Thoughts and Suggestions for Working at Home posted

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...
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Communicate
    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.
  4. 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. ;)
  5. 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.
Perks of 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).
Challenges with working at home
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.

Other suggestions
  • 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.

comments

  • Also...



    1) Hide your xbox/ps3/wii.

    2) Music on all the time. (Already noted, but again for emphasis. It really helps).

    3) Don't look at your bed. Close the door to your bedroom.

    4) Take breaks often. (Again, emphasis). I get up and move about every 15-30 minutes to refill my beverage or choice, or to pee, take a shower, harass my kitten with nerf guns, hang myself (depending on how the day is going, yanno?), doesn't matter really. Just keep moving.

    5) Have a beer. I usually like to get the party started an hour or two before my work day ends. Why the hell not? They can't see me. I just avoid conference calls and emails if I start getting a little spinny.

    darth vader posted

  • You be stuntin like ya daddy! Good luck Kari in about 20 years

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