What do I do?

I have been asked a couple of times recently, via Twitter, what it is that I do.

Take a look at the screen shot of the Apple iPad regulatory information screen below.

I am responsible for obtaining those regulatory certifications for technical consumer and non-consumer products. Ok, so not for Apple (I wish!) but I have provided support, consultancy, project management and test support for mobile telecoms products (I have certified products to all of the regulatory marks in the picture and many more besides) as well as industrial hazardous area equipment.

Take a look at these Sendo phones.

I was responsible for the technical regulatory and commercial certification of every one of these devices. I have also undertaken the approvals of a large chunk of the Motorola mobile devices and accessories product portfolio.

Right now I am running the Hazardous Area Product approvals for KROHNE Ltd. Take a look at our website to see the products I am responsible for.

In may spare time (there ain’t enough of that) I am a husband to a wonderful wife, a Dad to two amazing boys, something of a tech geek/nerd with tendencies toward “i” devices, a sometimes blogger, a huge mobile telecoms fan (that is the bulk of my professional background), an F1 fan (less so now than back in the 80’s and 90’s) and an admirer of all things beer and iphoneography.

I have an iPhone permanently attached to my hand(s), an iPad attached as often as possible, I tweet a lot and I possibly moan too much. I frequently comment on, pass opinion on and enjoy most things social media (the benefit of, the use of, the tools for). I love to tinker and I am excited by doing things like this.

 

So, now you know.

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.

A yearning

As I proof a technical white paper on the subject of mobile telecommunications product testing for a friend, I find myself craving the world I had to leave behind a couple of years ago.  It makes me miss it more than I expected.

I miss the environment, I miss the people and I miss the cut and thrust of a very fast-paced industry.  I find myself yearning for the acronyms (GCF, PTCRB, NAPRD, PICS, PIXIT, EMC, BT, USB, LTE, RFT, HSDPA, HSUPA, Rel-7, 3GPP, TS51.010, FDD, OMA, USIM and so on).

I worked with some of the most intelligent minds in the business, with exceptional software engineers, product managers, program managers, design engineers (electronic & mechanical), NPI engineers, quality specialists, executive managers, validation engineers and many many more.  I work with incredibly talented people now but I must admit to missing the mobile telcoms business very much indeed.

I am @craigt44 on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.

Flexible working

I am compelled to put down my thoughts on home working amidst fresh discussions on the subject with quite a few people recently.

I still get the impression that there is a general feeling that home workers spend a lot of the day doing anything but work.  Following recent discussions, I frequently hear an underlying tone that suggests the person I am talking to thinks home working is a way to shirk the work and kick back.

I don’t doubt there are a minority that abuse the option of flexible working but, for me at least, home working provides many benefits, most of which subsequently benefit my employer.

I have spent a lot of time working from home.  In my previous positions with Sendo & Motorola, I spent several years working an office/home office split (3 days at home, 2 days in the office with the flexibility to chop and change as business demands required) and a couple of years working full time at home (due to office closure).  In that time I found several benefits to home working.

Less Distractions
At home I can lock myself away in the office, I can play music and, most importantly, I can concentrate on the task in front of me.  In the office there are many distractions.  A colleague may decide it’s time for a chat, someone may visit the office, I may get called into an ad-hoc meeting, something might happen that needs my attention (which invariably are always important… unless you are not there, in which case they can almost always wait until you are back…. funny that).  Whatever it is, there are typically more distractions in an office environment that at home.  That is not to say there aren’t distractions at home but they are more manageable.

Flexibility
Yes, one of the big wins for home working is flexibility.  If I need to clear my head I can take a short, brisk walk outside.  If I need to attend an appointment I can arrange it around my work, perhaps working later to make up time or starting earlier.

Better work-life balance
A huge benefit of home working is that whole work-life balance thing.  I commute to the office, a drive of one hour each way.  I leave home at 7am and I get back home at 6:30pm.  That means I generally don’t see my kids in the morning and only very briefly at night.  I hate that, a lot.  Working at home gives me an extra two hours a day to spend time with them, to help my wife get them ready for school, to help with the school run to see more of my wife, to talk about more things with her.  It makes me feel like I have a life outside of work.

Productivity
My productivity is generally higher working from home than in the office.  It’s because of those things listed above.  Less distractions means more focus which means more work done.  More flexibility and a better work-life balance makes me happier.  Being happier makes me work harder and more conscientiously.

Disadvantages?
Yes, of course there are.  I have worked from home for a long time and, as such, I’ve whittled down the disadvantages to just two.  Those are the lack of human contact and those back in the office forgetting that you exist (I worked full time at home, reporting to a manager based in Chicago).

There are a number of things you can do to minimise these disadvantages.  Firstly, don’t get too reliant on email.  Pick up the phone more and talk to people.  This helps you to feel more sociable as well keeping you fresh in their minds.  Secondly, arrange physical meetings occasionally.  This forces you out of your home office and gets you back in front of people.  Thirdly, get involved with projects outside the scope of your normal role and duties.  This ensures you have regular contact with a wide audience.

As usual, these are just my musings.  I know this is a well debated topic but it’s something I’m talking more and more about lately and I clearly needed to dump my thoughts.

I am @craigt44 on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.