Remotely working from home

I've been working from home either partially or fully in the last few decades. So here are the most important tips/adjustments that will help you adjust quickly:

  1. Keep a morning routine - while a lot of people talk about working from home in pyjamas, it's easier if you just keep your morning routine (whatever it is) and get dressed up to work. That tells your brain it's work as usual.
  2. Discuss it with your partner/roommates - for the times your job requires meetings you need some silence around you and usually kids not jumping around (I have a toddler). It's easier if this is agreed with whoever you're living with. Even if you have an office at home you might need to create house rules like "nobody talks to me when the headphones are on" or "nobody goes into the bedroom if the door is locked" or "I'll say when I have a meeting, and I need you to keep an eye on the kids during that time".
  3. Find a space - particularly for the first weeks, defining a space where to work will be important.
  4. Make social calls - keep up with your colleagues and other people in the company. Now it will probably require an effort to do it, so keep it on your todo list.
  5. Find a partner for pair working - the distance feeds feelings of loneliness. One of the ways to deal with that is making a long call (think hours) where both people are just working. Just the usual sounds of someone else working will help you keep your mind at work and also feel like you're heard when you say an expletive in the middle of the day.
  6. Create a watercooler - if your work doesn't have a place where people can just talk, create a room in meet.google.com or whereby.com where people can just connect and chat.
  7. Learn how to optimise your connections - learn how to use mute and turning the camera off to make sure the audio comes through (if your connection needs it - watching people talk helps people hear you better, so just disable the camera when required). It helps to keep communications as clear as possible.
  8. You're going to invest in headphones and an Internet connection - unless you're a gamer and have already gone through it before.
  9. Make sure you get out of the house - exercise or at least go for a few walks. I've had days at home where my step count was less than 200. I've also gained over 10kg in a year just working from home. Don't repeat my mistakes.
  10. Keep a "waiting for" list - particularly if you are used to just walk to someone to sort something out, changing to asynchronous communications will be hard. One of the tricks that worked for me was keeping a "waiting for list" where you keep a list of people and what information you need from them so you can follow-up if they haven't sent it to you yet. Start expecting some delay in communications unless you are in a call.
  11. Dealing with emergencies - if you have an emergency at work, communication is critical. Even if only one person is working on it, open a call others can join so people know what you're up to, what you're struggling with and you don't have to deal with multiple requests of information while trying to fix whatever is wrong.
  12. Write your standup - every day start by writing (for you or your team) what you did the previous day, what you plan to do today, what are your blockers. This will help you prioritise the day's work and recover quickly after dealing with interruptions and emergencies.

Hope this helps and makes you as productive as possible from the beginning of the process. It requires effort and some habit changes, but you might find that you'll be taking some of the new habits back to the office with you later on.

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