So a couple months ago I took a job that allowed me to work from home, and I wanted to share my experience so far.
There are plenty of great articles and blogs out there like Goodbye To The Office
, Your Office Chair is Killing You
, Top 10 Home Office Hacks
, Jeff Atwood on Working Remotely
, and many, many others. Just google working remotely
or telecommuting tips
and you'll see what I mean.
So after doing a bit of reading and making a few small changes in both my work flow and my home office, here are my suggestions...
Perks of working at home
- Make your home office shine
or better yet - make your home office make you shine. Having a comfortable and versatile work environment is huge. Not only are you working at home, but you're also living at home... you better like it there.
I find that versatility is huge for productivity. Being able to change up my work position and location is great. I've set my office up so that I can work while sitting at a desk, on a couch, or even standing. and of those three, I completely endorse standing and working - I've been standing 95% of the time for over 2 months.
- Stand up for yourself
I'm not the most in-shape dude in the world, but making the switch to stand-up working has been amazing. It was a bit straining on my neck and hamstrings for the first week, but since then - I've felt great. I find that I'm WAY more productive and can stay WAY more focused while standing. If for some reason I do get fatigued, I switch to sitting for a bit.
Standing is also great because at the end of the work day - I actually feel like I worked. I want to sit down and relax for a minute. I never had that with my previous office jobs... I like it.
If you want to give stand-up working a try (and I hope that you do)
- Get an anti-fatigue mat, seriously. It's your new office chair and helps a TON.
- Try not to use a laptop, or at least get an external monitor for it so that you can look straight ahead as opposed to down. This is just better posture and helps with the neck pain quite a bit.
- Check out the Geek Desk. I just got mine and it rules! I can switch from standing to sitting on my yoga ball with the flip of a switch.
The next huge (and probably obvious) way to stay productive at home is communication. When you're not working together in an office, everyone has to make a real effort to communicate. In my situation, our whole team sends short update emails daily - basically just a list of what you did yesterday and what you will do today. We're also on IM all day, use Basecamp extensively, and have weekly video chat meetings. I highly recommend all of these things.
- Get in the zone
GET. IN. THE. ZOOONE. sorry... but seriously, find a way to get in the zone somehow. For me it's blaring music and dancing around while I'm stand-up working. This is much easier to do at home than it is in the office. ;)
- Visit the office
Even though today's technology makes working remotely way easier, there's still something to be said for in-person face-time. I'm 1800 miles from my office... So in my situation, I fly in to spend a week with the team quarterly. It's great for our relationships and great for being able to focus on the product together.
Challenges with working at home
- Not having to commute to work has saved a ton of money and wear on my car
- Not eating out every day has also saved a lot of money. Plus I am eating healthier and have easy access to great snacks.
- Having my own, clean bathroom.
- Being able catch up on house projects, mow the lawn, run errands, etc. Not having to commute or take lunch breaks near the office gives me about 2 extra hours a day.
- Being able to work on the back porch, in the sun, shirtless (cause I be stuntin like my daddy).
Aside from the obvious challenge of staying productive, the biggest challenge for me is probably showering every day, haha. A lot of people say that a good way to stay productive is to start your day like you normally would when going into the office - take a shower, eat breakfast, get dressed, etc. I'm finding this doesn't really help me. I like to roll out of bed, eat, slam a dewski, and start rocking it.
But I do find that showers make really nice breaks (as long as I remember to shower).... and I'm way more comfortable wearing gym shorts these days.
Keeping your home life separate from your work life can be a bit of a challenge... but it's also sort of a perk. With everything being at home, it's much easier to break for something I need to do in my personal life and spend a bit more time working in the evening.
- Take plenty of breaks. Everyone gets burnt out or hits brick walls, even after a couple hours. Take a few minutes to play with the dog, ride your skateboard around the block, weed the garden, take a shower, whatever. I've come back rocking so hard after nearly all my short breaks.
- Keep a sigg, nalgene, klean kanteen, or just plain ol glass of water nearby. I'm really bad at this, but always trying to get better. Staying hydrated totally helps.
- Keeping your office clean helps you stay focused.
- Work without pants on. Trust me.
So yea... aside from all that - I'd say that one of the best parts of working from home is that every single day feels like the most productive Saturday you've ever had.
I love that.