Remote Spotlight - Tips from Trineo WFH Veterans

Cynthia Cage May 29, 2020

Work From Home (WFH) has been gaining traction with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing nearly every business around the world to adopt new policies for their employees.

Here at Trineo, we’ve always had the option to WFH one day a week and many of us have regularly taken advantage of that offer. It’s nice to have a day where there is some flexibility, zero commute time, no hassle of parking and you can work in your athleisure wear if you feel like it. However, most of us are not set-up for full-time WFH. Add in children, partners, pets, and many other factors, and all of a sudden WFH no longer sounds relaxing or flexible!

We thought it would be useful to spotlight a few of our team members who are WFH veterans. We asked them a few questions to get to know them better, gain some tips from their years of full-time WFH, and observations they have pre and post COVID.

Tony Pederson: VP, Global Alliances & Business Development

What do you do in your spare time?
Trying to read more and Netflix less! I’m very passionate about longevity-related health and nutrition. There is so much new information that explains how the body works and why we have the general health problems we have now. Some of these ideas are starting to permeate into mainstream culture which is amazing (yoga, meditation, healthy fats, intermittent fasting, anti-inflammation, food intolerances, etc).

What’s your favorite binge-worthy show? 
Right now, I’ll go with Letterkenny. It’s a lower budget sitcom based on a rural Canadian town.  There are different groups that always seem to have conflicts about something. It’s very quick, witty humor - you may need subtitles! 

image

Prior to Trineo did you work remotely or in an office with team members? 
We were mostly remote previously. I’ve been doing it for over 12 years, but traveling fairly consistently throughout. It’s definitely different - lots of pros and lots of cons.  I love having more time by cutting out prep and travel and it’s great to be in a comfortable environment to increase productivity. However, it is definitely lacking in the social aspect - it’s a necessity to get together with your teams occasionally. Those times can be extremely rewarding and refreshing.

How would you describe working remote pre-COVID vs. now that the whole company is currently WFH?
It’s definitely been more engaging, partially because I’m more involved with project work but there is more out there to get us together.  Our PX team has done a great job of keeping us close. I enjoy that we bookend the week really well. Starting the week with Final Thoughts is usually some thought provoking or motivating topic that gets you going and ending the week with a fun virtual game (Cynthia, virtual Jeopardy was actually really great!) gets us in a good place to close out the week and enjoy the weekend.

Least and most favorite thing about working remotely? Any advice you’d give to the rest of the team about working remotely?
Favorite: Getting more sleep.  Less prep and travel time means more ZZZs!

Least: Isolation, especially during COVID. I like to travel occasionally to recharge with the team and I like working from coffee shops to get out of the house. Hard to do any of that right now.  Things are starting to open up and it’s amazing how just going to get a haircut can boost your spirits!

Tips:  Keep a morning routine. Put shoes and regular clothes on. Have designated work areas (not on the couch in your personal space). Try to block off time where you’re going to work outdoors - it’s a great opportunity to get some fresh air and hear the birds chirping!

Leon Dewey: Lead Engineer

What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy gardening, spending time down in or next to the lake, walking the dog and playing with my kids. 

What’s your favorite binge-worthy show? 
I have just finished watching Fauda which was really good. 

Prior to Trineo did you work remotely or in an office with team members? 
I have worked in an office environment before, but I have been working remotely now for about 9 years. I’ve been remote from the start with Trineo. I started out remote in San Francisco then moved back to New Zealand and have been working from home in Cromwell. 

image

How would you describe working remote pre-COVID vs. now that the whole company is currently WFH?
The communication has been upped and consideration for being at home is a little more but on the whole, it’s very much the same. Some examples are: 

  • Watercooler chats are happening virtually now and they are a good option for connecting with the team.
  • It's easy to schedule a meeting with anyone as there’s no need for a meeting room
  • Friday afternoon games/drinks/chat. Before this there was really no interaction for remoters to join, now everyone is remote and joining virtually. 

What advice would you give to the rest of the team about working remotely? Any tips?
Routine, Routine, and Routine. Only once you have a strong routine can you really relax. Make sure you have redundancy plans for connectivity and make sure your connection is good for video and audio. Also, relax. I used to think if my internet dropped or the power went out then I was just at home not working - some things you can't avoid. Be kind to yourself. 

Dougal MacPherson: Senior Engineer 

What do you do in your spare time? 
I like to draw my children as they experience their childhood. https://www.instagram.com/15mindrawings/ I’ve illustrated a children's book in the past, and I’d like to do another one.

What’s your favorite binge-worthy show? 
I don’t watch a huge amount of TV, but I do like to listen to podcasts when I draw at night. “No such thing as fish” is one of my favourites, and I’m a sucker for anything about space exploration.

image

How long have you been working with Trineo? Remote that whole time? 
I’ve been with Trineo for about a year and a half now, and I've been remote the whole time. In fact, I was the first person they employed who was remote straight away. (As the other remote team members all had some face-to-face experience with Trineo prior to going remote)

How would you describe working remote pre-COVID vs. now that the whole company is WFH? 
My actual work is largely the same, as my Trineo colleague that I work with most often also doesn’t work out of a Trineo office. Outside of work, not being able to see friends, etc affects me like anyone else

Least and most favorite thing about working remotely? 
My favourite is that it allows me to live in a small town in the mountains. Not having to commute for hours allows me to be more involved with my children and the community we live in. I help teach kids how to code at the local primary school during Friday lunchtime, and I'm a Kea Scout leader on Mondays. None of these things would be possible if I wasn’t remote. 

My least favourite, would be that you don’t bond the same with your colleagues when you’re not face to face. So whenever I’m in a Trineo office I’m always trying to make up for lost time. 

What advice would you give to the rest of the team about working remotely? Any tips?
Make sure you’ve got a dedicated space to work from and treat that space as your office. So when you go there you’re working, and when you leave you’re not. Otherwise, you may find yourself struggling to get started with work, and also struggling to turn off at the end of the day. Also if you can, buy yourself a decent microphone so everyone can hear you clearly on the other end of the video calls

Thank you to our remote folks for sharing your insight and experience. As we all continue to navigate this “new normal”, we can take the advice and tips from these WFH experts and set ourselves up for continued connectivity and success!

Cynthia Cage

Cynthia Cage