Monday Apr 28, 2008

New Office Chair - WFH

Sitting at a desk all day can be a real pain.   Literally.   Sitting for hours without moving more than the mouse and the coffee mug only helps to create a stiff back.

For someone like myself who wants to be able to jump onto a dressage horse in the evening and float around an arena in sychronised motion with the horse, a stiff back can swiftly become a painful back.

In August 2004, I wrote about the exercise ball I was using as a chair in the Bagshot office in the UK.   It was a joy.   However, since moving to the USA, I have not found a ball big enough to use with my new desk...   and I'm not likely to buy another new desk.   So, I guess I allowed my back to get ouchy.   Until....

....Fed up, I started looking for a solution and lo and behold, I learned that the concept of using balls as chairs has become more widely accepted.   Others had found the joy of ball chairs.   And new designs had been dreamt up.   Browsing the web, I found one design that looked simply perfect.

In the end, I selected BIndependent, a company that specialises in "Solutions from the Net's only store created by and for brain injury survivors & families", as my supplier.   They sell this ball chair as well as tons of other cool things.

My new ball chair arrived last week, Georg assembled it quickly, and today, for the first time in 3 years, I am truly sitting comfortably again.   I am raised up to an ergonomically correct height while sitting on a flexible ball that allows me to wiggle, lightly bounce, and simply keep my back moving a bit.   And, I'm on wheels as well!

My back is already happier.   What a relief!

Wednesday Mar 05, 2008

WFH & The Warner Office

This week, we've been hosting the visit of a fellow Sun employee, a German who is based out of the Geneva Switzerland office and resides in Lyon France.   The primary purpose of his trip involves meeting with an important ISV in this area.   And, as is customary at Sun, since he is "in the area", he's also meeting with colleagues at the Sun campus 70 miles south of here.

Over the past (nearly) 3 years since we moved from the United Kingdom to the USA, we've had well over 20 Sun employees visit our home.   Quite a few of them flew in from outside of the area from as far away as Bangalore India and were welcomed guests staying at our home instead of a hotel.

Working From Home sounds to many like working in isolation.   However, we've found that with both of us being long time Sun employees, we talk shop a lot at home.   (We do try to limit shop talk to "office hours", however, in order to preserve & respect the HOME part of WFH.)

But when we have Sun guests, then it starts to feel like maybe it's time to campaign for official Sun office status.

Sun's Warner Office.   I think it has a nice ring to it.     :-)

Wednesday Mar 08, 2006

Where is Your Office?

One of the projects in which I'm currently involved is linked to Sun's Flexible Work programs.   At Sun, employees have at least three options:

  o   Permanent seat at a Sun Office
  o   "Flex Office" where you reserve an office as needed
  o   "Work From Home"

A fourth option I remember Scott McNealy talking about during a visit to the Farnborough United Kingdom office several years ago, something we all thought was completely "Scott has his head in the clouds again" kind of stuff, was:

  o   Sports Utility Vehicle Office at a location of your choice

Was that nuts?   Hardly!   McNealy's description of an office of the future was not a hallucination.   It was visionary.   Technology now supports this option.

Working from home, working flex, working from a parking spot along side the beach, or working from a Sun office, the question now on many people's minds is this:

Do we have to be together to work well together?

Having been remote for 1 year now, I personally think it is possible to still fully participate in a team without sitting with everyone.   I'm hoping my peers agree. :-)   However, to do this, one needs to get together with their team and peers every so often.   That is critical.   Video concalls and physical team get togethers help keep the connections.

WFH and Flex is not for everyone...   But it does work for many of us and is worth considering when the option is offered.

Friday Nov 04, 2005

We Have The Technology

Working from home for Sun is interesting.   Living on a horse farm is interesting.   Combining the two is Very Interesting.

Thursday mornings are a good example of the interesting work / home mix.   I have a 9:30 am concall, followed directly by a 10:30 am concall that runs to around noontime.   Breakfast is fed to the horses well before the first concall.   My breakfast follows.   Then the concalls.   Lunch is fed to the horses after the second call.   And, if I'm responsible for cleaning stables, it is done during my lunch break.   The work day resumes until around 4 or 5 when the horses get more attention and food.   Then more work.   Then dinner for humans.   Maybe ride.   Maybe more email.   And horses again before bedtime.   The schedule is a constant mixing of work and horses.

People working from home no doubt know what I mean.   Especially those with young children.   Sun gets an hour.   The kids get 15 minutes.   Sun gets 2 hours.   The kids get lunch.   Sun gets another hour or two.   The dog gets walked.   Sun gets more time.   The kids get driven somewhere.   It's so far removed from the fixed 9 to 5 working hours of previous decades.

For me, working from home when I know my horses were in a pasture out of my sight but only 100's of feet away presented a problem which needed resolving.   I wanted to be able to see my horses and know what they were up to and that they were safe.   That is where technology really kicked in to improve my quality of worklife.

With our home now set up with a wireless network, a handful of computers, and wireless webcams, we can now monitor the horses while working.   In fact, we can go to the local Sun office, or the Bangalore office even!, and monitor the horses, the house, the arenas, basically everything.   We are wired up.   We have a horse farm with a difference.

Yup, we have the technology.   And it has helped make WFH way cool!




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