Working from home in a time of uncertainty

1. Make your routine flexible

I start every morning with a routine that goes something like this:

  • Wake up
  • Shower (and shave, if necessary)
  • Read, draw and/or journal (with coffee!)
  • Stretch
  • Start breakfast
  • Get dressed
  • Finish & eat breakfast
  • Take the dogs out
  • Do the dishes
  • Personal projects (if there’s time)
  • Start work

2. Start work at the same time, let your team know when that changes

Teams work best when they share a set of core hours. Whether it’s 2 or 8 hours of overlap, being able to reliably get a response from a teammate during the hours we’ve all agreed on makes working together remotely much more efficient and pleasant.

  1. It demonstrates that I respect others’ time.
  2. It makes it more likely that others will let me know when they’re running late.

3. Pair with others often

Remote work can get lonely. Whenever possible, I try to find ways to pair on tasks with others. Extreme Programming (XP) practices like pairing do not only apply to software developers.

4. Try timing yourself (and maybe turn off notifications)

Sometimes there’s nobody to pair with or a task just makes more sense to do on my own. In these cases, I’ve found that it’s best to “time box” to stay focused on the task and not get distracted by other ancillary pieces of work — or worse, Twitter!

5. Take breaks, and remind others when you’re on one

When working from home, it can be easy to forget to take a break. Since working at Pivotal Labs, I’ve learned that taking just 10 minutes away from the computer can help solve even the most difficult of problems.

  1. It lets everyone know who is unavailable (and by contrast, who is available) at any given moment.
  2. It reminders other team members that they should consider taking a break, maybe even remotely together!

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Daniel E. Sandoval

Daniel E. Sandoval

Putting the human experience first. Developing solutions to make it better. http://DESandoval.net