AMI Interview with Jan Pisarovsky - Working from home during the lockdown

In this edition of AMI interview, we virtually sat down to talk with Scrum Master Jan Pisarovsky about the struggles one might face when working from home during the current COVID-19 lockdown.

Video transcription

EH: Hello everyone, and welcome to another remote interview. It's my pleasure today to welcome Jan Pisarovsky. Hi Pisi, welcome for a second time.

JP: Hi Eli, great to be here.

EH: So Pisi, you recently wrote an article about how to cope in your time during quarantine. How was it and how are you doing?

JP: Yeah. So, firstly I focused on the one main thing, it is a change of environment. Normally in your normal schedule, you have a routine,
you wake up, you have your morning routine, then you leave for work. You arrive at the office and you are here with people. You are going on meetings, you are doing your own work.
This is one thing that disappears. That's one, that's the biggest, the biggest point. You wake up at home, you work at home and that's where
the line gets, smudged a bit. So from... I discussed it with a few of my colleagues some of them had trouble switching into the work mode and some of them had really big trouble switching off the work mode. For the tip, I basically said it's very important to set a marker, a breakpoint when you start work at home and when you finish.
If it is regular working hours or if it is just switching your room and you decide, okay, this is my working desk right now and this is where I only work. And when I'm off the desk, I'm at home and I don't work anymore.

EH: Yeah. Well maybe, I don't know if you can hear it, but I hear cars passing by and that might be another struggle. What to do in case
there are kids or in my case a dog or lousy street. What to do in this case?

JP: First of all, you need to like be proactive with your colleagues. Let's say, on the online call and you need to tell them I have these
things at home that might be interrupting during the call.
I believe we have a great company culture that understands that and your colleagues will be, will be totally okay with it.
And I recall, it was basically one in one of the first emails sent to us from our CEO, Paul Danter where he addressed this situation. And in one
of the paragraphs, he basically mentioned exactly this thing, please be tolerant to each other and we will get
through this.

EH: Yeah, completely agree. So my last question for you would be, is there any difference, or do you feel any different to be working from home
on remote schedule or being physically in the office?

JP: That is one thing that like, you cannot just replace it, that is the personal contact with the rest of the team and without that basically I see like during our meetings, the non-verbal part of the communication is bigger than I thought. And there are lots of things that you can't see just over the voice. And that's why I urge everybody to use a webcam as well because it helps a bit.
And even though it's not the full experience you get when you are in person with the rest of your team in the meeting room going through the work you've done or planning the next Sprint or refining new User Stories those are the points where you, those are the places where you heavily depend on the discussion and the opinions that are being exchanged and lots of stuff might slip just under the radar just because you are doing it just over the Teams and even worse if you are doing it let's say without webcam, without the video part of it.

EH: We cannot underestimate this situation. It is very serious and we know that this is something for our safety and as much as we miss each
other or you know, the normal environment, I think this is very important for us to stay healthy and just to protect ourselves. As you said
it's better to be cautious right now.

JP: We know right now that this is not some zombie apocalypse and it's not that severe, but we need to take care of ourselves. And most importantly of our loved ones and our friends and our colleagues. So yeah. Stay home and stay healthy. And stay safe.

EH: Yeah. Well, Pisi, thank you so much for being online and thank you guys so much for watching and I will see you next time.

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