Down, But Not Out

Monday 15 April

0700 Commence usual cycle commute to Icelab Fitzroy

0712 Brake to dodge a feral bird at 35km p/h on dewy descent. Crash my bike. Break my arm. I sit in the gutter in agony until my hospital ride arrives. I jump onto Campfire to tell my Icelab buddies the bad news.

Cause - the bird and effect - the horrible arm

0830-01500 Answer some emails, ferry information around to team, continue to make sure lines of communication remain intact

1530 Surgery to insert plate into my arm

1530 onwards: (x_x), thanks to hospital-grade painkillers

Tuesday 16 April


Wednesday 17 April

0900-1100 (x_x)

1100-1700 chatting, skyping, working

Thursday 18 April – Tuesday 30 April:

0900-1700 Installed comfortably, working from home

At the moment my capacity to do anything sits at around 20-30%. Fortunately, I’m able to prioritise rest and recuperation over commuting and sitting at an uncomfortable desk.

We like to stay active at Icelab, but along with our love for exercise (and the team’s astoundingly low average resting heart rate) comes the inevitability of injury. Sometimes this is merely annoying: other times the results are more serious and involve limbs required for typing, ensuring one’s person appears presentable to the rest of the world and, most importantly, aiding in the arrival at work in a timely fashion.

We’re enthusiastic proponents of remote working, and the past couple of weeks have illustrated that the advantages aren’t just for those enjoying exotic destinations or for two offices working as one. It’s been great for my recovery to keep working at whatever capacity I’m able to. I’ve progressed from dazed/horizontal to lucid/vertical over the past couple of weeks, and all the while I’ve been able to stay happy and connected: I’ve remained in touch with what’s going on, communicated with clients and rested when I needed to. This is a win for everyone.

The tools we use daily to promote collaboration and efficiency mean that at the times when life gets in the way we’re able to remain productive with little more than a hiccup.

Consider the alternative: I’d be cooped up at home, racking up 3 weeks’ sick leave, with the pressure at Icelab building with each day.

For us, Campfire is the office. It’s a room with four walls (perhaps padded walls), it’s a place where we laugh, fume, share ideas and solve problems. If you aren’t in this room, you aren’t at work. Two days into my life with Icelab I realised how important this space was - that sharing inane GIFs, quotes and pictures of cats (and Ryan Gosling) helped us break the tension and get to know each other better. It exceeded the usual office chit chat by far. Work is a fun place to be, where everyone’s issues are transparent and everyone has the ability to chip in to help out.

If Campfire’s the office, Basecamp has to be the filing cabinet - a filing cabinet with features. Imagine the filing cabinet of doom, one that if toppled would crush you like a bug. It’s crammed full of projects in manila folders: their related discussions, emails, documents, images, to do lists and more. Only, this filing cabinet is not bursting at the seams, it’s just like the TARDIS, and it’s roomy in there. Everything is orderly, we all have access 24/7, and we can invite our client friends. I couldn’t live without it.

Then there’s Skype, for complex multichannel discussions or just a quick chat. It’s invaluable for teasing out issues and getting things sorted pronto. So we have all collaborative bases covered for remote working, whether you’re in Canberra, Tokyo, Melbourne or Utrecht.

Despite how some companies view remote working, I think the real benefits are self-evident. Let people who seriously want to work do so. Physical or geographical barriers needn’t hinder progress. We have the tools so let’s use them.

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