Managing working remotely

A personal opinion. By Lehel Mátyus


Ordered by priority

  1. Work environment and work habits.(the hip coffee shop working dude myth)
  2. Staying up to date with evolving coding standards (“oh you guys moved on from SVN?”)
  3. Work bleeding into personal life (still working at 8-9pm)
  4. Managing home related distractions.
  5. Getting bored.
  6. Missing water cooler chat and not staying in the flow of what’s cool.

How to overcome challenges

  1. Work environment and work habits.
  • For start clone your previous office environment, same type of desk arrangement same type of monitors.
  • Set up work corner or work room, put ONLY work related things in that space.
  • Work space in the house and work space in the mind.
  • Treat it as a sacred corner.
  • Wake up early to have 2 hours before starting work,
  • Have a plan and have a routine: Wake up, gym, breakfast, work.
  1. Staying up to date with evolving coding standards
  • Communication with co-workers. Meetings set up just for this purpose only.
  • Ask and answer questions. How would you do this (ask even if you already did it.) How would you have done this?
  • Merge strategies and suggest as a new standards. Suggest suggest suggest, don’t worry if it never gets adopted.
  • Debug common issues on skype to learn by stealing knowledge.
  1. Work bleeding into personal life
  • Create you own lunch break.
  • Have a 1h break even if you are sitting and waiting for the break to end to jump back in.
  • Start at a certain hour and end at a certain hour.
  • When working from home you will find “important” stuff that you will need to take care, write them down and take care of them in the afternoon.
  • Force yourself to stop at a certain time. Work ends at 6:30pm. Or you will burn out.
  1. Managing home related distractions.
  • No house chores can get to you while you are in work corner.
  • Have planned breaks. Pomodoro technique.
  • Something will always pop up in your mind, write it down and do it on breaks.
  • Become a Zen master. “When he sleeps, he sleeps. When he eats, he eats.” consequently: When he works he works.
  1. Listen to radio, podcasts don’t work takes too much focus power. Have radio control with you, lower volume when need to focus.
  • Reward yourself. “2 more pomodorro’s and I’ll drink another coffee.”
  • Stare outside the window, good for your eyes too.
  • Pick up the laptop work on the balcony for half hour.
  1. No Solution yet but send some cat photos on slack from time to time.

Conclusion: Put down Rules. Help everyone in house understand rules even before you start working remotely. You find you will try to bend the rules a little now and then at least you have a solid rule to come back to when you bent the rules too much.

Positive effects

  • Better at managing work related distractions. I will get back to you in 8 minutes. (when my pomodoro stops).
  • Great way to get organized in your personal life, you have to get more organized for work so you might as well get organized in you personal life.
  • More relaxed breaks because less stress if time is managed well.
  • Home cooked meal.
  • Back pains go away.
  • Relaxed clothes.
  • Fun.