Dispatches from the dining room: 'Sorry, Dr. Masood, I can't hear anything!'

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04/07/2020

I had no sooner positioned my phone on the dining room table, speaker phone engaged and introduced myself to Dr. Sohail Masood of KabaFusion when the lawn guys showed up in all their noisy, machine-wielding glory.

I tried moving phone, laptop and Dr. Masood away from the racket—first to the living room couch, then, when that didn’t help, to the bedroom.

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you!” I apologized, more than once. I then had to interrupt him again to pop in earbuds while frantically typing notes into my laptop (which I am not good at in the best of circumstances). All while nervously monitoring the rising buzzsaw of lawn equipment as the lawn guys kept moving around my first-floor abode.

Then. A hammering on the front door, which I ignored, and then hammering again. The phone, the laptop, the earbuds and Dr. Masood accompanied me to the front door because the UPS guy insisted in getting my last name, despite my wild gesticulations through the glass door which clearly announced: “I’M ON A CALL!”

Fortunately, Dr. Masood (and I) had a sense of humor about the whole thing. Working at home presents challenges in the best of circumstances and the circumstances we currently find ourselves in are far from the best.

I’m fortunate I can work from home and I’m interested to see how working from home works out for companies that have either been reluctant to allow it, or have never implemented it so quickly or on such a large scale.

One provider who saw the writing on the wall is Gary Sheehan of Cape Medical Supply, which quickly ramped up WFH for 90% of its workforce. Technology-wise, the company had many of the components, such as online meeting software and chat functions, already in place. Employees scooped up desktop machines and monitors and set up remotely.

One key to success: Flexibility and trust, especially during a crisis, said Sheehan.

“We’re not auditing keystrokes or monitoring call queues,” he said. “I understand people have lives and there’s a lot going on.”

A lot, indeed.

Anticipating that HME providers may implement more WFH when things return to “normal,” we’ve enlisted Acu-Serve’s John Stalnaker to write a batch of Smart Talk columns on the topic. Look for it starting with the June edition.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and stay home if you can!