I've been reading a lot of excellent work-from-home (WFH) articles lately in the midst of all the self-isolation and social distancing, and thought I would share my perspective having worked a (mostly) remote developer job since 2017. In this I want to share some of the little tricks I've learned that make the biggest difference when working remotely.
You lose a lot of information without body language. Thankfully tools like Slack and Teams make it pretty easy to throw in emojis and search for relevant gifs. Also Lenny Faces. Take full advantage of these as it makes a huge difference, trust me. Compare the same lines:
Great, thanks very much
Great! 😃 thanks very much
One conveys attitude with information, the other conveys… well, just information. Be more communicative, more emphatic and generally more deliberate with how you communicate to make up for the lack of body language.
*Bonus: when taking voice calls, also make sure you sound more emphatic and cheery as it is more difficult to convey nonverbal cues without seeing someone's body lenguage.
WFH often means you will likely have a good bit more autonomy with your work. It also means that you can't just swing around to your co-worker's desk and beg them to fix your broken dev environment again. If you are not organized you're gonna have a bad time.
Grab your favorite note taking app (I love OneNote) or simply a pencil+notebook and create a couple of sections like : 'Daily Tasks', 'Dev Notes', 'Documentation', etc…
Keeping a daily task-list, as well as notes on things you figure out, both form others and on your own, will help you stay organized and on-task. The biggest detriment to productivity, I've learned, is when you don’t have direction. Writing out your problem and breaking things apart helps put you in the right headspace to get work done.
Yea, you can throw the laundry into the dryer after your meeting. You can take a walk outside during lunch. You can get up, stretch or pace around the house like a madman trying to figure out how the hell to approach fixing that bug (in fact the novelty of doing so may stimulate your brain to do so).
The point is - you don’t have to put up that wall that we all subconsciously put up when we are in the office trying to "look busy" when in fact we are not getting anything useful done. When you WFH you don’t need to look busy, so get "producty-comfy"
Characterized by having a clean workspace
Being in a quiet environment (or wearing noise cancelling headphones)
(optional) the state of having comfortable to no pants 😏
If this list were ranked, this would be #1. Wake up in the morning the same time you usually do (don’t use the lack of commute as an excuse to sleep in) and use it to do something you normally don't have time for. Example: For me right now it's: exercise, then study something new. Exercise to get the blood pumping, and study because I feel refreshed from the exercise and motivated to learn something I've been interested in (recently it's been the Go programming language). Sometimes I write in the morning, sometimes I clean the house, sometimes I go to the nature preserve and take some photos.
Pick something you wish you had more time for and do it in the morning to replace your "getting ready and commuting to work" regiment. You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish with the extra time.
You're an adult 😛