A lot of us have been advised to work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, especially here in the Seattle area. I've had to work from home quiet a bit in my role previously as a developer advocate and even now as a software engineer. Here's some advice from myself and other people I've spoken to about this:

Pretend you're still going to work

Get up, shower, get dressed, make some breakfast, or whatever your usual routine is. Just pretend that you're still physically going to work and follow that routine. This should help get you in the mindset of "okay, I'm at work now".

Also make sure to set clear working hours; boundaries are important!

Setup a clean working environment

This is a big one for me, I can't work if my personal space is cluttered. Make sure you clean up your workspace everyday to ensure you feel comfortable. This can also help avoid distractions, especially if you're like me and chores steal your attention away.

Decluttering can mentally prepare us for other activities
headspace has a good blog about this

It's also useful to have a clear separation of "this is my working space" and "this is my living space". Living in a tiny apartment in Seattle, that separation for me is sofa (as in I have a sofa that separates my desk from my living room, it makes it feel like I have two rooms in one!)

Communicate with your team

Make sure you keep all regular meetings in place and make them virtual, including 1:1's. Tools like Teams and Slack are really great for this. We also have the power of virtual whiteboards and screen-sharing, so there shouldn't be much that we can't do remotely!

Turn on your camera to humanise your interactions with others, it really does help you feel like more of a team when you can see each other and communicate often. Some people even suggest setting up a virtual "water cooler" environment for people to just talk and hang out.

Take breaks away from your workspace

Don't forget to take breaks, and do so away from your workspace. Go for a walk or go grab a coffee. Or maybe even just take a breather in your own living space and so anything not work related. I try to practice some of my bass scales during breaks to clear my head, especially when I'm stuck on a technical problem.

Don't forget to exercise and get your steps in

Move around! Staying put in one place is really not great for you. Make sure to get your steps in, and if possible, get out for some fresh air during your breaks.

That's all I have for now! If you have any other suggestions on how to best optimise productivity whilst working from home, I'd love to hear them.


Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash