’m done I would pack it up and I would do the reverse coming back. I think it’s important to keep something of that ritual even in this work from home environment, so give yourself a little bit of a commute time.
Michael Larsen (30:12):
Now it doesn’t have to be an hour, it could be 15 minutes, but allow yourself that transition time so that you can go and do some things that mentally prepare you and also to say, I’m done. I’m putting it down and now I’m going to transition out so I can deal with everything else. That may also have to be tweaked a bit because again, if you’re dealing with homeschooling your kids on top of doing your work, you’re not going to be able to say, I’m going to work at eight o’clock and I’m going to leave at five. That’s not reality. You might have to deal with a different thing there. So it’s important to say then, yeah, I’m going to step back and I’m going to say instead, all right, if I can give an hour of dedicated time to this and then take a half an hour and work on something else and then come back. And that shift is what you need to do. If you communicate that, that’s that shift you’re doing and everybody understands it, that’s fine. And I encourage people to do that… and I’ll stop there.
Matthew Heusser (31:09):
Okay, well that was quite a conversation. You know something interesting, I don’t know how you guys feel about this, but we did this, we plan this podcast in advance like all the others and it feels like there’s a lot more individual contributing and less sort of intense back and forth than we usually have. And I wonder if that’s how we’re reacting to the COVID in general. It’s a lot easier to do work at your desk alone than it is to do the intense back and forth collaboration that we usually do.
Michael Larsen (31:44):
It’s been interesting watching how some people, especially in my work group, have been reacting to this and how we’ve responded to it. There are times where it makes more sense to say, “Hey, let’s get two or three people on a quick call and let’s work through this problem, and then we’re very focused and we’re very engaged and we’re able to get done what we need to get done. And then we’d say, “Okay, great. Now everybody can, you know, kind of go off to your corners and take care of what we need to do.” I think it’s important to do that, but yes, you are correct. I think it’s because of the change and everybody just figuring out how to deal with this. For many people who were more on the, you know, very task oriented when they were in the office and working shoulder to shoulder with other people. They’re a little bit rudderless at the moment and they’re trying to figure out how to do what they used to do and it’s awkward. And so I think for those of us who have more experience with this remote work environment, this is our time to be very helpful and I think that we can do a lot to help say it’s dealable, it’s manageable and here’s how you can benefit from this. But it takes a different way of thinking about how you do the work you do.
Elle Gee (32:58):
I’d like to suggest to anyone that they are efficient and thinking about what they need ahead of time. When you used to work in your office environment, when you get to this point in a test script or even in your Workday and tasking, you can just go and grab something. We currently working at different environments. Think ahead if you have to set up requirements, I guess I’m coming from the point of a lot of our work requires interaction with equipment that we’ve had to coordinate. Getting that out to people and everything associated with the COVID shelter in place and social distancing and dealing with that has made us very aware of understanding what equipment you need for when and how to transfer that between your team in a safe way. And this environment requires a level of efficiency. So I encourage people think ahead, what do you need? Work ahead of time to make sure you have everything in place and that anyone else in your team is not adversely affected by the process you go through. To do that.
Yadira Arevalo (33:58):
From my side, I just wanted, uh, to reiterate that although it’s very important to make sure that we’re being as efficient, if not more so while working from home just to not forget that human elements and to make sure that you’re reaching out to your teammates, that if you’re managing anybody, that you’re catching up with them a bit more often and making sure that your team is okay. So that they can pass that on to whoever might be reporting onto them. Yeah, just take care of each other.
Michael Larsen (34:28):
I think that’s good advice. I want to say thanks to everybody for participating. Again, this is, this is a bit of a different feel for the show this time. For those listening, I hope you will take it in the spirit that’s intended. We’re all in this together and we’re all dealing with this the best that we can. So want to say thanks for listening to the testing show this month and… Stay safe out there, everybody.
Matthew Heusser (34:48):
Thanks, Michael. Thanks for being on the show, everybody.
Elle Gee (34:51):
Thank you for having us along again, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about something that is very close to our hearts and very close to our reality right now.
Yadira Arevalo (35:00):