The Talking Cubicle

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Another interesting take on working remotely can be found at Smarterware’s post on Jonathan Wilson’s set-up – use Skype and VNC to create a “presence” in the office. In Jonathan’s words:

I still have my computer at work, in my office cube (right in the middle of things). I set up a webcam there along with speakers. I have second cam at home, and I simply Skype in to my own cube at work. Skype can be configured to auto-answer, if desired, so my ‘cube’ Skype simply picks up when I dial in … for hours at a time.

I also pipe my home desktop onto my cube’s monitor (using VNC). This combination is very close to actually being there in the cube. People walk right up to my cube and talk to me, just like they do when I’m in the office. Because my code’s up on the screen, we can work through issues there at my desk just like normal. Similarly, people glancing at my screen can see exactly what I’m doing (coding), so there’s never a question of whether I’m actually doing my work from home.

I can ‘overhear’ the dev conversations in the cubes around me (just like when I’m in the office), and even pipe in. My coworkers and managers are quite used to it and its become completely natural. After trying many different things, this is, by far, the best approach I’ve come across.

Jonathan works with very tech-savvy people (he is a software developer), so the warm-up period probably was shorter for his team than it would be in the average law firm or in-house counsel office. Nonetheless, it is a very interesting solution to the problem of collaborating with others over the distances. Cool work-around, Jonathan!

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