Learnings from my first virtual co-working experiment

It all started with a tweet from Deborah Preuss and a chat with a close friend about what the current full-time at-home remote working does to each of us.

Deb’s tweet was about how to do virtual co-working and it sounded inspiring to me.

Tweet from 15th March 2020

So my friend and me agreed on a date with not-so-many work meetings to do a full day of co-working.

Having bigger chunks of time for (deep) working solo on things definitely helped me to plan that day.

Learning Nr. 1: Having a whole day was essential for me to commit to my first co-working experience.

Now after today’s learnings, I can imagine a half-day for the next co-working sessions as well, like spending 3-4 hours together.

What type of work to choose?

Learning Nr. 2: Choosing stuff I still often procrastinate on for the co-work day was a huge win.

Having regular (coffee) check-ins with a nice human being boosts my mood, I know that.

Those check-ins do not even need to be work-specific or content-related (in fact I did that only once today). So I intentionally chose stuff I had a hard time to get done so far for today.

Clarity and intentionality

My intention for the co-work day was:

  • get actually stuff done
    (I mean the “done-done” done thing. E.g. incl. documentation of my learnings.)
  • having something TANGIBLE and valuable that I deem to be good enough for now (and I have (still too) high standards for myself)
  • eating my own dog food in terms of sustainable agile work
  • finish all things today (over starting something new I cannot get done within the workday)

In retrospect that was very helpful to have this pretty clear in advance.

Individual work mode and methods

I terms of (agile) methods and with regards to sustainable pace I ended up with this:

  • had a personal Kanban board just for that day
  • did a frequent replanning (i.e. after each break)
  • limited my WIP striktly to 1
  • had some slack-time inbetween to refresh my body and mind (e.g. to hear favorite music for 3 mins or get a nose full of fresh air on the balcony)
  • had a PROPER lunch break (like: not already planning for eating in front of the laptop)

And you know what? I am really proud – especially of the slack time and proper breaks. The connection to someone (mentally and in-time during our touchpoint breaks) definitely helped me to take better care of myself and a healthy balance.

On making plans

Already back in the 1950ies Eisenhower knew that plans are worthless, planning is key.

Yes, I made plans for the co-work day. Yes I changed them every time when I had more information about how to best reach my objective for the day.

Learning Nr. 3: Plans are made to change. Celebrate and keep the learnings!

That learning might sound too obvious yet I often see that omitted or disrespected both in my own work and when working with teams and clients.

EYODF – On (agile) dogfood

I ate a lot of own (agile) dogfood today. Here is a list of resources that I discovered and used during the day. As I already shared one link with my co-work partner that they didn’t know, you may find something useful as well:

Business Modelling

Impact mapping

Thank you…

A big thank you to Deborah Preuss, Andi Roberts, Isaac Jeffries, Gojko Adzic for the inspiration, articles and resources.

A heartfelt thank you to my co-working partner. The experiment went so well, we already made an appointment for another co-work day.

… and take care

I didn’t proof-read this particular blog post 10x; it needs to be good enough for now. Although this article serves mainly for my documentation, I do hope to inspire you with it.

Looking forward to your experiences, questions and additions. Remember: sharing is caring! 🙂