Tips on Working Remotely
March 13th 2020
Amid the chaos of COVID-19, more and more companies are requiring their employees to work from home, and colleges are switching their classes to online-only. For those who have never worked from home before, this can be a huge culture shock.
At RokkinCat, our employees are free to work from home. Many of us permanently work from home, and some of us stay home here and there. However, we've all figured out ways to keep ourselves engaged while working at home and we'd like to share a few tips to get you through the next few months! If you have any questions beyond these tips or want to share your own, get in touch with us!
Lyzzi - Fully remote for 2.5 years
Moving from office to home is a huge change in social interaction. To minimize loneliness, we have daily video calls, called "coffee pot", to stay in contact with each other. In the mornings we open a Meet or Zoom meeting and chat as if we were all in the office. Occasionally we have calls during lunch or Friday happy hour. We also use basecamp not only for project management, but to chat with each other throughout the day.
Jason - Remote on and off
Planning for low-time commitment tasks to break up the day. I found that I'd get more sucked into my laptop while working from home and forget to stand up and "hit the water cooler". Ex. Baking bread, load of laundry, taking the dog for a walk around lunch.
Cortney - Fully remote just over 1 year
Take care of things that might distract before getting started. Before work, I dedicate at least 30 minutes to spending time playing with Apollo (my dog). My biggest distraction during the day is helping take care of him, and if I work to tire him out before I have to concentrate, I feel less guilty and I'm better able to focus on work (and he's also sleepy enough to not bother me to go for 12,000 walks a day).
Communication and cooperating with family is critical (a.k.a. develop a "do-not-disturb" signal). This has been the hardest thing for me to figure out, for no reason other than it is difficult to not be seen as "being home and available" to help with chores/walking puppy/etc. I've discussed with Tommie (my fiancé) what works best for both of us, and we agreed that whenever I close the door, it's my "do-not-disturb" sign that I need to focus on work.
Brendan - Remote for 1 year
Keep your work space as clean and organized as possible. I often noticed that when I let things start to get messy, it reflected the state of my mind.
Also, if you have family at home it’s important to get them on board with the fact that although you’re home, you aren’t really home. To keep distractions and frustration to a minimum, I found that scheduling breaks and family time throughout the day gives my family the structure and attention needed to remain cohesive.
Sean - Remote on and off
I've found that it's best to pretend I'm working from the office. Get out of bed at the same time every day, get dressed and put on shoes as if I were going to walk to work. Then go and set up my computer at my home desk. Maintaining that routine makes me feel like it's time to do work, and not time to relax at home.
It's also important to not attempt to work from the couch because holding a laptop while sitting on the couch results in horrible posture and you will be sore by the end of the day. Buying a nice office chair to keep at home is worthwhile. I love my Herman Miller Aeron, but I've heard the Steelcase Gesture is good too. A standing desk is also a good option.
Naomi - Remote for 6 months
You should invest in your tools, especially if that investment helps reduce stress on your body. Get a standing desk, an ergonomic keyboard and chair; treat your home office like your work office.
Make sure you get outside and spend time with friends/family. As an introvert it's very easy for me to stay inside for entire days, but very damaging to my mental health.
Jake - Fully remote for 2 years
I psychologically get myself in the work groove. I have a desk lamp that I turn on when it's time to start working. I've also found that a specific music playlist only used for working helps too.
Find a hobby outside of work and build it into your routine. I personally go to a jiu jitsu gym in the evenings. This keeps you social on days that you wouldn't otherwise go outside.
Mitch - remote infrequently, probably less than once a week
Write things down. This includes more personal items like stuff you plan to work on, stuff you did, and stuff you don't want to forget. Also includes recording any communications and decisions made on calls, in chat, etc. for the benefit of the people that weren't present. I mostly use Notes.app (and Basecamp), but there are a billion options.
Double or triple efforts to stay connected with colleagues or other people in the community. Sharing micro and macro physical space means there's a chance you see those people and have conversations you didn't have to schedule or plan. Coffee pot is a good example of this, and being intentional about making non-serious work time for that is important. (It's an area of weakness for me as a less outgoing person)
Josh - Fully remote for 4 years
Do a little home workout or go for a walk around lunch. It's a great way to split up the day and get some movement like you would at the office. Along with that, drink plenty of water. I always have 2 glasses filled on my desk and try to drink at least 6 throughout the day. It keeps me hydrated, I drink less coffee/soda, and makes me get up and move to go to the bathroom.
Sometimes you do need a change of scenery and need to work in a different place to keep being productive, so treat yourself to working on the couch for a bit or find a good place to stand and work (I would previously go to coffee shops before the current need for social distance).