A few months ago we couldn't even imagine that COVID-19 would become so dangerous for all the people around the world. The outbreak of the coronavirus made the majority of companies (including software development companies like ours) out there to move their employees to remote work. But some of us have no idea how to exactly organize themselves to be efficient while working from home. So, our team will be glad to give you several tips on how to work from home and still be a rockstar. =)
1. Maintain a working routine.
When you just start working from home, it is not easy to build a routine. You always start your work at different times every day and end up working late at night. It is really hard to shut off, because there is no boundary between work and home. Till that schedule is not sustainable, you will feel burned out because of working for too many hours.
Now you don't have lunch breaks at home, you have to create your personal routine and be rigid about it. For example: get up, get ready, make breakfast, and start. And don't forget break times scheduled in advance. The best way of the routine organization will stick to the same schedule as it was in the office.
2. Organize your workspace.
For a remote employee, the boundary between work and home is blurry. That's why we should have a designated workspace when working from home. It doesn't matter whether it's a separate office or just a kitchen table in your apartment, maintaining a designated workspace can help create the boundary between work and home. It means that you should not work laying in bed for example, but you need a special place where you can feel the same as at work.
This should help you maintain focus on the job and detach from it at the end of the day. You should not mix your working time and rest time, and you need to change the location at home when you are "not at work". Some of our colleagues in order to create a great workspace of their own at homes, took not only laptops from their offices, but also their cups, notebooks and favorite stress-relief toys. All these things help them feel at work while working from home and become more efficient.
3. Take breaks.
Usually, working from home means you'll have fewer distractions. Maybe this might lead to greater productivity, but it can make it harder to take a break. For example...
At work all of us can be easily distracted by talking with colleagues, drinking a cup of coffee and so on. At lunch, you can also go somewhere together and chat with each other. All that took some part of our working time and attention. But at home, we can dive deeply into the work. For someone who likes to work this opportunity should sound great and maybe once or twice it is possible to work with such a schedule. But if you're gonna work like that for weeks or months, soon you will feel worn out. This is a quick way to get burned out in your role and the next step - you will just start hating your job.
That is why the brake is so important for remote workers, remote teams and everyone who works from home. You need to remember to take breaks and recharge your energy.
4. Be in touch with your coworkers.
One of the biggest fears of people working remotely is the feeling of isolation. You have to address this problem. Communicate with your colleagues using messengers. Even just reaching out via Slack, Zoom or Telegram can help you feel connected to your team. You can arrange video chats and virtual coffee breaks several times a week or even every day. In these meetings, you can talk not only about the working process but also about life, movies, books and anything else.
In our outsourcing company, we have several channels on Slack: general, channels for departments and channels for conversation not about work. It helps not only to regulate our work, but also to be in touch with the team. For the control of the working process, you can create the schedule and call up with coworkers about project questions, etc.
For example, to use messengers for remote teams like us it's not a new way of communication. But at this time we communicate online not only with customers but also with colleagues. Communication with colleagues helps you not to feel outside the community while in isolation and even when you stay at home, you are still a part of the team.
5. Discuss your schedule with family or roommates.
One more struggle you might face working from home is that you might live with roommates, partners, kids, or pets in the house. And that can be very distracting! Especially if some of them are working from home too.
It will be better if you divide the space in advance. For example, some of you are working in the kitchen and others in the living room. If you have to call up with colleagues it's better to coordinate it with your roommates or family beforehand. When you let each other know when your meetings are, your family or roommates aren't making too much noise when you're on the call.
6. Dress up!
Although it can be tempting to work in your pajamas and be laying in your bed, trust us, it's not a great idea. The way you dress can greatly impact your working mood. Of course, you don't have to wear your best suit and boots. But your motivation to work productively improves if you dress in more formal clothes.
7. Organize your schedule.
Another pitfall of work from home is that it can be hard to stay organized. To manage your time and complete the tasks you need in the time, you should use your calendar to block off time to complete important things. It is very important to stay diligent with your tasks and continually advance your deals.
All these tips are very simple and maybe evident, but some of us never worked remotely before and this new experience may cause difficulties. But our team hopes this small list will help you to keep the work under control and stay productive from any place.