How to Work Remotely: Practical Tips

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😎 These tips are obviously biased and focused on developers.

Home Office

  • Designate a room as your office. This helps keeping home and work separated. At the very least, designate a desk, even if the room isn’t empty, where everything is off-limits: notebooks, post-it notes, pens, coffee mugs, and so on. Think kids, cats, or dogs.
  • Let your colleagues know when you are online, and make sure to be available via a chat app or email.
  • Routine #1: Keep a routine. Force a routine. Start at the same time, have a lunch break and stop at the end of the day.
  • Routine #2: Work whenever you know you are the most productive. I like to take a break around 4pm and then get back to work around 9 or 10pm. This might even help if other work colleagues are in different timezones.
  • Don’t forget to log your time if you have to.
  • Keep notes of everything you do. I use a spreadsheet for tasks, and I also use a Markdown file in my IDE for quick notes and bookmarks.
  • Use a ticket tracker. You do use one, don’t you?

Conference Calling

  • Assume every meeting is a remote meeting.
  • Send meeting details well ahead of time.
  • Speak English at all times if there is more than one language.
  • Use a tool such as Slack, Zoom, Discord, or Google Hangouts.
  • Try a chat-based meeting before a video-based one.
  • Stable internet connections are important.
  • Send a summary with actions to take via mail as a follow-up, or add them to your ticket tracker. You do use one, don’t you?

(Mental) Health

  • Stick to a routine.
  • When possible, go for a daily walk or jog to get some fresh air.
  • Take breaks away from the work station once in a while.
  • Set up regular catch-ups to talk on-topic or off-topic with your colleagues, or attend online meetups.
  • Take sick days when you’re ill. You can always catch up on a weekend.
  • Only work when you know are productive, otherwise you are just burning out.

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