Working in PJ's: 7 Tips for Working from Home
Posted by Buffy the Bison | July 2, 2020
With so many of us working from home lately, a.k.a working in pajamas, Primitive wanted to share seven of our top working from home tips we’ve passed around our office as a fully distributed team, ourselves.
From practical tips to workspace layout, we’ve got it covered. Let’s dive in!
Okay, first things first. For those of you who aren’t accustomed to the WFH environment, take a minute to exhale and remember you just entered the Thunderdome.
While, perhaps not as extreme an analogy to some, for most the thought of working from home amidst a slew of distractions can be pretty overwhelming.
So, before you inundate yourself with a laundry list of to-dos shrouded in expectations, remember that this is a change that will take time and patience to get used to.
Also, before moving on to the next tip, it’s worth noting that everyone deserves to be on the receiving end of patience, especially at this time. While Slack is an extremely effective communication tool amongst team members, there are still nuances left to be desired. When working from home, no longer can you find yourself at a co-worker’s desk to ask a one-off question.
If you happen to encounter a need and are ready to ask a coworker for assistance, keep in mind that that person might not be available at the specific time in which you asked your question thus resulting in a slight delay in response.
As always, if you are going to assume anything, assume positivity – not ill intent.
Evaluate your communication style
A lot can be lost in translation when not face to face and instead communicating through the medium of technology. Typed messages can be perceived differently than spoken messages in a variety of ways: tone, topic, intent, urgency, etc.
Take a moment, prior to your communication, to ensure your messaging is both kind and clear. A good best practice is to re-read your words as if you were the recipient, receiving it out of the blue.
Take into consideration, if possible, that you aren’t able to simply share your computer without ample lead time. In light of that, a good habit to enforce is to over-communicate any issues so the other individual has a good grasp on how best to help.
Being alone can be mind-numbing at times. That’s why it’s critical for your mental health and longevity as a distributed team member to enforce the habit of regular breaks.
A helpful tip is to consider playing around with timers. This can expedite finding the right balance between “work time” and “break time.” You can use the Pomodoro method, ask Alexa to set a “get up” timer every 30 min, or closely monitor your Apple Watch’s “stand” recommendations.
Whatever habit you’ve developed to ensure you aren’t staring at a screen for 8 hours straight will prove hugely beneficial to your work life balance.
A frequent praise we hear when talking about working from home is the ability to go straight from bed to the home office – sweatpants, uncombed hair, and all.
While this might definitely be an upside to many, the Primitive team actually recommends taking the initiative to get dressed in the morning.
The physical act of taking a shower and getting dressed helps to make the transition from chilling at home, to working from home. And although no one can smell you via a computer screen, it’s incredibly beneficial to make the mental switch from home to work, and at the end of the day, back again.
Separate your workspace from your lifespace
If and when possible, try to establish an office space in a room with a closeable door. Although a seemingly minor detail, this will help create a switch in your brain that it’s time to work. And when you are out of the room it can be time to relax a little more.
Also, if you have little ones at home that are of school age, creating a physical barrier between work and life can help identify the best times to ask those hard-hitting questions like, “Did you know a human brain weighs 8 pounds?” and so on.
We’re sure you can easily recollect a “heavy” question from your inquisitive toddler.
Create a separate work profile
This is easier to do if you don’t have security keys to manage like some developers; however, if you only have one computer then this helps, especially after hours.
It can be extremely easy to get distracted while working full time on your laptop at home especially if that is the device you normally use in the evenings for “fun.” Creating a work profile and a non-work profile, with respective apps in each, will help you from working at night when the default can be mindlessly scrolling through the web.
If you need extra help to have self-control and self-discipline on these devices, use an app that can help with that.
At Primitive, we regularly use the centralized communication software, Slack. However, this last tip can be applied to any communication software your team chooses to utilize.
Being remote is hard enough, not taking into effect its nature of being socially isolating (introverts notwithstanding). If you find something funny, share it with your coworkers. If you see something trending, post it as well.
Sharing with your coworkers is a great way to stay connected and start fun conversations that include other remote people as well, while also being a vehicle to showcase the wide array of personalities that make up your company’s culture.
Working from home for many people is an all-too clear reality. However, with these working from home tips we’re sure you’ll find the stress quickly dwindling away.