• Back at the office or school? Still working from home? Need to vent, or just connect with other planner and built environment types? Come join us!

    Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no social distancing or masks required.

Working ✍️ The down side of working from home

gtpeach

Cyburbian
Messages
2,256
Points
25
I work in a regional planning district. We had a request come in from a member of one of our transportation citizens' committees wanting to discuss something on our agenda that was outside the scope of what we do and were trying to figure out how to navigate it. The staff member who received the email sent it to me, I forwarded it to the appropriate local government staff and asked how they would like to handle it since it was more of a local issue. I said very little in the email to the staff person - just saying that it seemed like a local government issue and suggested having a phone call to discuss, but they just responded back to me with their thoughts. I went to send it to the staff member who received the initial request at the end of a virtual meeting we were all on so she could respond back, but I accidentally forwarded it back to the person who sent the original email making the request.

Of all the emails to forward, it wasn't the most terrible, but obviously it was an email that was sent amongst staff and was not appropriate as a response to the citizen. I didn't realize that had happened until several hours later when the staff person I had meant to send it to asked if I could forward it to her and I went back to verify that I already had.

I emailed the local government staff as soon as I realized what had happened explaining what happened and was very apologetic. The person who wrote the email initially had already responded to the local staff person whose email I forwarded, so understandably, this guy was very frustrated thinking I had not used any discretion and just shot off this email back and called it a day. While he wasn't thrilled, he seemed to understand and was willing to chalk it up to lessons learned about just being cautious about putting things in writing. He at least appreciated the explanation that I didn't intentionally send it out. He did say they went back and forth a few times and everything was fine, so at least it has an okay ending.

This is one of the things I don't like about working from home. I cannot get anyone on the phone, so everything is done by email, increasing the risks of these things happening.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,234
Points
55
Wait, why can't people phone each other?

I am sorry that happened to you.

When we were optional working from home or office, I ended up coming back to the office before I really wanted to because I was missing out on the conversations in the hallway about projects and things so it made things really hard - I wish we all were made to work from home
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,832
Points
45
I'm sorry that happened to you. I did something similar last month and got an email from the agency attorney.

I'm the records officer and don't create records if I can avoid it. I always ask for a phone call to discuss things so that I don't create another record.

Don't beat yourself up about it.

My biggest problem working from home is that I live where I work. I cleared out space in a bedroom for my desk so I can shut the door and not be reminded of it.
 

gtpeach

Cyburbian
Messages
2,256
Points
25
Wait, why can't people phone each other?

I am sorry that happened to you.

When we were optional working from home or office, I ended up coming back to the office before I really wanted to because I was missing out on the conversations in the hallway about projects and things so it made things really hard - I wish we all were made to work from home
The only phone number I have is for people's offices, and most people don't have their phones forwarded.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
29,916
Points
73
Phone call definitely beat email for convenience. I make phone calls from home when I have to from my cell phone but use the *67 prefix so my number doesn't show. It reads 'private call' on the recipient's caller ID and some won't answer those kind of calls but I'd estimate 75% do.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,832
Points
45
Phone call definitely beat email for convenience. I make phone calls from home when I have to from my cell phone but use the *67 prefix so my number doesn't show. It reads 'private call' on the recipient's caller ID and some won't answer those kind of calls but I'd estimate 75% do.
I use *67, too. I try to tell them they'll be getting a call from a private line.

I joke that I'm not calling about their extended car warranty, but I'm sure some wish I did.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,234
Points
55
Well, I think if people are doing wfh then their phone number has to be made available, right? That seems crazy
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,832
Points
45
Well, I think if people are doing wfh then their phone number has to be made available, right? That seems crazy
No. Just no. That means I'd get after hour calls about work from people I don't have to talk to after work.

I don’t have my work number forwarded to my phone. I can listen to voicemail and return calls from my blocked number. I can call people from my blocked number. I make it work.

We get a small phone stipend. I don't take it because i don't want any part of my phone contracted to work. If I can get a cheap phone and plan, I may put the stipend toward one.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,234
Points
55
No. Just no. That means I'd get after hour calls about work from people I don't have to talk to after work.

I don’t have my work number forwarded to my phone. I can listen to voicemail and return calls from my blocked number. I can call people from my blocked number. I make it work.

We get a small phone stipend. I don't take it because i don't want any part of my phone contracted to work. If I can get a cheap phone and plan, I may put the stipend toward one.

True but it just seems difficult to work from home without a phone - I gave out my cell and when I went back to work, I stopped answering my cell when a work call came in -
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,260
Points
35
I have my work phone forwarded to my cell. So when they call, my caller ID says my company name. That way, I know it's a work call.

I do not give out my personal cell number. It's mine. It's not work - it's personal. So when I have to make a work call using my personal phone because we are WFH, I block what I can.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
862
Points
33
I grabbed a free Google Voice number, added it to my email signature, and put the Voice app on my phone. I can call people using the Voice number from my laptop when WFH. My message on my office phone directs people to call my voice number if they can't get me. Nobody gets the personal cell and Voice is only set to ring on my cell during office hours.

I operate on the premise that anybody can ask for and receive my entire work email inbox and outbox any time they want to. So far, my mistakes are usually limited to replying to one person when I should have replied to all.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
10,133
Points
45
When I have to work from home, I actually can take my office VOIP phone, connect it to my router at home, and have my office phone line just as if I was in the office.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,422
Points
60
When I have to work from home, I actually can take my office VOIP phone, connect it to my router at home, and have my office phone line just as if I was in the office.
I have an employer issued cellphone for remote use.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,820
Points
47
Our voice mail also creates an email, so if I get a call at the office, I immediately get an email after the caller hangs up, with a link to the voice mail. I do have to use my personal cell phone to call them back however. I'm not thrilled about that last part.
 

estromberg

Cyburbian
Messages
294
Points
11
I grabbed a free Google Voice number, added it to my email signature, and put the Voice app on my phone. I can call people using the Voice number from my laptop when WFH. My message on my office phone directs people to call my voice number if they can't get me. Nobody gets the personal cell and Voice is only set to ring on my cell during office hours.

I operate on the premise that anybody can ask for and receive my entire work email inbox and outbox any time they want to. So far, my mistakes are usually limited to replying to one person when I should have replied to all.

This is the correct answer if not using a VOIP software phone through work.
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,742
Points
35
I have my work phone forwarded to my cell. So when they call, my caller ID says my company name. That way, I know it's a work call.

I do not give out my personal cell number. It's mine. It's not work - it's personal. So when I have to make a work call using my personal phone because we are WFH, I block what I can.
I had this very issue. At first I was giving out our home phone (we don't use it, but have it for emergencies since we have kids). It kinda got bad when people would call at like 6 or 7 in the evening and I would answer. I stopped doing that and gave my personal phone number out (bad move), and did that for like 2 months.
I grabbed a free Google Voice number, added it to my email signature, and put the Voice app on my phone. I can call people using the Voice number from my laptop when WFH. My message on my office phone directs people to call my voice number if they can't get me. Nobody gets the personal cell and Voice is only set to ring on my cell during office hours.

I operate on the premise that anybody can ask for and receive my entire work email inbox and outbox any time they want to. So far, my mistakes are usually limited to replying to one person when I should have replied to all.
Should have done all this above.. would have been way easier.

With that said, our organization has an antiquated phone system that is not VIOP. I was part of a test group that our IT department had that used microsoft teams assigned phone numbers. Total Game changer. Using teams on my phone or computer I can answer phone calls that are forwarded from my old line. Eventually on my personal phone I used a setting to eliminate the work calls by letting all non contact calls go strait to voice mail. We will be migrating all city staff to this system this spring, however, I still feel that my employer should provide a certain siphon for me to use my personal device as an office phone.
 
Top