TriggerMesh has employed a globally remote workforce since the very first day. Given the increase of people working from home these days, we thought we’d share helpful tips from TriggerMesh employees that may inspire you as you navigate this new normal.
Be sure to move! Whether it be a walk or a quick lap around the living room. Any movement counts!
Utilize slack, zoom, etc as often as you can so you aren’t completely isolated and can feel the ‘team’ effect.
Clean your workspace each night so you have a fresh start. It doesn’t matter the size of the space, organization goes a long way when you work from home.
Limit the time spent on grocery shopping, transporting kids, etc to after hours and weekends as you normally would have.
Have a colleague/boss that you can check in with and keep a list of tasks and deadlines and any blockers you may encounter prior to the deadlines being met. Communication is key!
Ray George, Communications, Santa Barbara, CA
Develop a daily routine. For me, that is getting coffee first thing, then going through emails and tending to social media accounts followed by tackling all content creation tasks before noon as that’s when I’m most effective. If possible during the lunch hour, I spend time outside in the sun reading. The afternoon is reserved for work tasks that don’t require as much focus. Additionally, a walk and/or an afternoon nap is always a bonus.
Jeff Neff, Jr. Developer, TriggerMesh, Raleigh, NC
Treat it like you’re going into the office. Take a shower before you start working, and wear at least something you would casually wear into the office. Taking your hygiene seriously as you would if you are leaving the house helps you take work from home more seriously. This was Elon Musk’s response to a user on Reddit asking what his single biggest piece of advice for success was.
Knock out mission-critical work and cognitively intensive tasks first thing in the morning. This is solid advice in any situation, but you have a million ways to get distracted in your home. It’s amazing when you have no one over your head, and you’re in your own space, the things you can justify as procrastinating. Yes, cleaning your house is productive instead of working, but it won’t help you if you burn yourself out mentally or physically before you start working.
Set up a dedicated workspace if you don’t already have one. Even if it’s just dedicating part of your living room to being your desk and office like at work. You don’t need to overthink this one. It’s just important to have a space that you go to when you know it’s time to work. Structure your day and take note of how long certain repetitive tasks take. With all of the potential distractions of working at home, it’s important to know how long things take and how long they should take. It’s easier to plan how much you can accomplish and hold yourself accountable to if you’re actually tracking your assignments and tasks.
Set reasonable personal deadlines for tasks based on data from the previous tip. Giving yourself hard deadlines on your work can help you make sure they get met. People tend to take as long as they give themselves to finish stuff. Self limit your internet access during work hours. This may be one of the hardest to adhere to but constantly tabbing back into social media can lead to a ton of wasted time.
Hold yourself accountable, but don’t beat yourself up, and improve by at least 1% every day. In 30 days you will be 30% better at whatever weaknesses you decide need growth. Not bad for a month’s work from home!
Get up, shower, dress as if you were going to an office. It helps to have kids because I bring them to school. Never stay in your PJs:)
Know that sometimes you won’t be productive and it’s OK to procrastinate. At that time it is best to take a break, go workout, go bike, do groceries…whatever. But don’t try to force productivity just because it is between 9-5.
Exercise. It can get stuffy at home, make sure you exercise and take care of your health.
Have a co-working space subscription, go there from time to time.
Instant messages and text do not have verbal queues. So if you feel a conflict arise, then pick up your phone and clear up the air right away. Most likely it is miscommunication.
Pablo Mercado De La Higuera, Architect, Seville, Spain
Set up your office. Other than just making it look nice, know you are going to spend a lot of time in front of your display. So, take some time to care about your lighting, desk, and chair. If you need to attend many meetings, a height-adjustable desk is very welcomed.
Work out. You can go to the gym but there is no need to. Moving away from the home office, grabbing a pair of dumbbells and lightly working out, working the back and abdominal on an exercise mat. It all works. Doing the laundry, ironing, loading the dishwasher are recommended exercises that I practice every day.
Do not context switch on-demand: people will reach out while you are five minutes into a task, the backlog will be full of items, priorities will change, since communications are mostly public you will realize that there are a lot more things to work on, but yet you need to keep your targets to a minimum. Most probably there is a range of hours a day when you don’t expect interruptions, those are the golden hours to achieve what you planned for your cycle.
Chris Baumbauer, Senior Developer, Oakland, CA
Establish a routine that can ground you (always take a shower, morning coffee, afternoon walk, etc).
Have a dedicated space that is not the living room or bedroom to force you to know when to be on vs off the clock.
Make sure to leave the home every once in a while to socialize with other humans (perhaps the toughest part given the shelter in place orders going up at the moment).
As Heather Wilson mentioned, move around a bit. Stand, do push-ups, wrist exercises.
Remember, we’re all in this together. Slack, zoom video, virtual coffee/happy hour.
The one thing that I am still working on is the task list for the day. I have spent the last few years in a constant state of interrupt-driven development.
Mark Hinkle, CEO, Raleigh, NC
The tendency when working from home is to sit at the desk way too long compared to an office where you walk to lunch and meetings. Don’t hesitate to t move around. Take the dog for a walk, if practical multi-task by making calls while you do it.
Having a dedicated space to work in is ideal, I keep an office that is 100% dedicated to work and is physically located away from my bedroom and living room. Though this is not possible for everyone. Don’t rely on written conversation, you miss out on verbal queues and can easily have a misunderstanding pick up the phone or video conference to help prevent a misunderstanding devolving into a more serious situation.
Be cognizant of others’ time zones, try to minimize inconveniences when scheduling across time zones try not to so during lunch or after business hours when you can. The World Clock Meeting Planner is a great resource.
Woodford, Chief Canine Officer, Raleigh, NC
Get up and move around, chase squirrels, or do zoomies in the backyard.
Take a quick nap whenever you can.
Belly rubs are an excellent break between conference calls.
Don’t bark at the UPS man or beg for cookies while you are on a conference call.
Mark has a long history in emerging technologies and open source. Before co-founding TriggerMesh, he was the Executive Director of the Node.js Foundation with membership including Microsoft, IBM, Google, Intel, PayPal, and other industry leaders. Previously, he was the VP of Marketing at The Linux Foundation. Mark joined the Linux Foundation from Citrix where he was the Head of the Citrix Open Source Business Office.