12 Tips for Working From Home

I’ve been a remote contributor on and off for the last 15 years. Here are 12 things that have helped me be successful working remotely:

  1. Invest in your hardware setup. Make sure you have a decent webcam, headset and lighting.
  2. Get comfortable having your webcam on. It can be uncomfortable at first, but you will get used to it quickly.
  3. Never put off engaging a teammate until you see them next IRL. Direct message them on your chat system and ask if it is ok to call them for a quick video call. Often this can be even better than real life because you can use desktop sharing.
  4. Using a VPN is often better than remote desktop. Spend the time to get your local machine configured the way you need rather than relying on remote desktop to your office computer.
  5. Look into producing your own videos and share that with your team. Often times you can get a lot of milage out of sharing these videos. It’s a great way to get expose for a remote contributor.
  6. Install your team’s chat program on your phone. Make sure to use @ mentions properly. Part of your super power WFH is you can respond at odd hours to issues. It might take you just a few minutes to unblock a teammate.
  7. If you have other people in your house, try to keep a physically dedicated work area separate from non work areas.
  8. Remote meetings work best if they are setup where everyone acts as if they are a remote contributor as much as possible. It’s not great for the remote contributors if the majority of the attendees are in a conference room with one camera and mic.
  9. Be sure to use available tools. Digital whiteboards with screen share are much better than pointing a camera at a whiteboard. Especially true when interviewing, typing code on a laptop is much better than whiteboard coding with a webcam.
  10. Being a remote contributor enables more of a work/life integration as apposed to traditional work/life balance where there is an attempt to separate work and “life”.
  11. Go for a walk at lunch. It’s easy to fall into a rut where you never leave the house. Your back will thank you too.
  12. It can feel lonely at home, your team should have a chat channel where team members can feel free to chit chat casually.