Hello & Servus!

Homeoffice like a boss! How to work well and productive within your own 4 walls.

March 12, 2020

hero Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

🏡 💻 is not a work option I’ve done for years just because it’s been trendy and cool. Done correctly, it’s a productivity and employee satisfaction tool. In these days of COVID-19, it receives more media and political attention than ever before, and to some degree, there isn’t too much time or knowledge to decide whether it’s suitable for the company or not. But soon it will become a reality for a vast amount of employees out there. Necessarily. More and more company offices will be closed until COVID-19 is contained.

To the majority of employees, remote work will be new and unusual. Let me share with you what I’ve learned and experienced throughout the last few years, so you don’t fall into the same traps. I’ve already done that for you 🤕, but - for good reasons - don’t do so anymore.

1. Your bed is your bed and not your working environment

Let’s make a quick bet (in case you’ve never worked from home, you’ll lose this anyway): It won’t take long, and you’ll find yourself STILL hanging around in your bed, having warm upper legs because your notebook heats them like hell. True or false? You know ;)

Having a successful day of remote working depends crucially on how you start your working day. Starting it like described above brings up a high possibility that you won’t have a fun and successful work day. If you start your day like you start your day when going to an office, this massively increases the likelihood of a great and productive homeoffice day. So get out of bed, take shower, and most importantly, dress like you’d dress when physically going to an office. This will bring you into the mood you need to get productive and spend the working day enjoyable.

2. Profoundly think about and optimize your communication and related systems

Yes, there’s room for improvement. For everyone. All the time. If you work as part of a team and for a collective achievement, communication is THE key. But anyway, that’s what you know for sure. I won’t point out detailed hints on how you should set up your communication and needed systems. This highly depends on you and your team.

Before you start making progress at home, make sure you’ve done everything possible to find out which ways of communication to choose and which rules of communication exist for you and your team. There’s a lot of excellent software out there that will help you to come up with good results and setups to communicate well with your colleagues and business partners. At least check out these software products:

  • to chat and information/file sharing: Slack, Flock, Chanty, Glip
  • to handle meetings: Zoom, GoToMeeting

Once you’ve all decided on a way of communication and proper communication software, be a reliable and proactive communicator. Done so, you’ve already mastered half of the remote working battle.

3. Mr. dishwasher… Be aware of that home office enemy and productivity killer

Damn, that’s quite a scientific approach considering that we’re just talking about something like remote work. Sorry about that. But hey, really be aware on that. Regarding homeoffice, the devil is in the tiniest details. Working from home theoretically enables you to do your work and combine this with getting some chores done. But you have to manage your motivation and time, create structure, and ship information. Don’t leave your team hanging while you spontaneously make sure Mr. dishwasher has done well or needs some more work to do.

Plan your breaks strategically, and you’ll be go to go to handle the dishwasher in between or do some laundry stuff. Tell yourself you’ll get at least three hours of work or a specific achievement done before you change to private mode to fill up the dishwasher or do the laundry. However you structure it, stick to your time plan. Strictly. Doing so also ensures your colleagues are not freaking out when you don’t respond on a deadline, and you can actually enjoy that well-deserved lunch break without inner stress to get back to your organization’s communication channels.

4. Share your checkmarks

No, not to demonstrate how well you behave sitting at home and nevertheless do some work. That’s not the spirit and philosophy you should follow (besides that, even not when being inside your company office). Do it to support the motivation of your colleagues and to prove your team makes progress regarding the common achievement you and your team want to reach together. Do it show that it’s not those types of external influences that will stop you and your colleagues from achieving your goals and mission. Nobody will be annoyed by proactive communication. They’re more annoyed by coworkers they can’t reach when they need them. They’re annoyed with coworkers who go off on their own and waste time making assumptions.

My name is Manuel Penaloza. I live in Austria and work as a web & software developer building things to enrich the internet and internal business processes. Doing so, I'm a big fan of considering and regularly auditing the aspect of "software has to support business success & goals". Find me on Twitter: @manpenaloza.