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Cover image for Matt's Tidbits #67 - Some tips for working from home

Matt's Tidbits #67 - Some tips for working from home

mpeng3 profile image Matthew Groves Originally published at Medium ・3 min read

Last time I wrote about Kotlin's reified keyword. This week, I want to share some tips on working from home.

Prior to my current job, I telecommuted for 6 years, so I am no stranger to working from home. During this time, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my favorite tips (and some from some of my coworkers as well) to help manage working from home.

  • If possible, schedule your meetings to be 5–10 minutes shorter (25 minutes or 50 minutes instead of a full 30 or 60) - this gives everyone a chance to stretch, get a drink of water, catch up on email, etc.

  • Try to join meetings a minute or two early so they can start on time (and this will help improve productivity during shortened meetings as in #1) - it can be pretty frustrating for everyone else to wait or have to repeat things if they decide to get started on time.

  • Block out windows of time on your calendar when you really need a break - such as taking an actual break from your computer during lunch, going to buy groceries, etc.

  • Try to end each work day with something special - exercise, talk to a friend, make dinner, change your outfit - really anything to help create more of a boundary between work and personal time.

  • Use video chat when possible - being able to see others can help reduce feelings of loneliness, and if you're on camera too it can help keep you focused and accountable - it's really easy to tune out and multi-task during a meeting when nobody is watching you!

  • It's ok to be flexible with your work hours (starting and ending later, or taking breaks when you need to) - just be sure to clearly communicate this with the rest of your team.

  • If you have to step away, setting an "Away" message in your company's chat platform (i.e. Slack) with an approximate time when you expect to be back can be really helpful to your teammates.

  • This is a difficult time for a lot of people, so be kind to yourself. It's not reasonable to expect that your productivity or energy will be as high as it was during "normal" times.

  • With the extra time you're saving by not commuting, take care of yourself and make sure you are getting a full night's rest. This will help keep your mind and body healthy and strong.

  • Make sure you have the things you need to be successful and comfortable - an external monitor, a real desk chair, etc. - there's a reason we have these at work - they make a difference!

  • If you're feeling stressed, this is a great time to try meditation, yoga, or other well-known mindfulness techniques. Sometimes, just being able to put a label on what you're feeling can help you work through it and find paths to happiness.

Stay well and remember to breathe! We will get through this together. What are your favorite strategies for working from home? Please let me know in the comments! And, please follow me on Medium if you're interested in being notified of future tidbits.

This tidbit was originally delivered on May 5, 2020.

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Matthew Groves

@mpeng3

Software engineer with 10+ years of professional experience in C++, C#, Java, and Kotlin.

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