5 Productive Remote Work Tips

Posted on 18th July 2019

The third and final part in a series of articles on working remotely.

Some estimates put the US remote developer workforce at 10%.

There’s a real shift in the industry towards offering developers the freedom of remote work. Yet adjusting to remote work can be difficult. Here’s 5 tips to help you adjust to remote work.

Tip 1: Set Boundaries

Some of the people I’ve spoken with have said that the hardest part of working from home is setting the boundary between home and work.

When you work from an office, boundaries come with the territory. The office is a place for work, it’s not your own space and it doesn’t come with your home comforts built in.

Never work in your PJs or night clothes. I always have a shower before work and change into something else. Not only does it look better if you need to make a video call, but it helps put you in the right frame of mind for work.

Set assign a room or space specifically for your home office. You need this to limit distractions.

Lastly, let family members in the house know that just because you’re home, it doesn’t mean you’re “home”. By this I mean that you can’t just put everything down and chat during the day unless you’re on a break. Working from home isn’t free time, and you need to respect this.

Tip 2: Your Setup

The importance of having the right office setup cannot be stressed enough, it will help you achieve a high productivity level and appear professional.

  • Microphone - We’ve all been on a call with that guy who sounds like he’s in a wind tunnel, don’t be that guy. I invested in a cheap TONOR USB microphone. The audio quality is very good and it didn’t break the bank.
  • Monitor - I found that looking at a laptop screen for many hours put a strain on my eyes. I also had to bend down a lot which caused cramps. Getting a good external monitor and stand is highly recommended.
  • Keyboard - Most laptop keyboards and not ergonomic. I personally use the Corsair K55.
  • A Quiet Place - Hard work requires concentration. I don’t recommend working from your living room if there’s other people in the house. Try to set aside a room specifically for work during the day.
  • Stable Internet connection - This one is simple, you can’t rely on 3g internet for a stable internet connection. Make sure that you either have ethernet or a good WIFI connection before setting up your home office. Remember that WIFI extenders can help mitigate blackspots.
  • Comfortable Chair & The Right Desk - As a 190cm tall man, these are essential to prevent back aches. My recommendation is to try the chair before you buy.

Tip 3: Morning Routines Are Important

When I worked an office job, I woke at 6:30 to exercise and leave home at 7:45 to arrive at work for 8:30. That was my morning routine.

Some people forget that that they need a morning routine when working remotely. If you need to start working at 8:30, then waking up at 8:15 is not going to place you in the correct state of mind for productive working.

You need a strict morning routine when working from home too. Wake up at the same time you would normally for office work. Use the time you’d normally spend commuting to exercise and self-improve.

I use the extra free time in the morning to learn new skills and research new technologies.

Tip 4: Take Breaks

I either take a 5 minute break once an hour or a 10 minute break every two hours, then between 30 minutes to an hour for lunch during a normal 9 hour working day.

These are short enough breaks to not lose track of what i’m working on, but still long enough to give myself a breather and take some perspective on my task.

Tip 5: Don’t Become Invisible

I’ve talked before about having a daily stand-up with your team every morning.

It’s easy for remote workers to become invisible during the day if you rarely communicate. This is especially true if you are the only remote worker in the team.

Make the extra effort and keep in touch with your team during the day.

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Article Categories: working remotely

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A tech blog by Andy P. I talk about coding, tech, games design & other things that interest me.