“When working from home I am the master of my work environment. I can create the environment I need to find the focus and workflow needed for the tasks at hand. As a person with Dyslexia this is extra important and specially when it comes to writing and reading, and there’s good scientific backing that creating a focus friendly environment is good for everyone’s output and creativity.”
2020 is a strange year and we live in strange times. The world in large is enforcing the Swedish way of living (ie social distancing). 2020 is by far one of the most thought-provoking years to live in. The most prime real estate is gaping empty, million dollar designer offices are devoid of inhabitants and complete teams went from on-site to distributed in the matter of days.
Bedrooms became offices, kitchens turned in to conference rooms. Your spouse went from someone you met in the catatonic state between picking the kids up after soccer practise and going to bed contemplating how you can switch body and live with (INSTERT THE COOLEST PERSON YOU KNOW HERE) to your closes college and work buddy, even though you don’t work at the same company or line of profession.
As an early millennial working from home is an old concept and the change has come easy to me, sure it’s all relative of course but a 10 is that under budgeted project you ran, without the resources, the internal support, on your own and succeeded and 1 is as hard as making your heart beat. Then this change is a 4. Ever sense I started working in IT the days where I can work from home where a precious luxury and my most productive and constructive workdays. For me working from home makes work more of a pleasant shore then “work”, I get to do fun stuff with cool people from the comfort of my home. But how do you make what was once a pleasant change of environment into a sustainable everyday grind?
For me much of my work output is deriving from focus and that comes from an ambient and quiescent feeling I need to function.
When working from home I am the master of my work environment. I can create the environment I need to find the focus and workflow needed for the tasks at hand. As a person with Dyslexia this is extra important and specially when it comes to writing and reading, and there’s good scientific backing that creating a focus friendly environment is good for everyone’s output and creativity. At home I can turn up the speakers to 11, (and with the magic of technology paus the music when someone calls or open a window to listen to the bird’s chirp (and the neighbor mowing their lawn). I can make the coffee to my taste and I can (even thug I don’t) dress for work on the top, party on the bottom and no one can poke a hole in my little micro work-cosmos.
During the 15 odd years I have been in the IT industry, I have developed some personal Best Practice and way of working that makes working from home more productive and I believe these are a big reason it works so well for me is routine.
Adhere to normal office routines
Dress as if you are going to the office
Groom your hair
Assume that the webcam is always on
Follow the 10 bullets!
- All credit to Tom Sachs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49p1JVLHUos
- Keep your work area well lit
- Keep it organised
- Hardcover notebook
- Keep a black, red and a blue pen at the desk
- If you can switch it up ones in a while
- Work from a park
- Work from a café
- Work from your balcony
- Get a “debugging rubber duck” to help you!
- Maintain your computer as if it is a family heirloom
- Keep a clean desktop
- If you BYOD – Use two different accounts one for work, one for fun!
- Keep it dust free and clean, take a few minutes every other day to wipe it clean of the breadcrumbs, dip and dust
- Invest in (from most to least important)
- Office Chair
- A proper desk
(Screen (24’’ or bigger)
- Mouse and keyboard
- Mechanical keyboard
- Proper webcam
Schedule your workday
(my schedule, adopt to your own habits)
- Alarm 07:00
- Wake up 07:00- 07:30
- Start TV morning show (as company)
- Kiss girlfriend if home / Send a cute SMS
- Daily to-do 07:30 08:00
- Read Emails
- Prioritize and Archive
- Check to-do
- Move tasks to today
- Ad new tasks
- Review backlog
- Acquire more coffee
- Start workday 08:00
- Respond to emails
- Start to-do grind
- Physical activity 09:30(10 pushups, 10 high jumps or 10min walk around the house)
- Lunch 11:30
- Lunch 30min
- Lunch walk 10-30min
- Continue workday
- Revise to do and priority
- Continue grind
- Physical activity 13:30
- Check to do and priority
- Continue grind
- Turn of computer 17:00
- Keep track of time. It’s easy to forget to stop working when you are in the office every day, all day.
- RESPECT YOUR SPOUES MEETINGS!
The hardest part with working from home is the everyday non-work-related social interactions. The office “fikas”, the coffee machine banter and the wind-up and wind-down period I had while commuting. I truly miss my colleagues and the casual discussions that an office provides. Luckily, I have a trusted circle of coworkers and old colleges that I touch base with on a regular basis, just to and catch up ask for help or just casually talk to. As a social extrovert this is my lifeline in a world without an office. All that’s needed is a 15min call to quiet the need for social non-work-related discussion.