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Show Notes

Work from home: This week on Track Changes, Paul and Rich chat with Postlight’s Head of Engineering, Jeremy Mack, about ways to improve your remote work setup. From basic tips like getting dressed in the morning and using wired headphones to tips on how to navigate remote meetings, Jeremy shares the best practices he’s developed after six years of working remotely. He also gives us some examples of nonverbal cues to show others that you’re busy, and ways to unwind after a day working from home. 

Transcript

Paul Ford Alright, Bulbasaur. Start with Bulbasaur—

Jeremy Mack Yeah, yeah. 

PF Ohh, those cards.

JM Yup, Bulbasaur evolves if you give him a Leaf Stone and no—[hosts laugh, music plays alone for 18 seconds, ramps down].

PF Hey, Rich? 

Rich Ziade Yo! 

PF It’s Friday, we’re here in the office. 

RZ We are. It’s a little quiet. 

PF And I don’t think we’re comin’ in again for a while. 

RZ That might be true. That might be true. 

PF So Postlight, as policy, we’ve been advising with the coronavirus that [music fades out] they—we have been encouraging people to stay home. And we’ve been in once or twice to just kind of deal with stuff but now it’s gettin’ real. 

RZ I’m takin’ my laptop home. 

PF Yeah, me too. It’s time we’ve—you know, at some level it was time a couple of days ago. And they’re gonna close the schools pretty soon and [yeah] we’ve gotta button everything down. So we just had a big meeting and we talked about this with everybody, letting them know that things are good and stable, and we’re gonna keep it rolling but—

RZ We’re in New York City, for those that don’t know. 

PF Yeah, we’re in New York City and we have a team in Lebanon. And we also have always had a lot of remote employees. 

RZ In ten different states. 

PF That’s right, that’s right. So, international and domestic, and so on. And the engineering is the remote-friendly part of this organization. 

RZ Yes. That’s true, that’s true. 

[1:23]

PF And so for the first time, all of Postlight is going remote. 

RZ Yeah! 

PF And all—many of our clients and all sorts of things. 

RZ And I gotta say: as a founder of the company, I just wake up saying, “Does it exist?!?” 

PF Yeah, I know, it’s hard for us [Rich laughing], we like the physical, right? 

RZ We do. It’s a thing. It’s a place. And even though some of our best talent—our Head of Engineering, in fact, is not even in New York City. 

PF So, we are very lucky to be joined by our Head of Engineering, Jeremy Mack. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF You know how many fingers I have, Rich? 

RZ Ten. 

PF Thank God [chuckling], I’m very lucky. 

RZ Oh you’re takin’ me towards a listicle, aren’t you? 

PF Oh, that’s how many tips we have time for today. 

RZ Ten tips to work great remotely. 

PF No, we asked Jeremy to prioritize. Jeremy, what—what do people need to know? What’s number one? 

JM Yeah, well, I mean, let me, first—let me introduce myself quickly. So, I’ve been remote for over six years. And now I’m a thought leader because I was remote before it was popular and required. And so I had to learn to love remote work over those six years. I knew I wanted to do it but I didn’t know what it was going to be like. It turns out that being good at remote work is like having a hobby that you wanna get really good at. You learn a bunch of little tricks as we’re gonna go through in a second here, but then it’s also like that hobby just became a national obsession. And suddenly I get to tell everyone about my Pokemon cards. And they’re gonna listen. So, it’s a really exciting time and it’s a privilege to be able to share this hobby of mine that has become so important. 

[2:53]

RZ Number one! 

JM So, number one tip for remote working is get used to interrupting. It is something that you wouldn’t normally wanna do in a social setting but it is a requirement that you feel like you’re interrupting normally to speak up on a call that has more than one other person on it when you’re doing a remote call. The latency and the lack of body language means you will have to physically feel the feeling of interrupting someone, kind of that almost cold sweat feeling of like, “I gotta jump in and correct this person,” but instead you’re just wanting to make a point. And you gotta be comfortable interrupting. And so I have a little tip for how you can do a better job at interrupting and get your point in and develop what I’d like to call ‘remote mumble’, it’s something that you do that let’s other people know that you’re about to try to speak. People at Postlight will know that when I’m on calls they’ll often hear me use the word, “So, so, so—” Like that and it’s me trying to let them know I’m about ready to speak and then I can start in on my point. If you just treat a remote call like it’s a meeting where you can just start right in to your carefully thought through point, they’ll only hear the last few words of what you were trying to say. It’s important to get everyone’s attention before you speak. It’s a new—new thing for a lot of people to have to kind of own the room for a moment. It’s a little bit frightening but once you get over it you’ll realize that it’s the only effective way to communicate on remote video calls or audio calls. You have to really kinda stop the room for a second to get to say your point and then let the meeting continue. 

PF Ok, so, “Right, right, right, ok.” And then I’m in there. 

RZ You gotta get in. 

PF Yeah. 

JM Yeah. 

PF Ok, so—but you can’t just jump in. 

JM No. No, you can’t just jump in. If you just jump in—the problem with the way that audio gets transmitted over the internet is your first few words will be garbled. 

PF [Crosstalking] Right, right, right. 

JM They’re just—

PF Yeah, yeah, no, no. See and now I can get in there! I can cut you right off! That’s beautiful!

JM There you go! 

[4:43]

PF Oh, this is good. Alright, what’s number two? 

JM Alright, number two is turn off your video is it’s distracting. A lot of people will say having video is important, it’s ok if your video is stuttery, just to have a picture of you there is comforting to the other person. That’s not true. Having stuttery video will make people think less of you. They will think that you are not hearing them. And so having video when it is not good is a very great way to get excluded from a conversation. You want others to feel like you’re there and listening, as they would if you were there in real life looking at them. And so one of the things you sometimes have to do is turn off your video. Now you do need an avatar in these video conferencing solutions to represent you. So if it is a service like Google Meet, or Zoom where you can put an avatar in, go ahead and do that so that when you are video off, people can still tell who it is that’s talking. It’s just one of those things, once you do it you’ll really start to feel how people are taking you more seriously, even if your video is off. It’s better if you have bad video. Another thing is if you need to reach for something, if you have to talk to somebody off camera, if you need to take a bite of your protein bar, you wanna do that with the video off. Turning video off even for a split second on a meeting actually most people will chalk it up to their internet being bad, and they won’t even question why your video just went off for five seconds. And that can be an opportunity for you to do something that otherwise would’ve brought the meeting to a halt and everyone would’ve said, “What’s goin’ on? Are you talking? You’re muted.” You know, “What’s that you’re eating there? It looks really interesting.” Fun conversations, it’s good to a certain degree but otherwise can end up really derailing meetings when seven people are experiencing funny little video moments. 

RZ Solid! 

PF Yeah. 

RZ We’re two for two. Number three. 

JM Number three: this one’s more common. Everyone’s heard this but you need headphones. The other thing you need is wired headphones. Sadly, in 2020, our computers are still terrible at dealing with devices being connected and disconnected. And so if your Bluetooth headphones die on a call, sometimes that means you gotta refresh the video conferencing app. Sometimes that means you have to refresh your entire computer by rebooting it, and that is not a great experience for those that are waiting for you to come back to the call. Airpods are really convenient but they are also very much not at the battery life required for a set of remote calls that might happen in a day. Thankfully, if you’re on Apple devices, they have not yet removed the headphone jack from your computer, so you can still plug in a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack into that and you’ll be able to talk and listen through that port. 

RZ Worth noting: along with this podcast we’re gonna share links to products that we think are great. Frankly, it’s just J Mack giving us a list of products that you should go buy. 

[7:27]

PF The Postcutter. 

RZ Postcutter. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ I like that. I think I like it. That’s a play on Wirecutter, for those that don’t know. Alright! Keep on rollin’, man! These are great! Number four. 

JM Yeah! Number four. I’m gonna get into some weird ones here but they are the fun ones that maybe you might end up needing to try if you’re at home for a while. So, if you have a spouse or a roommate or somebody at home, it’s really nice to have nonverbal cues when you are busy, so that the other person doesn’t try to interact with you and then you create a little bit of drama in the middle of your workday and you’ve got to unwind that at the end of your workday. After doing this for six years—

PF This is real. I worked from home yesterday. I had four fights with my wife before 9am. 

JM Yeah. 

PF So—so, help me fix that. Fix my marriage, J Mack. 

JM It actually all comes down to your smart home. You really—you need a smart home. Now, you don’t have to do it this way, but this is the way I do it and after six years the way I do some things is gonna—it looks a little bit strange because it has evolved from something that was very basic originally of just having a little sign on the door all the way now to there are two lights in our kitchen. The left light is my spouse and the right light is me. If the light is on, that means the person is focusing and that you probably shouldn’t go try to interrupt them right then because they’re either on a call or they are from my example, writing a lot of code. It is not too hard to set these things up and it is even possible, if you really wanted to go the full extent of what’s possible right now, you could even integrate this with your calendar. If you are feeling particularly bored and you’re at home and stir crazy, go sign up If This Then That and turn your smart home lights into an automatic calendar integration. 

RZ Wait a minute—

JM That would be possible. 

[9:03]

PF This is great. I have a Philips Hue and I don’t have a good application for it. It just kinda glows pink. 

RZ Dude, you know what I’m gonna do? 

PF What? 

RZ I’m gonna go get the rolling halal meat truck LED sign [Paul makes ‘ah’ sound in admiration] and just let it roll. 

PF Your wife is gonna appreciate that so much when you bring that home. 

RZ Yeah! Gyros. [Laughing] “When I’m busy!” 

PF [Rich laughing] Just, “Burgers! Burgers! Burgers!” 

RZ Interesting. Good advice! You know what’s funny here is that you’re preempting the conflict. 

JM Mm hmm. 

RZ You’re sort of saying, “Here’s sort of the protocol we’re gonna use, don’t—”

PF Right cuz it’s normal human behavior to see a person and be like, “Hey, what’s going on?” 

RZ You feel really blown off. You feel blown—you feel like [sighs], “Oh—you’re really that important?! That busy!” It’s not even that. It’s not that you’re not important, it’s that your head’s in a certain place. 


PF Yeah, you know what my wife did yesterday? She came in and just kinda sat there and watched me for a while while I was working and then she went, “Hey.” [Rich chuckles] And I’m like, “Ahh, this isn’t gonna be good like two weeks from now. It’s ok today.” 

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah, right. Ok, so—

JM It’s like—it’s akin to the recording light in a studio, by the way, it’s just like that. 

RZ Yeah, sure. And these—I mean they’re down to 15, 20 bucks. You can get a smart like outlet. 

[10:11]

PF They’re—I mean, you could also get a piece of paper. I mean there’s a million ways to do this. 

RZ Fair enough. But yeah, spend a little money though. The economy could use the help. Get a damned WiFi lightbulb. 

PF You can get a WiFi printer and just run like, “Leave me alone,” just print that out. 

RZ Again and again. 

PF Just again and again. 

RZ Ok. 

PF Alright, go ahead, go ahead. 

RZ Number five! 

JM Number five. So I’m gonna keep it right in the same vein—is you can share your work calendar with your spouse or roommate or whatever you need to do so that you know when you’re busy preemptively. This is kind of like a 4.1 really. It’s an easy thing to do with most calendaring services and once they get used to seeing your work calendar, they can plan their days around it. What if they wanna have lunch with you that day but then they see that you have a meeting scheduled over lunch? It’s a lot nicer that they can plan their own day around your schedule preemptively versus you having to like coordinate every day because I’ll tell you after doing it for six years, you do not wanna be in a position of having to try to say, “Every day, at 11:30, we’re gonna have lunch,” and it doesn’t work out that way. You really wanna have something akin to a calendar that you’re sharing. 

RZ And I think this could be tricky for some people because work calendars are a lot of times really—like, we use Google apps for everything but there are work calendars that don’t make their way out but oftentimes you can at least show busy. Like you [yes] might not get the details of the meeting. 

PF Also, just your spouse doesn’t care who you’re meeting with. 

RZ No, they just wanna know that you’re not available. 

PF Yeah or if they see that, it’s often not the biggest deal in the world. 

RZ Yeah, right. 

[11:31]

PF Alright, number six!

JM Alright, number six is one for Mac users out there. Sadly, there’s not a great answer for Windows. I’m sure that there are some options that are functional but it is a tool called Shush. So, this is an app that sits in your menu bar in the Mac and it gives you a key on your keyboard that becomes your push to talk key and that is a transformative experience [Rich gasps] for group conversations. 

RZ I need this! 

PF Oh so it turns your Mac into a very fancy walkie talkie. 

JM Exactly. And it makes a little pop noise so that you know it’s on. And I also liken it to those webcams covers that have become so popular, it’s the same thing but for the audio coming into your computer. No longer can any app on your Mac record your audio. You have to press a key because it’s system wide

RZ Dude, that’s huge!!

PF No, but this is why when we talk to J Mack he’s always muted unless he’s talking. 

RZ I was just about to say, I’ve al—I keep seeing his thing popping up and like it’s mute on and off. 

PF We’re thinking about it backwards: muting is his natural state. 

RZ Yup. 

PF Uhhh [ascending tone] damnit! 

JM Yeah, yeah. 

RZ Brilliant! What’s this called Shush? 

JM Shush and you just google, yup, Shush app—we’ll have it in the link. 

RZ I assure you there are 85 Windows apps that do exactly [laughing] the same. 

PF Imagine—They’re all called, like V-Shush [Rich laughs]. Imagine if we’d been paying attention all this time. We could’ve learned this like [Rich laughs] two years ago. Alright, so Shushhhhh. 

RZ Very cool. Number seven. 

[12:53]

JM So another thing from dealing with spouses—and this one’s an interesting one—is you do still kinda need your commute home. You get used to the commute home and you think it’s actually a thing that you don’t need.  You’d love to not have to commute to work and that’s a great benefit of remote work is you don’t have to commute but you still need that mental commute home. And the idea is, is once your workday is done or you just finished a long series of meetings. If you just walk out into a common area and run into a roommate or a spouse, you may not be the most friendly person to interact with because you’re still thinking about your day. You’re still dealing with that last big issue that came up. So I would highly recommend to give yourself a commute home. Meaning, you might just sit at your computer a little longer doing something that looks like work, if it helps you justify the fact that you’re commuting cuz some people would feel weird if they just sat in the room and read a book for a half an hour with their spouse or roommate might notice that and just feel like it’s a time to talk to you. So, grab an article or a book that you might wanna read and just put it up and look at it for 15 minutes, and then you can come into the common area of your home feeling refreshed and ready to engage with this person about how their day working remotely probably went for them. It’s definitely something that we need, that context switch between work and not work, especially when remote work is new to you, is a gigantic switch. 

RZ This is a great tip. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ This is actually real. 

PF Go for a walk around the block. 

RZ Especially for people who are doing things where you fall deep into a problem, it could be coding or solving a design issue, or depending on what the job is. Also, coming out of stress, usually if you are in a stressful state, once it ends it doesn’t really end. It sort of needs a minute to cool off. It could still burn your hand. And that takes time. That takes a little bit of time. 

PF J Mack what do you do during your commute?

JM During my commute I often read—oh gosh, it’s so nerdy but I do read manuals for programming languages. Like, right now I’m learning the Rust programming language, so I read like another chapter of the Rust programming language. 

[14:45]

PF This is not—I mean I read—I’m reading the PostgreSQL—it’s a 2,000 page manual and when I’m on the bus that’s how I kind of unwind. 

JM Yeah. 

PF Get a little more SQL into my life. 

JM Those technical manuals can be really a nice thing to go to because it’s endless content, it’s like a feed. It’s just a sequence of chapters and it isn’t going to have things about public—you know, news and events going on in it. It’s just—it is a nice way to not be wound up after—

PF That’s true—

RZ Also, technical manuals don’t yell at you and blame you for everything [laughs]. 

PF No, they don’t—it’s not literally thousands of people saying, “Boy, I can’t wait for death.” You know just like—yeah, so much better than social media. Pick a thing and read it. Alright, number eight. 

JM Having meetings remotely is gonna be new for you. And if you’ve not done this before—and one of the things you’ll find with remote meetings is that they can be a little bit tiring sometimes, if they’re not particularly applicable to you, you might find yourself drifting, getting distracted, wanting to chat on other services, or even feeling sleepy. In that case—I have done this for years, it’s been disconcerting to some, although I think they’ve accepted it over time—I take notes during my meetings, not necessarily to look at those notes later but to remember everything that is happening during that meeting, I sometimes need to write it down. And so taking notes combined with something like Shush so people don’t hear you typing because you’re muted is a great way to stay engaged in a meeting and really still listen to people, and I find it essential for—for, you know, getting through the hour-long meetings with five or six participants in them, and really listening to what everybody has to say versus just waiting until my part to talk. 

RZ It’s worth noting, just as an observer of how you handle meetings, you actually—you hear this interrupt tip. You don’t interrupt much. You actually hold it all off and then you oftentimes share your thoughts at the tail end which I think is really good and effective, it’s just it requires you to be a little more rigorous about the things you wanna say. I do this in pitches, actually. I’ll [mm hmm] put two words down that I wanna get back into the conversation later. 

PF [Crosstalking] I actually count on my fingers. I remember I have one point two, point three, point [yeah]. Like that. But no, this is true, as a veteran of meetings with J Mack, he’s very present even if he’s quiet. 

[16:53]

RZ Yeah, and then it all comes flooding out at the end. 

PF Yeah but I don’t—but I don’t see him getting distracted, I don’t see him going somewhere else in his head. He’s there. 

RZ Yeah. 

JM Yeah, and as a pro tip on this too—to add to the pro tip—the pro, pro tip here is put your notes right up by your webcam on your screen and then you’re looking at the webcam while you’re typing and it makes it look like you’re really paying attention to someone. And it’s a nice, good feeling for them too. 

PF Oh, that’s a good idea. Yeah, share that output. 

RZ Yup. 

PF Alright, where are we at? We’re at nine? 

RZ Nine!

JM Nine! Alright—

RZ This is gold, man! 

PF This is good stuff. 

JM Yeah, this one’s more of a—It’s also kind of one of those things that’s been made fun of in remote work for years is that remote workers don’t need to get stressed or wear pants or whatever. It’s been a funny joke. I actually find that it is a bad thing for me to not get dressed. I really feel like I need to have that mental switch of getting dressed into work clothes, and I’m not talking, you know, incredibly formal work clothing but still putting on my work clothes and sitting at my desk I feel more engaged with work. There are non-verbal cues that your body I think even takes in these situations to tell like, “I’m at work right now,” and then maybe later in the day I’ll switch clothes, you know, for the evening or something, and that actually helps me feel like I went to work and I can focus. And so I highly recommend getting [chuckles] dressed fully for your work day. 

RZ For yourself. You’re talking about not for appearance sake. 

JM Yeah. 

RZ This is just mentally—

PF But also—I mean we present to clients—[stammers

[18:16]

RZ Yeah, yeah. 

PF Some of them I know are just like, “I’m paying money to Postlight and here’s this guy somewhere. What’s going on?” 

RZ Yup, true. 

PF When they’re meeting people—And our remote employees—

RZ In a snarky t-shirt. Yeah, yeah. 

PF No, our remote employees present very professionally because that—and I do think that helps people get used to the concept of remote work [yeah] much more quickly than it’s like, “Oh, he’s just in his t-shirt. He’s some weird—you know, nerdy dude who—I guess that’s what they got.” 

RZ Yeah. 

PF Alright, number ten. 

RZ Ten! 

PF We’re here. 

JM Alright, number ten. Number ten’s a funny one, and it’s more of a mental health one but, so, if you are used to working in an office, you’re used to having a background scene of other people often cuz a lot of us work in open plan offices, Postlight included—of people walkin’ around and talkin’ to one another, goin’ to the lunch area. And when you’re at home you’re missing all of that and it can feel a little isolated and so a tip here is—of course work near a window if you have one, that’s great. But sometimes we’re in small spaces and we might be using a closet, for example, to have a separate space for our work. And so in those cases, I recommend something that I did years and years ago when I worked in a class flight environment, and had to be inside of a vault, which is running a nature documentary [chuckles] on repeat on another screen. It’s sort of a dystopian thing if you think too much about it but having something that represents [Rich laughs] nature [chuckles] sitting on your table, there looping, is really nice. Now that—that’s ten years ago approach, now we’ve got live streams and we’ve got endless content online you can watch. If you’re not in a moment where you need heavy mental focus, put on a podcast, put on a video, have ambient music playing. Don’t feel like just cuz you’re sitting at your computer, like you would at an office, now it’s focus time, you can’t have any distractions, having a few distractions is a part of a productive workday. And it should be something that you optimize for in your home life so that you do feel a little bit less, you know, nose to the grindstone in this time. 

[20:10]

RZ I—I—feel like I’m—I’m never coming back to the office. 

PF Well I’m a little worried that I’m just gonna be looking over and seeing, you know, polar bears just rip seals into pieces while I’m—

RZ Well, you know what’s good? The screensaver on Apple TV are these—

PF Oh that thing is nice. 

JM Yes! 

RZ—beautiful flyovers. Have you ever seen these things? 

PF Those are so good. 

RZ And someone hacked ‘em so you can actually make them your Mac screensaver. 

PF Mm! Cuz you know what else is good? There’s this thing in I think it’s Sweden or one of the very cold Nordic countries where they’ve been doing slow TV. And it’s on Netflix, it’s like a whole train ride, like eight hours long. Just from the front of the train. 

RZ It’s on Netflix? 

PF Yeah. And there’s also—there’s one that is like a fairy ride, it’s like a hundred hours long—

RZ Yeah, these are all over YouTube. You’re just watching—

PF Just let the train go. 

RZ—life go by. Yeah. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ This is great. J Mack, these are all wonderful, wonderful tips. I’m gonna add one, a bonus one, Paul, and it’s not much of a tip: take a break every once in a while. A lot of times—and I learned this from the problem-solving process and sometimes it’s in the context of law or thinking about how a design’s gonna work and a product or whatever. I gotta get away from it. Sometimes I gotta get away from it. Staring at the problem oftentimes you find yourself losing more and more perspective every second. So, it’s also just healthy to do that. We didn’t get into ergonomics. J Mack, you have opinions there. Very strong ones—

JM Mm hmm. 

[21:29]

RZ—in fact. But think about how your body is positioned for extended periods of time. Those are all good—

PF Are we gonna be droppin’ and doin’ pushups while we’re remote? 

RZ I gotta tell you, I don’t know if you know this my upper body didn’t come out like this for free. 

PF No, it didn’t, you paid quite a bit of money for that [Rich and Jeremy laugh] upper body. 

RZ Being active even in very mild ways is huge. I have a personal trainer—this is gonna sound obnoxious but I’m always like, “C’mon, man! I didn’t sweat that hard today.” He goes, “That’s not how this—that’s not gonna do it for you.” It’s like you don’t need to do that. 

PF You need to live every day here. 

RZ Not just that! It’s just—he’s like, “Your body’s not gonna respond in a positive way if you think you destroy it. That doesn’t really work like that.” So the little things you do—if you take a minute and do ten sit-ups, it is not nothin’! Believe it or not. 

PF No, squats are good too. 

RZ Squats are great, yeah. 

PF You can turn your whole day around with like 20 or 30 squats. 

JM Yeah there’s a lot of bodyweight exercises you can do at home, for sure. It’s something we could definitely cover more in the future. 

RZ Yeah, we should share some links there. Do they have squatting standing desks that go up and down with you so you could just do that all day? 

[22:29]

JM They have treadmill desks that you can walk at—

RZ I’ve seen that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, very cool. 

JM—while you’re—yeah,  yeah. 

PF And the bench press desks where you just continually lift it—

RZ Life the whole desk. This was great. J Mack, these are really insightful tips, and it’s not your usual download these killer apps kinds of tips. 

PF Yup. 

RZ We’re gonna share links to everything—

PF That’s right because some of this content we’ve sort of prepped the company. 

RZ Yes. 

PF And it actually goes into more detail about the kind of things—I mean, what are we doing? We are helping people buy some equipment and—

RZ Yup. 

PF You know. But yeah, this was incredibly helpful. 

JM A lot of these tips are the distillation of the remote culture that we’ve had here at Postlight from the very beginning. So I’ve worked with many fantastic people over the years that have been fully remote at Postlight who have helped inform a lot of how we run remote at Postlight. When you start at Postlight, you get a crash course in this, when you’re new to this. Shush being one of the first things you’re told to download on your computer. This is something that isn’t just me, it’s a hobby I’m very interested in but it’s something that many, many people at Postlight have contributed to over the years, and it’s a body of knowledge that now is very, very helpful, but I’m very thankful to all those that have, along the way, helped us build a really good culture at Postlight for remote workers. 

PF Well and it’s—it’s coming out to the entire company now. It’s always been part of our DNA and now we’re relying on it. 

RZ Yup, yup. 

PF It’s great. It’s great. So thank you. Thank you for coming on. We’re obviously gonna talk to you again more. 

JM That’s fantastic. 

[23:49]

PF Soon Rich and I are gonna go home and sit in front of our workstations. 

RZ [Laughs] Alright, thanks, J Mack. 

PF Thanks, J Mack. 

JM Yeah! Bye. 

PF So, I mean, here we go, Rich. 

RZ Packin’ the laptop!

PF Gettin’ it all set up. You know [chuckles], I needed to get my frickin’ USB-C. I needed to get that adapter that—

RZ Of course you do! 

PF [Laughing] You can’t plug anything in to your Mac—

RZ USB-C. 

PF—to your Mac anymore. 

RZ I’m convinced that the drug cartels saw that it was the end of the road and just moved over to USB-C—

PF It absolutely makes sense. It’s the only thing that does make sense. So we just had an all-hands right before we recorded this podcast . . .  with the whole company. There’s only about six people in the office, and about 60 not. 

RZ That fits like 50, yeah. 

PF Yeah, I know, exactly. 

RZ 40, 50, yeah. 

PF So it feels weird around here and we’re trying to get a good blend. I mean, you know, we’re worried about making sure that people—you know, if their kids are gonna be home, which is very likely, like, you know, can we pay for babysitters and for childcare? We’re chilling out about PTL and just sort of like if people need to take time, they can take time. 

RZ Yup. 

[24:52]

PF So there’s a lot of that stuff going on but what I’m seeing that’s really important—we set up a Coronavirus channel in Slack and the reason [yeah] we did that is so that people can just go and have there—like their Coronavirus time in that channel. 

RZ Yeah, cuz it was seeping into all the other channels. 

PF Every single channel [music fades in] was like, “Oh and Coronavirus.” 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And that’s very normal but [yeah] you know, we wanna give people the ability to get back to normal. There’s only really—there’s like 20 minutes of news in a day. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And it’s just repeated. 

RZ Yeah. With little variations. 

PF Like 70 times a day. 

RZ Over and over, yeah—

PF Oh and then people on social are like—

RZ You could easily fall into that news hole—

PF We’re all doing it. 

RZ—and not come out. Yeah. 

PF We’re all doing it. Everybody’s anxious. Everybody is getting a little bit—like people are a little on edge. There’s a little more snapping and tension in the office. 

RZ Yeah, yeah. 

PF And so, you know, just the good principle, I think, and for everybody who’s listening to this, like, you know, apologize readily and forgive very easily. 

RZ Mm. 

PF It is everybody’s a little wired up. Your manager is. And they’re hearing from five people about things that are going wrong in those five peoples’ lives and tensions they have and they might snap or they might—or your peer might be like, “Where the hell is it?” Just forgive. We’re gonna have—


RZ Good advice. 

PF We’re gonna have—we’re gonna have a couple of weeks here. 

RZ Yup. Absolutely. 

PF And we’re—Then we’ll get through. 

RZ Yup, we hope you found this useful. Be safe out there; take care of yourselves; and we’ll see you next week. 

PF Stay positive! 

RZ Take care. 

PF Bye! [Music ramps up, plays alone for three seconds, fades out to end.]