I joined Stack Builders almost a year ago, as a Software Developer, working remotely. Yes, I work from home. Cool, eh? Since I joined it has being quite an adventure learning how to do it, and how to do it well. Here I'll share a bit of my experience working from home.
There's this phrase I keep hearing when I tell someone that I work from home:
Oh, really? It must be great!
Well, it is indeed, but what they're really talking about when they say "it must be great"? Since the first time I heard that I started to pay close attention to how people react when they say that it must be great. First thing I noticed, at least here in Brazil, where I live and work, is that people often relate working from home with no work or not very much work. If that is how you feel, it's time to change your mind! That's definitely not what it means. In fact it's exactly the opposite. Working remotely requires a lot of responsibility and commitment.
If you think like those people, this post is not for you - you're not ready to work remotely. On the other hand if you're looking for the advantages of working remotely, without giving up the hard work, let's move on and let me tell you a couple things that helped me to get through this new experience.
I had to get some things in order to be able to successfully work from home. First, I had to make everyone around me aware that, even though I'm at home, I'm working. This is not difficult, but it can take some time for people (mostly your family) get use to it. So be patient, and work around this.
The second step is that you need two distinct spaces in your home: bedroom and office. Try hard to avoid merging these two environments. The reason behind this is that you're training your brain. If you work in your own bed, for example, your brain can get confused about it, and not distinguish very well when it's time for work or bed time. You don't want to try to sleep at night and keep thinking about work, right?
The next step is having a comfortable working environment. Air conditioners really help on hot days. A comfortable chair sounds great too. Like music? Get a good headset or great speakers, or both! What ever makes you more comfortable and productive.
And last, but not least, keep to your hours! If you're supposed to work eight hours a day, do that. Working from home makes it easy to work extra hours. You're at home, with your comfortable environment (if you put my last tip in practice), when you realize it's 10pm! Of course there may be some extreme cases where you need to work extra time, like a big bug in production, and you won't leave until you have that fixed. The next day, talk to your project manager, schedule some time off to compensate for your overtime and it will make you feel refreshed.
Well, that's about it. I hope this help you feel more comfortable working remotely and also more productive. Want to share your experience too? Use the comments below, I'd be happy to learn more things to make my life easier.