Our front-end wizard, Anton, worked remotely for his first year with Juro. What did he learn that could help you through the current crisis?
Working remotely is not something that every company has been comfortable with, despite our tech-enabled lifestyles. But the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means that many of us will have to adapt to it - whether we want to or not.
But while working remotely has its challenges, that doesn't mean a remote job can't be great. Here are six things I learned that helped me make my remote year one of the best.
Working remotely doesn't mean working less. It also shouldn't mean working more, which is surprisingly easy to do when you work from home: no pesky commute taking up your time, and the walk to get your lunch is probably only a few steps. Achieving the right balance with your productivity will take some time, and if you get it right, your output will likely increase; but your main goal when you’re starting out as a remote worker should be simply to keep the same productivity as you would in the office.
Choose a specific place in your house or apartment where you work each day. If you don't define a specific workspace, very quickly the borders between your work and personal lives will start to blur, to the detriment of both. The worst-case-scenario in terms of productivity is horribly common - working right from your bed. Unless you're a teenager on study leave, this probably isn't a good idea.
Working from home has one huge advantage that appeals to us all: you can sleep, more because you don’t need to spend your time on commuting. Who doesn't love more sleep?! But nonetheless it's important to make sure that your working hours remain the same as they would if you were travelling to the office. Don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day - you can do it more frequently, but try to keep your breaks short. It's easy to slip into longer breaks when you're at home, but it will have an impact on your productivity sooner or later.
Make sure that the people you live with understand that being at home doesn't mean you have more time for personal tasks, chores, chatting or socializing with them. You're working from home, but you're still working. By all means be apologetic, but make sure that they understand that your boss isn't paying you to chat with them all afternoon.
The hardest thing for most people when they start working from home for the first time, in terms of productivity, is keeping their focus. For me, I found the Pomodoro technique to be really useful. It asks you to work for 25 minutes without distractions, then do take a break for five minutes, and repeat. I can't overstate how great this technique is. There are plenty of apps for Mac and Windows that can help you get started. For iOS I'd try this one - it's free. It's worth taking a minute to find out why it's called the Pomodoro technique too 😆
When you first start working remotely, there'll be so many temptations: sleeping longer, sliding onto YouTube, picking up a PlayStation controller, or obsessively watching the news. The volume of options you have when it comes to streaming video content is overwhelming. So every time you notice that temptation creeping up on you, catch yourself. It takes some training but you can overcome these urges and become focused and single-minded. Instead of jumping onto Netflix, find relaxation and pleasure in your newfound ability to work in whatever clothes you like, to never wear shoes, and to calmly drink as much coffee or tea as you like, whenever you like.
These tips helped me make my remote job a great job - as we all figure out how to work through this crisis, it's important to make sure we focus on productivity and support our companies through a difficult time.
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