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Working from home - Starter Kit 

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. 

Some people want to. Some people are forced to.

Before you begin, remember one thing. Practice makes perfect. Keep practicing, and you'll be a master of remote work!

Yes, it might be frustrating at first. We love our old habits. New habits can be a challenge. So be patient and mindful about your experience. Talk openly with your colleagues and teammates. They are in the same "home office challenge" situation like you.

Here is a list of basics to help you prepare for working from home!

1. Design your home office space 

Feeling distracted at home? That's understandable! Dishes, laundry, family members and neighbors can all be distractions.

SOLUTION
So first thing first, create a dedicated "office space" in your home. Pick a quiet spot in the house. It can be a creative corner or (ideally) a room. Stay close to fresh air and natural light. Dedicate it only to work use. Add a desk, suitable chair, plants and a few personal items. The office should spark joy when you see it.

2. Separate the personal from professional 

Keep your personal life separate from your work life!

HOW? Get in one mindset. Work mindset or personal mindset. When you're "in work mode," decide only to focus on work-related tasks. When you're not in work mode, focus only on personal tasks.

TECH SOLUTION
Create 2 separate accounts in your browser. One for corporate and one for personal use. Keep your social media accounts in your private account. You don't want to get distracted by friends and other matters.

3. Set rules with your family or roommates

How do you set rules with your family or roommates? It sounds scary, but it's actually simple!

SOLUTION
Make basic rules. These rules tell them when you are available and not available. Here's some examples. If you have your headset on, you are not open to talk. When the door is open, they can come in, when the door is closed, they should not. And talk to the kids, so they understand. When the door is closed, they should do their homework, or play with toys. 

4. Collaborate with colleagues ... better

Yes, we all have the tools to collaborate. Internet and mobile-first tools are everywhere! However, there's a better way to collaborate.

BETTER HOW? Remember, collaborating from home is more about writing than talking. Only schedule meetings for unique situations or emergencies. Have fewer meetings!

TECH SOLUTIONS
Instead of meetings, use more files and wikis. Use tools like Google Drive, Notion.io, or Confluence. First, introduce your idea in writing. Share it with your colleagues. Give them time to read it. They can access the shared files and add ideas.  

5. Chat! Chat! Chat!

Are you already using a group chat solution for work?

TECH SOLUTIONS
Messengers such as Slack, Discord, and Twist help organize the business topics into channels. You can choose which team members have access to each channel. That way, the channels are always relevant. Channels can be divided by purpose, department or project.

Is the purpose to just chat? Create a #random channel. This will be your "water cooler" space. Is the purpose to inform the whole team? Create a #general channel is for key announcements and important news.

REMOTE IT WORLD TIP!
A mobile phone can be useful for client-facing roles. Use it for client communication, and use chat for company communication. 

6. Do daily check-ins

You just need a daily 30 minute call to foster collaboration.

HOW? Set the agenda in advance. Follow it each day. Use the 3-question technique from Scrum methodology. Invite every member to answer for themselves. What did you do yesterday? What you are going to do today? Do you need any help?

Keep each other accountable, even in a flat company structure. Support and help each other.  Have a task management system in place. That will help everyone see the progress and status of projects.

7. Meetings are the "dessert "

When you have a video meeting, it should be an amazing experience. Like dessert!

You don't want poor audio or video quality, right? So let's pick some great solutions.

TECH SOLUTIONS
Zoom is a popular choice. It has great audio and video quality for unlimited attendees. GoogleMeet also works just fine. Skype can be an option too because it is a familiar platform.

8. Connect with other people 

Stay social. Stay alive. Stay happy!

Luckily, we can use the computer for social fun too, not just for work. 

In a normal work situation, go out as much as possible. Join a sport. Or find a hobby! You can choose cooking classes, hiking, or photography clubs. Just find something that will bring that social element into your life. 

Alternatively, you can sign up for Remo.co online events and meet extraordinary people while staying home.

9. Keep your inner motivation high

There are 2 types of motivation: internal and external.

The problem? External motivation is temporary! Your salary, benefits and perks will not motivate you forever.

SOLUTION
Think about your internal motivation. What moves you personally? What are your core values? They usually don’t change much, if at all. Do you passionately care about people and their experience? Do you put family first and feel motivated to support them? Find your internal motivation. Recognize it and remember it. It will keep you motivated.

10. Don’t overwork yourself

Sometimes it "hurts" to stop working. Many remote workers feel the need to work, work, work all of the time. Why? They may be passionate about the work. However, more often, they may feel pushed. Remote work is often focused on results and deliverables. So, if they stop working, they feel unproductive. This is "overworking yourself." It's not healthy or productive.

Maybe you work 12 hours every day for a week, but you didn't finish the job. Your boss doesn't see that! They only see the results. It will look like you didn't work at all. It's better to work smarter, not harder.

HOW? Don't forget to set realistic expectations! Work with your supervisor to set realistic goals and deadlines, so you're not overworking yourself.

TECH SOLUTIONS
Provide regular updates on Jira, Trello, or Asana to ensure visibility and transparency.

11. Find your peak productivity times

We all have 24 hours each day. Do you feel that some days are super productive and others not?

SOLUTION
Try to keep your energy levels balanced daily. Follow a routine and a proper diet. Drink a lot of water! If you are more productive in the mornings, schedule more important projects for the beginning of the day. If you are a night owl, mornings might be more suitable for checking emails, updates and meetings. 

Now you are ready to work from home! Want to add your thoughts and tips? Get in touch! We are curious to hear about your experience and your story. 

Yours remotely,

Yanny 

Founder of Remote IT World

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