Have you ever thought about global things like, how the invention of electricity changed the way we live? How the invention of the internet changed the way we work, learn, recreate and etc.? 21st century brought us processes like globalization, digitalization and automation.
For us, being a custom software development company, those processes are not new, we have employees working both in office and remotely, but this year and specifically COVID-19 situation made an impact on the whole world. Now it is a hot topic on whether to keep an office or switch fully to a remote development team format, when each and every employee choses by himself to work from home, cafe, library, summerhouse or any other option.
In this post we would like to share the Diatom Enterprises team’s accumulated experience on different tips and hints, how to organize your work when you want or need to work remotely.
1. Prepare a designated working area. Ideally you should have a separate small room or a balcony (if climate allows) which you should equip at least with a sufficiently ergonomic table, chair and light. Do not try to save money and buy cheap furniture, in the long run – your spine and health in general will thank you for buying the desk and chair that fits your body type. Also, think about the PC setup. Laptop, additional monitors, sound, HD webcam, UPS and etc.
2. There will be cases when the working area will be in the common area, so it is very important to set up some ground rules, when your family knows that you are not just sitting home, but also actually working and they need to keep it quiet or at least try to bother you as little as possible. Distracting and losing focus will impact the speed and quality of your work.
3. Last option when working at home is not possible, there are options like using coworking areas, renting out your own small office, using public libraries or quiet coffee houses. There is always room for improvisation; you just need to find the best option for yourself.
4. Daily routine. If you wake up, immediately grab your laptop, start working and you think that you are being efficient – wrong, you are just being lazy. The fact that you decided to work from home does not mean that you have to neglect usual morning routine and rituals, like exercising, cooking breakfast, grocery shopping, running errands and other stuff. Yes, you do save time on commute to/from work, but the rest of your life must remain the same, otherwise you will slowly start to abandon good parts in your life and just turn your day into a one long working day. If you do that, it will take a huge amount of time to return to a normal way of living, so our advice is to think through what you are planning to do during the day other than working.
5. Grooming. This is a follow-up subject from the previous topic. Some people might not see the need to wash their hair and wear smart-casual clothes at home. Yes, there might be exceptions, but most people working in the IT industry have daily meetings and some of them actually require talking with your webcam on. Is it a good practice to be always prepared for an urgent call with a client, when your appearance matters, so being groomed every day benefits you both from work etiquette perspective and personal hygiene as well.
6. Adapting to client hours and your schedule. We discussed that working remotely saves your time at least on commute, but there are still other responsibilities like driving children to kindergarten, school, training etc. There will be cases when a call with a client is scheduled on the same time when you usually have to go to some other place. Try to communicate in advance what time-frame is more suitable both for you and client to have the call, in order not to shift work/life balance on any side. Also, thinking these things through, try to come up with Plan B, like joining from a mobile phone or asking your husband/wife to pick up kids from school this day.
7. Bonus tip. Change the way you look at the world and life. If you do not like changes and working from home seems too complicated to you – do not force it, give it some time and focus on positive things. Look at it as a possibility to improve food consumption and learn how to cook, rather than ordering take out. Never had time to exercise? – Instead of doing coffee/smoking breaks – do quick exercises at home.
We might have missed some other minor things that are less important or more individual, but one thing is for sure – due to COVID-19 whole world will change and also Diatom Enterprise processes already started to transform, remote development team approach will become more common and custom software development company as a service – will also have to adapt to new way of living and working.