When I set up Techifide as an all-remote company, I was told that “it will never work” and that “people need to be in the office to work well”. Although I understand that remote work is not for everyone, the COVID pandemic proved that it is possible to work remotely and to be as equally productive, or more so than if we were in an office. Many friends of mine, who work for different companies, have reached out to me asking ‘how do you do it?’ or for some tips, so I have written down what I think could be useful to most people working remotely today.
Respect your agenda
Many of you have experienced working more hours than you should have. Probably starting early, having fewer breaks and stopping late. This is probably due to three main factors:
- back to back meetings consuming every second of your day,
- excessive work you committed to or
- lack of something else to do, so you just keep working for as long as you can
Working hours should be respected. Don’t start early and don’t finish late. Set an alarm to remind you when to start and when to stop. It is a matter of discipline. Add at least 2 blocks of 15 minutes to your calendar and dedicate them to yourself. Go for a walk, sit in another room, talk to family members or friends in your household, or just look out the window. Whatever you decide to do, just don’t do work during your work break.
Find a quiet place and make it your office space
When Techifide started, I bought a folding chair and a folding school table, which could be easily hidden under the bed. I didn’t have much money nor space in the apartment, so my bedroom was my office. I used to angle my body towards the window, to make some vitamin D with the help from the sunlight and I could relax my eyes by looking out into the natural light.
Communication is key when it comes to working remotely. It is important to be able to access your documents from the cloud but also to be able to work offline, when an Internet connection is not available.
Before Zoom (the new kid on the block), we had Skype, Google Hangouts, Slack and a few other meeting options. Some people just didn’t see them as work-tools and used them privately instead. Techifide runs on the Google Suite (Workspace) and we use the paid version of Slack. I love Slack – it is fast, fun, easy to integrate with Google, Git, Bitbucket, Jira and a ton of other required systems. If your company prefers, and uses, Microsoft, then Teams is your chat platform and Office 365 (OneDrive) where you store your documents.
Share as much as possible with the right people
Now that we covered the tools part, let’s use them! Documents should really be stored in a cloud based platform. And you should always share those documents with the relevant people. Google Docs and Office365 both allow collaboration, commenting and co-authoring.
This is very important, not only for the business (in the remote chance that you get hit by a bus or leave the company) but also for when you go on holiday, which you should do when you are allowed to.
Go on holiday – for real!
It is easy to go on holiday and take your work with you, especially now that our mobile phones are powerful, mini computers. Disable notifications from apps that are used for work and make sure you book a proper amount of leave. If you can’t go anywhere, change your daily routine, here are a few ideas, which combined can be very relaxing:
- solve a puzzle
- do something new in your garden – don’t do more than you can achieve in 5 days
- play a new game
- read a book
- decorate your house
- write an article about something you like
- start a blog or vlog
- experiment with cooking, if that is not something you usually do
- build a Lego, or a model, miniature
In summary, working remotely is easy to do successfully, with a bit of creativity, communication, technology and discipline. All of us at Techifide are professional remote-workers and the company is built on these principles, so everyone works at their best during their own working hours. This helps us deliver software development solutions for clients across global timezones, every day of the year.