One big advantage of working as a software developer is the possibility of working from home. Although it is possible practically most of the companies does not allow to do it for all of their colleagues and there are also many developers who doesn’t like to work from home. The companies are usually arguing with non-trackable and not effective work and with pure communication. The developers has often also problems with the same points and they also think that is a bit depressing to work always from home.
My first experience with home office is coming from right the beginning of my career. It was the last semester of my bachelor studies. I only had to go once a week to the university, the other days I was just working on my thesis, which was a software with documentation, and next to that I was a trainee at a small company, where I was working in remote mode. I got my tasks and once a week I needed to present my results. So I had two big topics to work on from home and my time schedule was really flexible. First I thought it will be a really great time. After some weeks I realized that it is not good at all. In the morning I didn’t wake up in time, as I woke up I didn’t start to work, I rather watched some series. I started to work just right before lunch, then I got hungry soon, so I took a long lunch break. In the afternoon I tried to concentrate on working again, but most of the cases some friends just called me to go out somewhere and I could never say no for such invitations. So I went out until late, thanks for that next morning I couldn’t wake up again. Usually the day before my meeting I realised that I didn’t have any progress, so I was working all night long. Some week before the due date of my thesis I also realised that it’s not in a good shape at all, so I was working all weekends long on that. After a while I was totally stressed, because I always had the feeling that I should work. Next to that since I had a lack of experience I often faced with technical issues and since there was no one around who could help, it took me long hours to find a solution or I needed to wait until the next week meeting and in the meanwhile I was totally blocked. All things considered it was horrible.
After this experience I tried to avoid to do any home office, I was rather in the office until late or requested for a holiday if I had any issue at home. The years flied and 5 years later I found myself in a totally different situation. In the meanwhile I collected a good experience in software development, I became father and with that I also changed my lifestyle. At the company where I’m working I had sometimes chance to do home office and in the previous time I did it a lot. At the beginning I felt myself a bit uncomfortable at working from home, but it changed, now I really like to do it and I realized that I’m more effective at working from home as sitting in the office. But to achieve it there are some points to follow.
- Do follow a preset daily working time As normally you have any kind of working time what you are following (like you are arriving at 9 and working until 4.30 in the afternoon) set up your working time at home as well. You can save your daily travel time, it is already an advantage. So let’s decide that for example you start to work at 8 o’clock. Then really wake up at 7.30, have your breakfast and start at 8. Be strict to yourself. And let’s concentrate on working until the end of your working hours. Out of your working hours be also strict to yourself: do not work. That’s needed to be able to make a difference between your professional and private life.
Do have your proper workplace at home
This is the point what I couldn’t achieve in our current flat, but it is also needed. You should have a seperate working place at home, the best if it is a seperate room, where you have your desk and a proper working environment with all your needs: good chair, big monitor, sunlight, proper temperature etc. Be here during your working hours and don’t be here out of your working hours.
Change your clothes
Of course it’s nice to be whole day long in your pyjama, but in that case you have the feeling that you are at home and not at work. Change your clothes. Of course you don’t need business outfit at home, but at least take a T-Shirt and trousers.
Your family needs to understand that you are not at home, you are at your workplace.
It should be also clear for your family that you are not at home during your working hours, even is physically it is not true. You don’t have 2 minutes to help, you can not answer a short question and you shouldn’t be disturbed.
Keep on communicate with your colleagues
It is also important not to be totally isolated from your colleagues. Keep on communicating them with some chat client or through phone. It is also good to have a daily status meeting which is done through phone. With that you and your colleagues have the feeling, that you are not working alone.
It is not working without enough experience
The other thing I realized is that as a junior programmer at the beginning of my career I got stucked really often. That time just googling did not mean always a fast and working solution. But to ask a more experienced colleague helped really fast most if the cases. From home you can of course write to your colleagues or call him. You can also use a screen sharing application. But it is simple not so effective. That’s why I don’t suggest working from home for juniors.
Set up your daily targets
It is also a good strategy to set up your daily target in the morning, what you would like to achieve until the end of the day. Don’t stop working before achieving it. In this way you will be really motivated in concentrating on work. You targets should be realistic, so doable, but not to easy.
Schedule your breaks
If you are working in the office you are also taking breaks: going out to the kitchen to drink a coffee, chat with your colleagues etc. At home you also need breaks at work. I would suppose to stand up from the computer during your breaks. But you can use it as an advantage and you can do some house work during this time: bringing down the trash, do the washing up, put the clothes into the washmachine. Since these activities are much different than sitting at your computer it will be good to do them and as an advantage you won’t need to them after work.
Don’t do every day home office
Working every day from home can be really depressing on long term, which leads to losing your motivation. My suggestion is to work 2-3 days per week from home, otherwise work from the office, if it is possible. It makes you able to keep networking with people from personal and professional point of view and it is keeping some routine in your life.