After spending some time last year working from home, I’ve quickly written up ten rules that kept me sane and helped retain my focus throughout the day.
1: Shower & Shave.
Dress for the job as normal - It’ll make you less reluctant to go on video (see below), and make the day feel more ‘real’.
2: Leave the house / exercise.
In the morning I either walk for coffee or go for a short cycle and then walk the dog after lunch. Try not to use any devices and instead use it to clear your head.
3: Have somewhere you can work both standing and sitting.
Alternate. Do not use the sofa; you are mentally conditioned to relax there. Try to use a chair with good back support, and have your monitor at eye level to prevent neck strain.
4: Designate an office space.
Ideally a room with minimal distractions that you can leave once the working day is over. Working and relaxing in your lounge will give you cabin fever.
5: Conference calls are synchronous; Slack/email is asynchronous.
Get comfortable with both. Try to respond promptly regardless. Over-communicate and document outcomes.
6: Always be ready to go on video.
Cameras should be enabled by default on conference calls, and only disabled on poor connections. Try to establish an open channel that acts as a hangout space for people to be part of (even if they’re permanently muted).
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7: Use headphones with a dedicated microphone.
Record yourself speaking into the microphone and listen to it. Is it clear? Does it pick up a load of background noise? Most communication software will allow you to modify your input threshold to fix this. If you’re not speaking, mute yourself.
8: Be proficient with all of your communication software.
Get comfortable creating and joining rooms, sharing your screen, generating meeting invites / etc.
9: Don’t work an extra handful of hours each day.
Spend the time you save commuting on yourself, spend time with family, etc.
10: Pimp yo ride.
You’ll be spending 40+ hours per week working here, so try to make it as inviting as possible. Plants / artwork / lighting can really make a difference. I recently wrote about my remote setup.