Yesterday, my coworker cried because I didn’t share my banana with him – working remotely (especially with kids/a baby at home), is different. I have been working almost entirely from home as a developer for 6 months now, but due to Covid-19, I know many others are now trying to balance productivity from the comfort, or discomfort, of their home. As you adjust to this new, strange normal, here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.
Start Your Day
Start your day like you’re going to work. Take a shower, sit and drink a coffee, have breakfast, and get dressed, well, somewhat. A lot of work from home guides tell you to get dressed like you’re going to work but that defeats one of working remotely’s greatest perks – sweatpants. I often put on a nice button-up to keep it camera ready up top and matched with quarantine casual below. That’s it! Just watch your video chat angles and you’re fine and living a life of comfort while being productive.
Some people may have dedicated rooms to use as an office, far from the noise of say a 9 month old who likes to scream with joy at the dog, others may be at kitchen tables, or perhaps tucked into a small den space that also doubles as a laundry room and does not have a door that closes with a spouse who listens to podcasts loudly downstairs. Investing in a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones, can allow you to feel like the space is your own. Wherever you are, you need to try to minimize distractions and, if possible have a dedicated workspace (or set one up daily).
I’ve decorated my office nook with plants, pictures, and an “office mug”. It makes this space feel different from the rest of my house and creates a relaxing environment.
You Do Have to Go Out Sometimes
I can admit that sometimes it’s Thursday and I have to remember if I have left the house since the previous weekend. Don’t be like me! Take walks on your lunch break, run small errands so you’re leaving more often in the evening, and especially if you live alone, make sure you’re making time to socialize. However one of the many bonuses is, you don’t have to leave for lunch, so you’ll like find yourself saving money on eating out and buying coffee. As for staying connected, at Day Shift Digital we do a daily morning video meeting and it makes a huge difference. We take the time to catch up on the night before so we’re cultivating relationships that make our work better.
Feeling a sense of accomplishment and motivation is difficult when you’re alone, but there are many ways to mitigate this. Firstly my coworkers and I run a slack chat all day so that we are constantly checking in and both being accountable to each other and motivating each other with encouragement. As well individually, I keep an ongoing to do list with tiny goals so that I feel like the day is broken into smaller chunks.
All in all, I love working remotely. There are definitely challenges, but my commute is 15 seconds and I get to spend time with my family during breaks. I hope it’s as rewarding for you in this new remote world as it has been for me.