How to Survive Working from Home

When I started working here five years ago, we had two offices: one in Falls Church, VA and another in Durham, NC. Now we have a third office in Boulder, CO and a handful of employees, including myself, working remotely. Being set up the way we are, we are all used to interacting with remote team members, but the majority of the employees work in an office.

I happily worked from the Virginia office for three years, but because of personal circumstance, I had to move to Michigan for a year. I didn’t want to leave Viget, so I asked for the opportunity to work remotely; I was anxious and hesitant about giving up the office environment. Little did I know how much enjoyment and productivity I would feel working from home. I've been doing it for a little over a year and a half now, so I figured it was time to give some quick thoughts on being productive while working remotely.

Communication

Obviously one of the biggest challenges with working remotely is communicating with your team. You have to be ready to jump on a video chat at any moment! Also make sure to pay attention to Slack (or whatever instant messenger program your company uses) and keep your status up to date so anyone can find you whenever they need to.

Have a Routine

No, I don't mean just roll out of bed and start working. Having some sort of daily routine, just as you would if you worked in an office, helps put you in the right state of mind to be productive. I begin my day 3 hours before I actually start working at the gym or the beach (it's ok, you can be jealous). This gives my mind plenty of time to wake up so I can put in a productive day's work.

Take Breaks

This is really more of a recommendation for everyone, not just remote workers, but taking my dog for a long walk at lunch is always so refreshing and helps get me through the afternoon.

Have a Separate Office Space

It's too easy to be distracted with all the things around your house that you could be doing: watching TV, doing laundry, dealing with kids, etc. You could easily find yourself "working" all day in front of the TV, but really you aren't being as productive as you should be. While it doesn't have to be a completely separate room, I think it helps. In my opinion, it's worth it to pay a little extra money to have a completely separate room where you can shut the door if need be.

Attend Local Events

You lose out on the day to day physical interaction with coworkers. Sure, you get to interact virtually with coworkers, but attending local community events is a great chance to talk in person with like minded individuals and avoid any loneliness you may encounter.

Don't Let Work Become Your Life

Burnout and depression is no joke. It happens to so many people in our industry. Working from home can can have a huge impact on your work/life balance, so it's important to be aware of that and take steps to avoid work taking over your life. Work approximately the same hours every day. Don't go into your office space unless you are working. Remember, you matter, and you are more than just your work.

Trevor is a senior front-end developer who specializes in writing bulletproof code for clients including the World Wildlife Fund and GoPole.

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