loading...
Cover image for One year home office, things I have learned

One year home office, things I have learned

mfahlandt profile image Mario ・4 min read

To be honest it's just a little bit more than one year. Actually one year and three months.

Ther first and most important rule above all:

Wear pants, good pants that you would wear in office, every working day.

Something i learned pretty fast. When you get up and you get well dressed for the day you can draw a clear line between work and spare time. So you have a clean start in the day and in the evening you can look forward to get of the "work" clothes on the evening.
Also my wife complained about me looking less and less appealing, so this is a must, you do not want to look like the troll under the bridge.
Positive thing, you are always prepared for surprising video chats coming up.

Setting basic work times, but don't get up and sit on your desk

For myself it was important to create some kind of working day. So i set myself fixed times to start work. I start working between 8.30am and 9.30am. This is also easy for all people that want to reach me, to know when i am available. Important is that there is another BUT. I never get up and sit directly down at my desk, basically i created something like a way to work. So when getting up the first things are, preparing coffee and taking the dog for a walk, afterwards i have breakfast and then start working. This also helps you to create some routine and don't fall in the trap with oversleeping.

Have brakes, don't eat at your desk!

This is probably one of the biggest issues, not scheduling breaks or eat at your working desk. Also an error that i made for a long time and sometimes still do. Eating at your desk or don't make proper brakes. I try to get up from my desk at least every 2 hours for some minutes. Stretch, get something to drink and so on. If you have a portable device, change places. If you want to sit on your couch for some time, do it! But please do breakes and stop working, to refresh your mind. Because of the dog, i have to go outside for at least once in the working hours. If you don't have something similar find an activity to get you away from the working station. It helps getting new energy.

Invest in your equipment

We sit the whole day, so invest in a good Setup that fits you. Buy a proper chair, your back will thank it to you. I underestimated this a long time, now i have to see the back doc every once and awhile. Don't make the same mistake. Ask your employer for support. The company saves a lot of money not having to maintain an office spot for you so it is more than fair if the pay for a good chair and maybe a desk. Also get a keyboard that feels right for you and a proper webcam and microphone / headset, your clients and colleagues will thank you.

Feel so lonely

A big challenge that will not be easy or achievable by all is the separation and missing of human interaction. You won't see a lot of people. For me this is just what i have needed, i like working alone in my house more than working in any kind of office. But you will have less contact with people. I do sports and meet friends beside work which is enough for me. For a lot of people this is not. Honestly i cannot help you here. Some colleagues of mine are in skype the whole day, to have people to talk to.

Oh sweet sweet distraction

Another hard point, distraction. The kitchen could be cleaned, the garden needs some fixing and procrastinate on the interweb ;)
Being home adds more distraction than being in the office. Keep in mind also your family can be distraction. When my wife is home i have the feeling i get less done than the times she is not. How to deal with this. Easiest way for internet distraction get yourself a website blocker that have timing windows so you won't end up on facebook or youtube. For everything else get back to the point where we said define work hours and make it clear to your family that this time is work time.

STOP WORKING!

Also the other side you maybe end up and can't stop working. So set yourself a fixed time each day when you will stop working. I think this is a bigger issue than distraction at least for me. mostly i stop working between 6pm and 7pm and i do not read any more mails after this and i stopped working on weekends (except for high time projects, but that's another story).
You won’t do yourself any good if you do over hours each and every day.

Stay fit

Maybe you are missing out a walk or the fitnessstudio after work. Don’t! Search yourself a sport activity to stay fit, because you will even get out less than in an office job. Good thing is you can go at afternoon to the fitness studio or climbing house. You define your work hours yourself. That’s a huge advantage, use it! I stopped it and it was bad for me, now i go climbing at least 2 times a week in a complete empty hall.

Last words

This is my perspective, so it does not necessarily apply to you. Are you working from home and have other tips? Let me know! Do you think starting working from home drop a comment

Posted on by:

mfahlandt profile

Mario

@mfahlandt

tech freak, organizer of GDG Munich Cloud, doing react, nodejs and a lot of cloud and kubernetes, docker stuff. Developer @ Königspunkt

Discussion

markdown guide
 

Having a dog around in the home office is so nice. She keeps me company, and she makes me take her out for walks.

I miss human interaction with other similarly employed people. I backfill that by procrastinating on the interwebs.

 
 

You certainly have to. Best to keep you fit and a mood lighter if you need it

 

Good read, thanks! 🙌🏻

I bring and pick up my kids (6yo twin girl and boy) to/from school. I also pick them up during lunch. This gives me some quality time with them but also forces me to have lunch properly. So I really get you there.

It is easy to think shortcuts like skipping proper lunch help your productivity, but they'll cost you in the long haul.

Take care, keep productive.

Code Hard - Ship Harder - shipharder.com

 

I would love to work from home, sadly no company in my country wants that...

 

It's getting better. I hope you find some one day, also apply for companies not placed in your country. That might work

 

the cost of living in my country makes this very hard :)

 

Ask the one that is not doing that to treat you as an exception. Of course there are drawbacks of it

 

Same situation as you, not a lot of companies accept employees to work remotely.. Thanks for the article Mario !

 

before my office i use to work at home and for me 1 break worked during working hours, in 8 hours i use to sit and grind 4 hours straight and then a break of an hour or half then straight 4 hours this was my routing and i ate only in that break.
Very good point to note is getting distracted on different website, still whenever i get done with a task from pile of tasks i get distracted on social media. well you only have to train your brain not to end on such site

 

Thanks for sharing this. I've been working at home since October 2018 and can identify with some of the challenges you mentioned. I've found that having a change in scenery like heading over to the coffee shop helps. Definitely learnt something here!

 

Hey Mario!

First off, great article :)

I’ve been doing home office for like 1.5 years and I have to tell it wasn’t easy in the beginning.

The distraction part is like where I felt you. :D when my partner is home I just can’t focus properly so I’m popping the headphones but the presence still somewhat ‘bothers’ me - might not be the best description.

Anyway, what I did is that we kinda share the day so while she’s off I’m doing the major parts of my work and then when she comes home I’m just doing the easy parts or learning something.

 

You've actually described my entire work life plus routine at my home-office; and I'm miles faraway in Kenya. On the distraction part, sometimes it becomes difficult especially when the person that distracts is an elderly parent and really needs your attention. I clearly make them understand my work time and break times so that whatever they need is fetched or sorted at those particular hours or in the evening prior to the next working day. Blocking the interweb is almost impossible, as most contacts come from all these chat apps and social space that have overtaken the traditional email. But I realized if you decisively avoid clicking on them, and you manage to keep off for days or weeks, you're good to go. Turning off email or text notifications from social media links is also a good filter.

 

When I first starting working remotely I would work on the couch and work late into the night, like 2AM. I was productive, but barely. And it was taking a toll in my family life. I realized the importance of having my own designated workspace, and investing in the right equipment to be productive. I bought a desk and some good monitors. I also made sure to get work done at a reasonable time (9 to 5ish) and spend my family time with my family. I find getting sleep is also key to me being productive as a programmer.

 

Very good post. As I am working from home too, I can relate. Things you wrote really matter. But I think wearing nice pants has the lowest priority.
How about your team, are they working remotely too?

 

With nice pants i mean, that you should wear proper clothes to distinguish working day from rest of life. If you want to wear yoga pants it's also okish. For me i want to wear proper clothes.

One of my team is working remotely the other two are based in an office. This works quite well

 

Not eating at your desk is HUGE right next to staying fit. The fuel we put in our body and how we tune our body directly affect our mental wellness. Not eating at your desk gives you a break, it releases your mind from work for the lunch hour. Great post.

Greetings from a German expat from Ulm!

 

Nice article!

While I don't work from home everyday, I find that eating at my desk to be a problem in general.

Wearing work clothes during work hours is the underrated part of this article though.

 

"troll under the bridge." Haha, relatable

 

I'm also working from home, I have to say, I procrastinate a lot of tasks daily, just because I'm home and I can do it later!

Thanks for sharing your experience!

 

Thanks for sharing. I’ve taken some tips from here :)

 

Thanks for sharing your tips. Most of them resonate with me and my experience working remotely.