Tips for working remotely

Welcome to our growing distributed team! We’re excited to have you along for the #journey and have gathered some excellent tips and tricks from fellow distributed teammates on how to live your best distributed work life! Have some tips of your own you’d like to share? Add them here!

Home office and desk setup

  • Separate work and home: Try working in a separate space to where you relax/sleep - Keegan and Loic
  • Ergonomics are key: Consider getting an ergo friendly chair and standing desk – Julia and Christina
  • Change the scenery: Try working “offsite” at a coffee shop, library, or friend’s house once a week - Loic
  • Get a loud keyboard: You can use a loud keyboard, unlike in an office environment - Keegan

Schedule

  • Stick to a schedule: When working from home, it’s VERY important to have a set schedule and the discipline to respect it, or you risk blurring the lines between work and life to an unhealthy degree. - Tomás
  • Triage: Morning I catch up on slack/github. I usually stick to triaging (recording in org-mode slack/issues to get back to). Smaller stuff I respond/review instantly. Then I create a plan for the rest of the day. - Keegan
  • Timebox: I work from around 8:30am to 5:30pm, sometimes starting 30min earlier and other times working a little bit longer. I personally need a schedule, because my productivity thrives with timeboxes. “I have two hours until lunch” or “I have one hour until the day is over” works much better for me than “let’s start working on this and see how long it takes”. - Thorsten

Communication

  • Care: Start by caring about your written communication. Well-written prose looks exactly like well-written, clean code: like someone cares. That means the writing has no obvious typos and grammar mistakes, but, most importantly, that it’s written for others to understand. Make sure you always reread and edit what you wrote to make sure what you want to communicate can be understood by someone who doesn’t have all of the context and knowledge you had when writing. Extra points for removing unnecessary sentences. - Thorsten
  • Mind the round trip time: People work in different time zones and might take a full working day or night for someone to respond to your messages. In order to avoid a multi-day back-and-forth keep this round trip time — from you to the receiver and back — in mind. In practical terms: try to provide as much information as necessary for the other person to answer your request without the need for them to ask follow-up questions. Of course that’s not always possible, but the goal should be to eliminate it as much as possible. - Thorsten
  • Raise your voice: When you’re working remotely none of your colleagues is going to bump into you on your way to the office kitchen, or stop by at your desk to ask you how your day is going. Nobody is going to meet you by accident. Or, in other words: you’re not visible if you don’t raise your voice. That means: actively communicate your progress, ask for help, document what you know as good as possible, etc. - Thorsten