Over the past few years, more and more people got interested in working remotely. There are many reasons why this new approach towards our daily work is gaining so much popularity but the main reason for it is the freedom that comes with the possibility of working from anywhere. But in the last few months, this is slowly becoming more of a necessity than a choice.
Producement is formed of a fully remote team of experienced software engineers that has members from all over the globe, even if we are separated by a huge distance, we still manage to deliver quality products while feeling connected to each other and to our clients. As many individuals or companies might be struggling with distance working in an efficient way, we decided to share 8 useful tips on working remotely:
- Having a routine is not boring
Working from home brings you a lot of freedom but you should not let freedom transform into chaos. In order to make working from home really efficient you should have a routine similar to the one that you would have at a traditional job. So just because you are not going to an office you shouldn’t skip your basic daily activities like getting dressed for work or drinking your morning coffee.
Another thing that is really useful for a successful routine is having a fixed schedule, so try to start working at the same hour every day and try not to end up working overtime.
- Have a clear separation between work and personal life
Sometimes it might be hard to realize where your work life stops and your personal life starts so it’s good to create a clear separation between these two. One way of doing this is by having a separate space/room for work and if space does not permit this you should at least try to have a separate computer or a dual boot.
- Ask yourself if your meeting should be an email
From time to time you may end up in a meeting where you are thinking “why exactly am I in this meeting?” so in order to avoid moments like this ask yourself before creating a meeting if it’s really necessary and who should attend it. In general, you should prefer asynchronous communication (written communication like email, Slack messages, GitHub comments, etc.) over synchronous communication (having a call or a meeting). Setting up a meeting and finding a suitable time slot will waste way more time than sending a message.
But sometimes meetings are still necessary. For those cases we recommend you make a schedule so that all the meetings are either at the start or at the end of the day, also try to minimize the amount of people attending the meetings (if you need to make a decision, do it with 5 people max).
- Good communication is crucial for remote work
Actually, good communication is crucial for any type of work but when it comes to remote work communication is the most important thing for a team. In order to achieve good communication while working remotely you need to take advantage of all that technology has to offer for example using apps like Mattermost, Slack, etc. and creating special communication channels for every team. Another really important thing related to communication is making sure that you have good hardware: good camera, good microphone, good internet connection so that your team can understand you better.
- Help your family and friends understand that remote work is still work
Even if you understand that working from home comes with the same responsibilities as an office job your family and friends might not. So before starting a remote job take some time and explain to them that even when you’re physically home, you’re actually “at work”.
- Have a break
One big problem with working from home is the fact that you might lose the notion of time thus realizing that you have been working on something for a couple of hours without a break. Even if some people think that if you work for a couple hours straight you will achieve more, in reality it might actually lower your performance as you won’t be able to concentrate and you will feel tired by the end of the day. So, we recommend you take something like a 5 minutes break every hour.
- Don’t forget you are part of a team
While working remotely you might end up feeling lonely or you might end up getting stuck on something. For cases like this you should always remember that even if you are not in the same office as your team you are still part of a team and you can ping them whenever you need their help.
- Written standups
If your team is small traditional standups are just fine but as your team starts growing, you’ll soon realize that taking turns during a video conference might not be the best solution. So, one simple solution to this would be doing a written standup where everyone posts their notes on a chat before doing a video call where you discuss blockers.
P.S we also have some recommendations for improving your workspace:
- Portable tray for laptop if you are working from a couch
- Monitor/laptop arm if you have multiple computers or just want to use an external keyboard for your laptop
- Barrier – if you have multiple computers and you want to control them with the same keyboard/laptop seamlessly, feels like having a single computer