Cloudflare TV

Home Office TV

Presented by Amy Bibeau, Nick Wondra
Originally aired on 

Join Amy as she provides you with a sneak peek into how the Cloudflare Team has been doing with the transition from daily office life to working from home. How is the team adapting to the shift? What do they miss and not miss about office life? What snacks are they eating? How has it been sharing a workspace with family or housemates? Tune in to find out!


Transcript (Beta)

Well, I think we should be live. So good morning and welcome to another episode of Cloudflare Home Office TV.

I'm Amy Bibeau and today I have Nick Wondra joining me from our Champaign office.

Hi, Nick. Hi, how are you Good. How are you I'm doing pretty well today.

It's a beautiful sunny day blue skies here in Champaign looking out at my backyard.

I can see just the corner of my garden from here. It's a nice, nice setting to be be sitting and talking to you.

Great. Yeah, so you're doing your home office life.

Yeah, how's it been going You know, when, when, when, when, when folks asked me this question, I like to kind of answer into like the like macro and micro like and, you know, the big picture sense like, like, I'm doing pretty well and like my got a really great, you know, set up here.

I was very fortunate that we've got a You know, a spare bedroom that I've converted into my office.

And so I've, you know, I've got a door. I can close and kind of just be, you know, my dedicated space for for for work, which is great.

And, you know, Fortunate to have a job and work that I can do remotely and make that work.

So yeah, the macro sense doing great, you know, in the micro sense.

I think I'm doing pretty well today to yeah I got good night's sleep and You know, it's not always the case with with the young kids and that sort of thing.

So, so yeah, I'm pretty well today. That's awesome.

So yeah, we were discussing before we before we went live. You have two kids.

So you're working from home to children and 18 months. Yeah, my, my youngest is 18 months and my my older is six.

He actually just turned six on Sunday.

So we had a, we had a birthday party for him here and that sort of thing. And, you know, got on zoom calls and stuff with his friends and saying, Hey, happy birthday to him and that sort of thing.

How is your six year old doing with Social distancing Yeah, it's, you know, I think, I don't know if this is true of all five six year olds, but like it's it's sort of, you know, he's, he's at an age where he definitely understands what's what's going on and he, you know, he asks this question.

Sometimes, like, well, when When coronavirus is over. Can we go to the zoo or whatever, you know, that that sort of stuff.

So he kind of gets it but But yeah, I think, you know, we've It's, it's, it's hard for him to not have, you know, run around time with his friends and, you know, being able to, you know, see all his, you know, friends at school and and and and just go out and run around to the park with with, you know, other five and six year olds and do what they need to do, but he's also pretty You know, happy to just hang out at home with with with me and his mom and you know he likes to play games with us and he's great with with our 18 month old as well and they find find ways to keep each other entertained.

So yeah, you know, it's, it'll be interesting kind of Years from now, seeing what he remembers of this time and but but yeah, I think, I think he's doing he's doing pretty well.

And school starting for your district remotely. Remotely Yeah, in a week or two here.

Yeah, we're so we'll be we'll be doing he's my son is in first grade.

And so The, the first grade class will be You know, half of a day with, you know, the rest of the class over over zoom and doing kind of like the live instruction there and then the other half of the day will be You know, homework and you know stuff that his parents and his parents will will help him, you know, work through and curriculum and stuff like that.

So Yeah, it's an interesting challenge.

I mean, one thing that's that's really great. Actually, I found, you know, we we ended his kindergarten school year You know, working from home and and not going into into school and My mornings are so much more relaxed, not having to, like, you know, get him up super early and get out the door and drive off to school.

And so it's, you know, there's It's, it's been nice to enjoy that.

And I think we'll be able to continue that this school year too.

So there's, you know, there's benefits to being at home and not having to get up and get out the door and Like the traffic and all that sort of thing, too.

Yeah, that's a positive. I mean, especially when you have the luxury slash privilege slash opportunity, you know, to be able to be employed from home.

You know, absolutely. For the parents out there in the world for numerous, you know, who have children and they have to go to work and, you know, have daycare issues.

I'm definitely concerned about about those mamas and papas.

So, and then you have a garden. Right, I do. Yeah. Have you increased the size of your garden this year or is it about the same as it always is.

The size is about the same, but, but I've been able to give it a lot more attention than usual.

Yeah, so, so, so most of the plants out there are doing, doing pretty well this year.

And I, you know, I've One of the things that I really like about our house and where the garden is we we've got a like a walking path that kind of goes between our house and the house next door and that side of the Of the house is the south facing side that gets all the sun.

So that's my my garden is And it's great because I'll be out there in the garden and just like neighbors will walk by on the path and stop and chat.

So it's like for me, it's, it's a kind of a fun like That's a very my job is like in front of a screen.

And so it's a very like tactile like get out in the world, use my hands, but also a social thing, right, I get to get to share you know what's going on in my garden with my neighbors and and you know share gardening tips and that sort of thing.

So Tomatoes. Oh, exactly.

Yeah. My plants are going crazy. Exactly. That's awesome. So speaking of like social outlets and that kind of context.

How has it been for you to stay in connection like with your teammates.

Who are in different. I mean, you're, you're already in champagne.

So you're already in one of our remote offices, you know, like a bit Far removed from, you know, from like the headquarters.

Yeah. Oh, there's no travel. Yeah. And you can't go in the office. How has it been staying in contact with everyone and getting work done and Staying.

Yeah, well, the biggest change was really will like internal to to my team because the, you know, so I'm an engineering manager and manager, a team of engineers and we We were all we are all based in in our champagne office.

And so for for the team that went from seeing your, you know, your teammates in the office every day to now being fully remote But for the rest of the company, you know, we, we were always remote.

So, so actually I found that to be easier in a lot of ways because it's, you know, with everyone being distant, you have Sort of a level playing field, a lot more empathy for, you know, making sure that You know, people get invited to conversations.

It's actually pretty challenging. Sometimes if you're the If you're dialing into a conference that's happening in a conference room and you're the only one remote the sort of social interactions that happen and The sort of social cues around like is that person done talking.

Can I speak up now, you know, it can be somewhat excluding, you know, being on the only one on the screen.

When everyone else's in the room. And so this sort of like equalizes the playing field, a little bit and, you know, gives everyone the same sort of context and the same challenges around like figuring out how do we Have a productive conversation here.

So I think that that's, that's a good, you know, for my, for my team.

I think we're, we're really fortunate that we We have, you know, we put a, you know, not a lot of focus, but like the right amount of focus on developing, you know, good processes around how we collaborate with each other that actually translated really well from The in office to remote like we in our office, we have, you know, we have our daily stand up where we all get together and kind of coordinate on what are we working on today.

Especially if there are things that are going to, you know, conflict like two people are making changes to the same piece of code and they need to coordinate with each other.

It's a Good time for us to, you know, sync up on that.

And one of the things that we do because we we own Systems that that run in cloud players, you know, 24 seven global network is we always look at we've got dashboards that show us kind of operational metrics for the systems we're running We always just look at those part of our stand up and say, like, hey, like, Does everything look healthy right now.

Is there anything that that we need to put some attention on any part of our systems that are that are failing and We've got actually like TVs mounted to the walls in our office that we can stand around and stare at but like we can also pull those dashboards up on, you know, our screens here and do a screen share.

It's like Those sorts of things have all translated pretty well to, you know, we do our stand up remotely and we have all the same sort of tools and stuff that we We had had there.

The one thing I think that everyone misses the most is having whiteboards. And we've used some some tools.

Google Jamboard is is is decent and and it's part of the Google Suite, which which we use a cloud player and so You know, it's, it's been a good sort of stopgap for, you know, for myself in the very sort of visual communicator and I consume information visually so Like, you know, more often than not when I'm when I'm talking to someone and trying to talk to like a technical issue like, hold on, give me a second.

Let me, let me open up a Jamboard and share my screen, just like I like draw like point that stuff.

So we're finding ways to make it work.

But, but yeah, like overall I think a lot of the other stuff that we do.

Like process wise has translated really well to remote and then there's sort of varying degrees of, you know, it's, it's nice to not be in a noisy office because it affords sort of deep, you know, work and, you know, quiet.

To really focus, but then you also miss the opportunities of like overhearing a conversation and and and it can make people feel a little bit like they're, they're not as connected with what's going on around them.

So yeah, one of the things that we introduced actually This is not just for my team, but for the for the champagne office, which has a few other people.

It's a small office, but as a few engineers who don't don't work for me as well.

Is every day we've got a A half hour champagne office coffee break where just a, you know, shared Zoom session where, you know, just, just log in and chat with your colleagues about anything, you know, just kind of what we're doing here today and You know, kind of trying to try to create those those sort of Opportunities for for conversation and just people to get to know their co workers.

That's awesome. Yeah, I popped in on a couple of those to say hi, you know, and since I do, or was previously doing remote office support for champagne IE purchasing snacks and coffee.

So, you know, yeah, I have jumped in on some of those and I'll pop back in.

This is kind of how you ended up coming onto my radar.

I think, you know, because we're having that conversation about, you know, to clear out, you know, the snacks at the office.

Yeah. One of the sad things.

So speaking of coffee. I know you're one of our club flurry and like coffee connoisseurs and And and we were discussing before we went live that I am kind of a coffee opportunist, we're all just like take and drink whatever coffee, but I do like things to be delicious.

So how much coffee. Do I want to be putting in my French press.

Do I need to get a scale. By one by a scale.

Yeah, that's a good, good question. Um, so I think If the scale is great for consistency, but there are other ways to get consistency to write like you can you can If you're, you know, filling up your French press with water.

You can always remember.

Oh, it's about that point in my French press that I always fill it up to that much water or if you're, you know, dosing your coffee into the French press like You know, if you use the same scoop every day you get a consistent sort of result.

And so I think consistency is is good and the scale of one of the tools you can use to achieve that.

And then within that, you know, there's a lot of room for preference.

Some people like a lot stronger of coffee more concentrated brews and some, some people, you know, like, you know, weaker Cups that they can just drink and drink and drink all day.

We were talking about Minnesota before that we started to call to I grew up there and you know I whenever I go and visit my family there.

There's always a percolator of pretty weak coffee and it's just, it's just the beverage of choice.

Right. So I'm Percolator like stove style or like an auto drip.

Like a like a plug in The old school. When I was a kid, like, Happy like silver and you plug it in.

Yeah, yep. And then the coffee goes in the top like a little And then, you know, the water kind of still Keep it from the whole For sure.

Yes, Nick and I are both born in Minnesota and Nick moved out of Minnesota when he was five, but he's still in the Midwest.

So we have We have Midwestern roots.

My mom was a big coffee drinker. She has a little coffee thing going. I'm a one cup a day, girl, and I always found like when I've tried like measuring it like it doesn't quite quite turn out.

It's, they'll say, like, I don't know, but I think I might get a scale.

I think that Yeah, right. Because I literally just grab some beans.

Basically adopted from our when we close our San Jose office, whatever was in the grinder, like, you know, because we took the coffee machines out, which was sad.

Yeah, I'm just like throwing it in there grinding it like imprecisely, you know, like I'll notice like a whole bean, you know, You've got like a whirly blade grinder.

Yeah, it's somebody gave it to me. They were using it for something else.

And yeah, cleaned it out real good. Um, but yeah, I, I like jumping in on your coffee breaks.

I we don't even have that like with our team. We have a daily team think but Oh, we do.

We have a weekly we have a weekly places coffee catch up where we check in with our, our team in London and we do come in the morning on Mondays.

I think that's the thing that's the hardest for me is that work really provided a big social outlet.

I really loved our and I still love our office and the people that work there.

And I don't know why I started doing this show with so I have an excuse.

People. This is the one, you know, the half hour of the week where I really feel like I have a friend.

And then as soon as the calls over.

I'm like a little bit lonely again. Well, we don't, we don't have to be live on TV to chat.

It's, you know, I everybody's so busy, right, like Yeah, like Yeah, well, I mean, to that point to like one of the things that it's been really, you know, interesting for me.

I think there's a lot of a lot of people talking about writing, but especially now that everyone's working from home.

You know, zoom fatigue and that sort of thing.

And like, you know, I'm, I'm a, I'm a manager.

I've got Six full time staff report to me and three interns over the summer and, you know, kind of working across a lot of different teams and I have a lot of a lot of meetings right I have a lot of, you know, chats.

Like this one's really pleasant.

Sometimes, you know, there are a lot more, you know, I've got to get work done but But most of my day is spent, you know, across the screen from someone and that that can be pretty taxing.

I mean, I think it's it leaves me also feeling like I've got Maybe more like human connection than a lot of folks who are working from home because it's just built into my day to be, you know, constantly, you know, connecting with people and talking but but yeah it's it's a It's interesting how those those slight, you know, differences can have a really big impact on the work from home situation where like I don't feel that That that disconnect nearly as much as I think even the people on my team and it's really caused me to have to think about empathizing more with them and and I think about how can I create more opportunities and more You just in this world, you have to structure your interactions, right, you have to make them happen.

And so that's where like the coffee break.

Thinking about how do I help facilitate the team connectedness.

Speaking of that structure. Another thing that we talked about on the show is like, how do you know when your day is done.

You know, Bookend of, you know, again, like you said, it's kind of nice that you don't have to maybe like rush out the door in the morning.

You know, but like, how do you decide like when it's time to like turn off that dashboard and You know, like, Just let go of the computer.

Yeah. Yeah, that's great. I mean, like I think, I think for for different people in different roles, it'll probably look different.

You know, or for for different home situation.

The reality reality for me is, you know, I've got, I've got young kids.

I've got, you know, my wife is caring for them full time, you know, and and so like, you know, 536 o 'clock rolls around and it's like, you know, Yeah, like, like, you know, I gotta go help, you know, like Get my wife on break and to make sure that she has some some sanity to her day as well.

And, you know, spend some time I my my six year old and I always, you know, play some games before he goes to bed.

And there's, you know, a lot of routine that goes around with that.

So like, you know, in my life. There's a lot of routine, even outside of work that helps give some structure to my time into my day and And that that really helps.

But yeah, I think, you know, having having a separate workspace helps a lot like I can sort of mentally put work away here.

You know, sometimes more successfully than other times, but like Yeah, yeah.

I mean, the, the reality. I think especially, you know, certainly at Cloudflare and tech jobs and probably most of the jobs that are being done from home is that You know, you're, there's always more you can be doing.

There's always the next project. There's always, you know, the continuation of the work that the things you can be pushing forward and so So yeah, I think that does, it does require some sort of discipline and some intentional choice of like, no, I don't have to be doing that right now.

I'm going to put it down and step away.

For me, it's also helpful to have You know, outlets and hobbies that aren't in front of the screen right something that gives me, you know, a break from that I joke around It's, it's true.

But I tell people that like one of my favorite things to do when I when I Leave work for the day is to go to the kitchen and like clean the dishwasher out or something because it's like it's just like I can look at that, you know, that pile of dishes and then like 10 minutes later, it's in the dishwasher and I did that.

And it's like, you know, especially in my job there's there's You know, most of what I do is helping facilitate other people to do their work well.

And so, so there's that satisfaction of like being able to point at something like, oh, I did that.

And, and, you know, that that that that problem.

I just, I just fixed and solved. And so I get some satisfaction out of that for sure.

I can totally relate to that. I am I have a spiritual practice that is based around what's called karma yoga Like karma being action and yoga, you know, meaning union.

So it's like My teachers mean like whole teaching for this for this timeframe on the earth is that like You know, only by doing good actions.

Can we mitigate the damage created by other people's, you know, or, you know, perhaps ours are other actions and one of his The things he would say is like karma yoga is the only yoga that you can start in the morning and see the result at the end of the day, like you can do like jhana yoga, the yoga of wisdom.

You know, and like you can study that for a really long time.

And like, maybe you're making progress.

Maybe not. But like the whole teaching is just like You know, humans like came to this planet to do work to be active to get things done and And so yeah, there's that satisfaction in, you know, any kind of like work, you know, that's like just some karma yoga like you just get it done.

And so, you know, it's, it's, it's a practice.

It's a meditation. It's a, it's a way to, you know, have that clarity.

Like I did something I have a result from it. It's so satisfying to Like when we were when I've been in India doing this type of because I before I was a club Larry and I was a big world traveler out on the Having adventures and whatnot.

And that was what we would do in the ashram.

It's like it wasn't like a yoga. We're not doing asanas, but we would like it in the morning and saying, and then we would go and clean.

For like two hours while while like mantra or something. It's like you teach your mind that you could be focusing on Like a mantra affirmation like while you're doing any kind of like mundane tasks and so that you're Worked on, but you're also like, you know, doing like mental purification.

So, um, yeah, I think it's, it's a good.

That's a good way to bookend like a day like to to create like a Okay, now we're stepping into this phase of the life.

And so you guys are what's the weather like, I mean, that's what we'd like to talk about in the Weather is that A derecho in Iowa coming through hurricane.

We're chatting about this and and you and I have both never heard of this word before, even though being in the Midwest, right, like so yeah Illinois and especially, you know, downstate where where I am.

It's, it's very flat and get a lot of heavy winds and that sort of thing. But, um, but yeah, the, the, the storm that came through and and hit Iowa and they were getting, you know, north of 100 mile an hour sustained winds.

We felt a little bit of that impact.

And I think I think we reached 60 or 65 mile an hour winds sustained for a few minutes, but But that actually that isn't too atypical to have that, you know, a couple times a year around here and I haven't I haven't seen anyone out replacing roofs or siding or anything like that.

So I don't, I don't think they created too much damage in our area.

But, but yeah, definitely very Very interesting that the types of weather that can be created in these wide flat swaths of land.

Yeah, it's scary. Um, but, and then you said there was some hail, but your tomato plants made it through the storm.

There was hail. Yeah, we had we had a hail storm in early July.

And so, you know, my My tomato plants took a little bit of a beating, you know, there's a lot of a lot of fruit that was just starting to form and, you know, got dents and bruises and stuff.

Most of it. Was still salvageable but but yeah we're past that now.

One of the actually the most interesting things going out and look at the garden damage after the hail storm was looking at my Squash plants.

If you're not familiar with how a squash plant grows, they've got these long vines with these really big soft leaves.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. And, you know, there's there's there's a big yellow flower they produce, but they've got these really big wide leaves.

And so I went out and looked and it was just like you can see like little holes like in the leaves were like individual Chunks of hail and I just, you know, shot right through but everything bounced back and and and you know recovered from that.

But, but yeah, it's, it's one of those things, especially as a gardener, looking at the weather a lot and also just kind of at its mercy.

You I can't control the sky. To come in. Yeah, yeah, I was a little ambitious this year.

I got my my tomato plants. I put them out in the garden, a little while.

Probably a week or two before our average last frost date the spring was really warm and so It's like they you're like, take a shot at getting them out and getting a couple weeks of extra early growth.

And then we had one night that was a I think it got down to 28 degrees or so like, you know, well below freezing and that afternoon I was out there.

You know, putting Buckets of water with plastic over them and then blankets over the plastic all over the water kind of like to help, you know, Like a thermal yeah thermal mass in there and all my tomato plants survived, but I'm sure like people were walking by my garden that evening like looking at like All these, I was literally like scrounging for every blanket I could find in the house to go to go throw my tomato plants and they survived, but But yeah, that's the exciting life of a gardener.

You're always kind of like, you know, figuring out what's what's gonna happen with the weather and what's worse trying to trying to work around or not.

Yeah, I am. I'm actually, I don't think I told us, but I'm moving.

I found a new spot here. Yeah, I'm, I'm not as excited.

I mean, I'm excited in some ways about the location, but it's going to be hotter because I love the coolness of San Francisco.

I'm not Girl, but I'm moving to Lafayette in the East Bay and I am going to have a yard and great.

I'm going to have, I'm going to have a raised bed to start the owner is having her gardener build me one And so I will just put some dirt and some like I'm going to grow like kale and charred, you know, just some greens.

Probably. I don't think I'm going to have a ton of space.

But I'm super excited. That's one of the good things that's come out of this pandemic for me is to make a A choice or like, you know, we're not going to be officially back in the office till at least January.

So that's four months where I won't have to because right now my my sole purpose of living in the city is to be close to the office like I'm walking Right, I just commuting like for me just starting like a real, you know, like a real 40 hour a week job was was a lot and a big adjustment and I didn't want to have a big commute on that as well.

And now that I'm Used to working, although now that I'm not anymore.

But we're working from my house is a lot less draining energetically than being at the front desk and Cloudflare and like Reading a ton of people and managing a bunch of remote offices and dealing with all that kind of stuff.

But yeah, I'm super excited. That was something I just was kind of looking and I found a cute little cottage and it's super close to hiking trails and nature.

So I'm going to That's great.

It's going to be really good. I think for me, because I don't, I don't have incentive to get out in my neighborhood and go for a walk.

I'm pretty buildings.

There's not even like like in the, you know, I'm from the Midwest.

I'm used to trees you walk outside. Neighborhood has a bunch of trees and there's some squirrels, you know, and and you just you go for a walk and it's nice, even if you're just in the city, but here it's Like unless you're like maybe over in, you know, like the sunset or by the park, but then it's like, was I going to really be able to find a cottage and my budget there so Decent all these walking trails.

So that's my big exciting club for home office TV news, which I've been talking about last week.

But yeah, I signed a lease and everything. Yeah, that's so exciting.

I'm gonna have a garden to we can talk Yeah. You can grow in a in a pot.

Right. Yeah, yeah, there's a lot of stuff you can grow. I mean, other other types of fruiting plants like that, like peppers would be great.

You could even probably grow, you know, squash or melons or cucumbers or that sort of thing.

Some people will grow like Potatoes in like a burlap sack or something, you know, like, like all sorts of like odd like I I'm I've been fortunate to do it.

I live in the Midwest. You have a lot of space here. Right.

So I I've always had plenty of space to grow in the ground, but like You know, when I'm when I'm, you know, researching, you know, garden ideas and stuff.

You come across these, you know, people who are doing very elaborate things with growing in containers and in small spaces and stuff.

So yeah, there's, there's a whole world awaiting you here, Amy.

Getting into small container and small garden small, small gardening.

I think it's going to be a good. And for me, I had to make that choice just for my mental health and happiness because I just noticed myself not getting out in us.

Like, just not even exercising enough. Yeah, it just like I said, I just not not super motivated to go out here, but I'll be, I'll be next to these little hills and my dream is Them and, you know, I'm gonna, I'm going to relinquish the food, baby.

Yeah. I've been holding on to One home office tip that I will plug I'll give is I When I when I took that week off in in July, we were also looking at like what sort of home improvement projects like quality of life improvement projects and stuff right and we could we could make and I realized, you know, working from home.

I'm, I'm, I'm not moving around as much even being in the office, you know, having a lot of meetings meant I'd walk back and Conference rooms and stuff like that.

And so we had a treadmill just in our garage that was we weren't using.

And so I actually brought that in and sitting sitting over here off camera in my in my office and I've kind of got like a little bit of like a jury rigged like desk set up over it.

And so like I, you know, in between meetings and stuff or beginning of my day, end of the day, it's been really nice to just be walking and, you know, have that as like a way to just get some exercise while I'm, you know, going through email or that sort of thing.

So yeah.

Highly recommend the treadmill desk. The home treadmill desk. Well, that's a great plug.

That's perfect. That brings us pretty much right about to Probably 30 seconds before our, our show ends, but I just thought I want to say thank you so much.

Absolutely. Bad and super great to see you. And thanks for all you do you know to keep the champagne team going and magic transit right is that Magic transit product.

Yep. Yeah, you're, you're one of our magic transit engineers and managers. So yeah, thank you so much.

And I will see you in a champagne coffee break really, really soon.

Looking forward to it. Thanks, Amy. Thank you, Nick. Take care. Bye.