Working From Home, Karen Mangia

Salesforce MVPs get some extra benefits and I’m glad I’m one of them. This year we could order what we want from a special collection, so not only I got a new microphone, so my podcast sounds better, I also got this new book from Karen Mangia about working from home.

New equipment

Actually what new you can learn after 18 months working from home, right? I was surprised how many notes I made while reading the book, so let’s wrap it up here.

Research shows that delays of 1,2 seconds via video will make people perceive a responder as less friendly or focused, when it’s really just their internet connection!

The truth is I’m most likely less friendly or focused, it isn’t just the connection. But jokes aside, I’m really surprised how people complain on their connection all the data even people from countries where I would expect no problems and speedy connection. I love the internal debate we have on chat, where people boost how they have 200Gbps or 500Gbps connection while they still keep their camera off because it is slow, while I’m on my mobile from day 1 and lately limited to 10Mbps and have no problem at all. Maybe except being perceived as arrogant.

But you know what I see every time I look at a piece of sheet music? A lot of white space. Without a pause, music is just a noise. The rests in music aren’t signs that the composer is being lazy – it’s the composer being smart.

This is strong point and something I miss the most. Not having transitions. It is great that I can finish a call, have a lunch with family and go back to another call, but I’m really missing the transition between office and home, between work and family. And no, walk around the house to get this feeling back is not a solution, at least for me. So should I really try to have a dance party before making a dinner?

When you invest in something new, you must divest of something else.

Back-to-back video meetings have suddenly become the new routine. … Is that always-on routine serving you? Putting you at your best?

I remember two changes in my life during Covid. The first one was how suddenly meetings stopped right at the end, not a minute longer. And how much I (still) appreciate it.

The second is one project, where people were not afraid of 15 minutes long meetings, which is awesome, because why spend an hour on something you can solve in 15 minutes. The only problem I immediately noticed was how suddenly even the smallest breaks I had on my calendar disappeared.

Now I’m trying to go to task #2, as I have no problem with rejecting meetings from #1 and #3:

  1. Does it have to be?
  2. Does it have to be me?
  3. Does it have to be me right now?

Spectacular Online Meetings

I love to read all the stories how people improved their home office to look better. Michal’s description is the last I read and really like it even though I don’t really follow the advice. At the beginning of lock-down I bought a standing table and then I got the microphone and light as seen above. No better chair, additional screen or anything other improvement, not really a space to do make something great in our 3+1 flat shared by 5 people.

But I like the idea to rethink your budget – before Covid I would be requested to go to client locations quite often and „what would I spend on that meeting“? Just put those money into your home office setup and it kind of costs you less and improve your delivery a lot.

You cannot do a three-hour working session anymore.

Be human

I must say that I hate voice messages as I need to listen to them and really focus, text is so much easier and quicker to process.

At the same time it is an interesting idea to send a client a video message with a few quick takeaways which you recorded while you walked your dog outside and even had a time to say hi to your neighbour. I mean – so unexpected, human and real, we probably don’t have to pretend we are all business all the time.

Shorten meetings, more to the point, smaller audience.

Unfinished slides which you co-create with the client. Another interesting idea, totally understand the feeling of ownership client will immediately get.

Segment, check-ins, built in breaks, during which you summarise what was agreed so far so there is less miscommunication.

This chapter was really good and full of interesting ideas, takeaways and things you need to be aware of.

Redefining Success in the New Normal

When you see the replies you can immediately feel better (hopefully). Because success is not a title, money or anything else. Success is being happy and it also doesn’t matter whether someone else validated it.

The key to more success is actually less.

Less obligation. Less commitment. Less overreacting. Less pressure. Less discouragement.

And this one is absolutely awesome and I feel I really suck at it.

Success isn’t about repetitively demonstrating that you can push harder, so that you can shove heavier rocks up higher hills. Success is demonstrating that you can get other people to join you in your charge.

Virtual events

Obviously the chapter about virtual events was really interesting to me. We did CzechDreamin, I also helped with Nonprofit Dreamin and in both case I shared the same feeling – why would people pay for it, when there are tons of another events/webinars/videos. And also what is the difference between webinar and event, what really defines it?

And then I read about events who went virtual, still charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for a ticket and their attendance went even higher.

All the platforms are cool, but they don’t make the difference.

Surprisingly no recording can be a solution as people have to focus, not hope to replay later – at the same time attendees don’t really understand why there will be no recording.

Swag box is another big thing, we all love them and when you get them before event … there is not more which can beat it. The only downside, from European perspective, is how expensive the postage can be. We thought about it for CzechDreamin and the costs were higher than the costs of the swags, so it didn’t really make sense to us. Plus all those CO2, right?

In-Person Check-In – are they serious? It looks like a ridiculous idea but I really love especially it for the more expensive events.

Be intentional about not taking every meeting on camera. Take that call while you’re walking around your blok. Get some fresh air, get away from your screen, give your eyes a rest. Give your mind a slight mental reboot. These micro adjustments can have macro impact on how you feel by the end of the day.

Get connected

Connections are everything these days and I know that I struggle with networking. Still some advices here really surprised me.

Avoid connection requests which obscure the true intention behind. Requests such as „Can I pick your brain?“ or „Could we get coffee or virtual coffee?“ Actually I love to send these requests because those are the real reasons, I don’t really plan much further. And immediately offer reciprocity? Introductions I can make, the insights I can share. To me this feels strange and bounding and not sure I would accept such request, because what they really want when they immediately list what all they can do for me?

Write a recommendation – I did it a long time ago, that was a great feeling, to write the recommendation on LinkedIn just because I wanted, not because someone asked. Need to put it on my list again. And it is also super hard I would say.

Get it and read it

Obviously you can buy the book at Amazon and enjoy it yourself. Or if you are based in Czech Republic I’m more that happy to pass it forward, just let me know. Because it is full of interesting ideas and things which will make you stop and think again.

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