How To Do Remote Work Efficiently
March 26, 2020
Covid-19 has forced all Software companies to adopt Remote Work for their workforce. Anybody who has experience with remote work will tell you that it’s not easy to be productive working remotely. I have had the opportunity of working remotely (The company that I work for is Netherlands based) and I have been working remotely from Pune for a period of more than 7 years. I think this experience gives me some sort of authority to speak on this matter.
Following are some of the tips I can give to people who are new to this kind of lifestyle and mode of working:
- Hardware: The first advice I would give is to invest in good and fast hardware. The companies should give them their developers decently fast machine and also reimburse the Internet connection at the employees’ home. Internet Speed on the upwards of (100 Mbps) should be good. It is also important for calls and meetings over the internet to go smoothly. Imagine someone building their docker containers on a shitty 3g connection. They will lose all hope and motivation from their life. Also, invest in yourself. Buy good monitor/monitors(I feel 24 inches and higher is good and 27 inches is probably the best bet), good keyboard and gaming mouse(better ergonomics) and a good chair. Believe me, you will be way more productive when you are not wrestling with back and hand pain because of poor ergonomics.
- Software: Use software like (rescuetime, wakatime) to track how much of your time is spent and where it is spent. Limit the use of Social Media on your phone or just budget that time, so that you can only use like 15 mins of your time daily on Social Media.
- Routine: The most important thing to remember while working remotely is to follow a routine. People think that working remotely can get rid of their 9-5 routine and work at their own time. This might be true but not advisable. You need to stick to a routine and work only on those hours so that the office work doesn’t creep on your time with family. Try and start your workday as early as possible, to do the work without interruptions. It also helps if your teammates are at different timezone than you are. Also, for some reason, if you need to step out of the home, let your team know so that they won’t be waiting for a reply from you while you are outside.
- Communication: This is the most important thing to remember while you are working remotely. Be explicit and as verbose as possible. Over-communication is better than no communication while working remotely. If something works, update it. If something doesn’t work, make sure you communicate as soon as possible so that team members can help you. I also recently started daily update standups every evening (since all our team is remote because of Covid-19) and I could already see things moving better and clearer.
- Documentation & Testing: While working remotely, you need to do better work. Now, to do better and more correct work, you need to write good code that is documented properly and works correctly (tests to enforce that). With remote work, the only thing that shows you did something is your work and not just you coming to the office. This also means at the end of the day, you need to have something to show for what you achieved/solved that day. This is very hard. If you are having a bad/anxiety-filled day, let your managers know. It’s okay to have a bad day when nothing goes your way. Also, to enable async communication, having good docs with the code is very important. If something can be learned by just reading the docs, then it should be that way.
Also, came across this wonderful list of tips by Mitchell Hashimoto. These tips come from real experience and are very nice.
The force to remote for much of the workforce is going to be very positive but also create a ton of FUD. Lots will “get it” and it’ll work for them and they’ll be forever changed. Many will realize it isn’t as simple as pretending your at-home desk is your in-office desk.— Mitchell Hashimoto (@mitchellh) March 11, 2020