10 Tips for working from home
Flexible working at its best – sweatpants, a dog and a carefully curated Spotify playlist.
Depending on who I speak to, working from home is either ‘the dream’ or ‘a living nightmare’. While it has its challenges, being a remote worker has drastically improved my work-life balance and helped me to be much more effective during my working day.
Although working remotely is common for many blockchain enthusiasts, here’s my suggestions for getting the most from wherever you choose to work.
Don’t wait for the new year, join a Gym
You heard me right! Tip #1 is honestly to join a gym – or at least make sure you factor some exercise into your day. This sounds simple, but we all know that exercise is often what gets deprioritised when busy schedules get in the way. If you feel guilty for not squeezing in that spin class when you’re in the office, you’ll feel even worse if you don’t make it on a work from home day.
Book out that yoga class, run or whatever it is that will help you feel good and clear your thoughts.
Get dressed for work
From the slightly unexpected to the obvious: if you’re working from home for more than two consecutive days, it’s easy to fall into the trap of waking up and immediately getting stuck into your emails. Stick with your usual routine; get washed, get dressed and feel fresh for a productive day ahead. That said, one or two pyjama days never hurt anyone.
Schedule down time
Whether it’s a 30-minute lunch break or a ten-minute coffee break – you need to step away from the laptop at some point. Most of us know deep down the damage sitting at a desk all day can do (eye problems, bad posture, headaches to name a few). In addition to making time to exercise, book out time to take a lunch break or step outside – and stick to it.
As a remote worker, I’m always surprised by how quickly I can feel disconnected from the rest of my team. To get around this, make sure you’re having regular calls to avoid any miscommunication over email or text. Even if the weekly call isn’t business related, don’t underestimate the importance of knowing how your team members are feeling. If you were working face to face you would probably factor personal circumstances into any plans you’re working on – for example, if a colleague was feeling unwell or was having a bad week, you would allow a little extra time for delivery. Not working side-by-side is no excuse for lack of empathy.
Set up your space
Another obvious one, but if you’ve ever made your bed your desk or worked in front of the tv you should take note! There’s a reason so many big companies make you take that annual health and safety test – spare yourself the future back, neck and shoulder ache and set your desk up properly.
Not only is it essential for your health long term, but it makes for an easier working day – whether you’re deep in Smart Contract code or in back-to-back Skype calls.
Consider a desk co-work
Working from home with my dog is great, but every now and then it’s nice to have some human interaction to break up the day! This links back to point 4, too. In a traditional office set up you might have had a friend or co-worker in a different team that you could vent too.
Sharing your problems with someone impartial (and hearing other people’s predicaments) doesn’t just help you see things from a different perspective – it forces you to take a step back and remember it’s only work. If you’re part of a global blockchain team, it’s easy to underestimate the real value of ‘inter-office’ relations and employee engagement initiatives. This isn’t just corporate ideology: wherever you work, to do your best work you need to love what you do – and liking who you work with still plays a huge part in any project.
If you’re working from home a lot, a desk co-work can be a great way to bounce ideas and stay positive.
Pick a playlist
Background noise: compared to a busy office, the silence of an empty house can be deafening (assuming your kids aren’t home). Avoid the temptation to plonk yourself in front of Netflix until you’re done for the day– personally I’ve always found tv too distracting. Instead, I now have a go-to Spotify playlist (everything from Maribou State, Velvet Underground to the first Jungle album, since you asked). These are usually tracks or albums I’ve obsessed over, but since forgotten about; enough to keep me motivated without making me want to dance round the front room.
Distractions and boundaries
Working from home means just that, and you may need to gently remind friends and family your convenient location doesn’t mean you can do two jobs at once (like childcare and cleaning) and it also isn’t an automatic green light to hit the pub early. For me, my biggest work from home distraction will always be social media. Although social media is a huge part of my day job, I force myself to switch off notifications and log out of my accounts for most of my working day.
Update your team
You’ve logged on earlier than usual, flown through your to do list and got way more done than you expected. Great! But does anyone else know? Don’t wait for your team members to ask; take five minutes to update them. Whether its via email, Telegram or Discord – let them know your progress. One of the biggest issues I’ve seen with remote workers is everyone working harder not smarter: keep your team updated and avoid awkward crossover where two of you have been working for hours on the same thing.
These regular updates will also help you spot when a team member is being underutilised, or at worst feels left out of the equation.
Log off on time!
Working from home doesn’t mean your home becomes work! Do what you can and log off on time. Neglecting your work life balance, family and need for downtime doesn’t benefit you or your project in the long run.
With a Global Team built largely from volunteers, Project POMA allows remote collaborative working with lots of flexibility. Using tools such as Trello, Telegram and Discord to keep in touch the team can provide important updates on projects across timezones.
If you would like to see if you can take part, please join the Global Team and find out more.
Guest writer and blockchain newbie,
Social Media and Marketing Consultant