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Programmer’s Guide to Working From Home

Andrzej Fricze 17 March, 2020 | 3 min read

The latest events made a lot of companies switch to a remote-first work style. Some people love it, some have problems adjusting. After years of getting used to home/office balance, staying at home for a whole day might make you crazy. Fortunately, there’s a lot of people who work from home office on a daily basis and are willing to share their experience with you. Read a few vital pieces of advice that will help you stay sane and productive through these demanding times.

Start day actively

Probably the most important thing is how you start a day. When you work in the office, you have your routine of waking up, going to the bathroom, getting breakfast and commuting to work. When you work from home, it’s really tempting to oversleep. Your desk is, ultimately, just two steps from the bed. If you want your workday to go well, you should wake up once alarm rings, make your bed and move. 10 squats and sit-ups will activate your body. Maybe few jumping jacks. If you’re too sleepy in the morning, go on and wash some dishes or clean the kitchen and water your flowers. If your flat is all clean call a friend and gossip for a while. Make sure to start a day actively, before sitting by the computer. This will give you a great boost to stay focused and happy for the rest of the day.

Plan and prepare meals in advance

When you know you’re staying home the whole day, it may be tempting to think: my fridge is full, I’ll just eat when I’m hungry. Then you do and somehow, you spend half a day choosing what to eat and looking up a recipe. Finally, you eat scrambled eggs with a piece of bread and this tomato hiding in the corner of the fridge for the last week. Then you get angry about eating sloppy, but, for unknown reasons next day looks the same. If you want to eat properly, the best you can do is to plan the next day’s meals, and prepare what you can the evening before. Even if you end-up eating few similar meals for a week, it’s still better than scrambled eggs, oatmeal and instant soups all the time. When you prepare most of your meals in a batch, it takes about an hour, even less. When you do this only when you feel hungry, it’s interrupting your workday every few hours. Of course, while you’re planning meals for the next day don’t forget your greens!

Turn on your camera during work calls

Even if you stay at home, make sure you feel you’re at work along with your colleagues. Seeing coworkers’ faces help you understand each other and stay focused on work together. What’s more, it requires you to stay dressed and keep your apartment fairly organized. One, two calls a day help remember that even you’re sitting in your cozy flat, you’re still at work. Work together and help each other!

Plan breaks

Working in an office, you’ll always find some way to stand up from the computer and relax. Your colleagues go for coffee or want to play some foosball. There’s a design meeting and you need to draw something on a blackboard. Getting up, changing the environment and perspective is great for your back, brain, and eyes. At home, it’s easier to just sit down non-stop. Hour after hour, your eyes get dry and you slouch but, since you want to finish just one more task you don’t get up. To avoid that you should plan 3-4 breaks. You may plan them at a specific time, or after finishing a substantial piece of work. If you didn’t use Pomodoro before, this is the day. What’s important, you should plan exactly what you’re gonna do for a break. Try reading a book, playing with your dog or… exercising.

Exercise

The best way to stay focused and sharp through the day is exercise. You don’t need gym equipment, weights nor machines. If you have some loose pants and a t-shirt you’re all set. Working out at home, you may even do without shoes. Depending on your current condition and health you may choose more or less demanding exercise. If you’re not sure where to look for exercise try ATHLEAN-X, MadFit full of home workouts, or Jeff Nippard who prepared proper home replacement for gym exercise. I advise to plan your exercise after the first 3-4 hours of work, so you have a chance to refresh your mind and get back to work with new energy.

Using this little advice will help you organize your work from home properly and not give in to laziness and tardiness. Last important thing is to remember when to stop. Set a starting and ending time. When you’re done with work, make sure to close your computer. You’ll feel that the workday is done. I know you may get back to watch some movies on your laptop :). Before doing that, spend at least 15 minutes talking with family or roommates or calling your mom. This helps to change context from work to rest.

Working from home is not that hard. Stick to a few simple rules and you may even benefit from that. Maybe you’ll build this few healthy habits you always wanted to. Good luck!

Originally published on dev.to

Author's avatar
Andrzej Fricze
Self-taught web app dev, skilled in JavaScript and Clojure(Script). I’m able to create and maintain fast, responsive applications. I strive to develop myself constantly. I have ease of teaching (I run programming workshops every so often) and communicating with people. At work, I value cooperation and creating quality products more than personal achievements. I’m also interested in design, typography, music production and human perception.
    JavaScript
    Clojure
    Teaching
    Public speaking
    Event managment
    React
    CSS

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