Quick Tips

Tips for Working Remotely

🌱 This post is still growing and likely to be updated

Coronavirus is here, and it’s causing many folks to work from home out of the blue. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips I’ve found useful while working from home over the last few years.

Work/Life Balance

Here are some tips for dealing with productivity, separating work time and play time, and dealing with distractions.

  • When your working from home it becomes very easy for the line between work time and play time to get blurry. A great way to prevent this is to set up a designated workstation. The further away from the busiest section of your place, the better.

  • Make sure you never roll out of bed and jump on the computer. It can become really difficult to break the feeling of needing to be available 24/7 when you start each day in front of the computer. Try to keep your routine similar and replace your commute time with a walk or some stretching.

  • Learn the ebbs and flows of you place and optimize deep focus work for times when you have quiet and few interruptions. For me I know I can get more intense work done on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays because my family is at work or school during the day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I know I have certain times when I won’t be able to really dive deep and I try to do administrative tasks and lighter work at those times.

  • If you absolutely have to schedule a meeting during a busy time in your home, take it outside or even in your car. Just remember that if you use bluetooth your neighbors will be able to hear your meeting too. :)

  • Keep working hours your working hours. Don’t do the laundry at 1pm because you’re waiting on a build to finish. I find that when I switch into home mode it gets really hard to switch back into work mode. Squeezing in a few chores or catching up on an episode of your favorite show because you need a break sound like great ideas but they require huge context switches that eat up a lot of time.

Communication

Communicating when you’re fully remote can be quite different than when you’re in person. It requires more effort on your part, but with a few adjustments to your workflow you can really improve remote communication.

  • Invest in a decent mic or use krisp.ai if you can’t get a quiet space. Eliminating background noise will make it easier on your colleagues since you’ll be chatting virtually for awhile.

  • Always turn on your video during calls if you can. This helps you maintain proper grooming as well makes your communication a bit more personal.

  • Don’t wait for scheduled meetings to jump on a video call. It should feel as comfortable as tapping your co-worker on the shoulder. A two minute video call is better than only chatting with co-workers during scheduled times.

  • Have a virtual lunch! Get the team together on a video call while you enjoy your lunch. You can also set up hangout chats where you can just catch up.

Nutrition

When you work from home, it’s extremely easy to develop quite the snacking habit, but you also have an opportunity to improve your diet!

  • In order to avoid snacking I do a few things. The first is I keep a glass of water on my desk at all times. When I feel like a snack I drink some water. This works like 90% of the time. For the other 10% I try to focus on snacks that nutrient dense, like yogurt, milk, fruit and nuts.

  • Time to get cookin’. You’re home now which means you have an opportunity to eat a bit healthier if you were doing a lot of take out or dining out for lunch at work. Google 15 minute meals and you’ll be surprised what you can whip together in a very short amount of time. Experiment with some meals and you’ll find a few faves you can make quickly in no time!

  • Avoid the delivery! I went through a phase where I ordered lunch because I didn’t want to spend so much time away from my keyboard. First of all this is generally a sign of overworking and taking breaks is good for you! Second, it takes about an hour for the food to arrive and I found I couldn’t really focus on anything while I was waiting for my lunch to arrive anyway, so I was better off spending 30-45 minutes cooking my own food and eating it.

Written by Kurt Kemple, who lives and works in Virginia Beach, VA.
Developer / Photographer / Videographer / Podcaster / Writer
You should follow him on Twitter