Working from Home

I have been working from home for the last two years. With the Covid-19 crisis resulting in Governments asking people to work from home, I thought it would be useful to document things that may help those who are not used to working away from others, in the safety of their own home.

Firstly, you have to manage yourself. You need a quiet space so you can conduct online meetings and using one of the many meeting tools available (Microsoft Teams, Slack, webex, Skype, plus many more) have daily meetings with your colleagues. Meetings should start with 5 minutes of chat, humour and human contact. And if you are Agile, a standup is very useful to quickly share progress on tasks, and plans for the day.

Use a time management system. I recommend Harvest, as it provides timers, so you can see what you have done at the end of the day. A project management system like Jira or Trello is very useful to control progress and coordination. Use Harvest (or another timing system) so you can see how much time you are spending on each task.

Take time for yourself. Make absolutely sure you take your lunch break, and time between tasks to take a brisk walk, have a coffee or chat with people. Do not allow the distraction of being alone to embed, reach out, talk with your flatmates or partner, or phone your mum. Spend a little time each day, especially if you are living alone, to connect with people online. Use Social Networks but do not engage in online rage or indulge your imagination with conspiracy links. This is a disease, pure and simple. It is an accident of nature that our bodies have evolved self-learning defenses for, but some people will become very sick and a percentage of the most vulnerable will die. It is like a war, a quiet war.

And if you get sick, you are entitled to take time away from work, do not add to your stress by trying to work and manage symptoms if you are having difficulty.

And finally, value your work. Just because you are not in the office under the watchful eyes of your project management team or HR, it does not mean that your contribution is not valued. You are a useful person and part of a team with a goal.

Be responsible for your own success.

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