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Today, when remote working is more popular than ever and becomes inevitable due to the circumstances, there are still people who need some support and working from home tips.
I am a part of the StiltSoft team, where remote working was always an option, so I decided to participate in the #embrace-remote badge challenge to share some life hacks I'm using for more than seven years of working from home.
So as an experienced homebody, I will describe some mistakes I made and highlight the solutions I found.
My mistake: For quite a long time, my family didn't take my remote work seriously because I couldn't explain to them that I-AM-WORKING. They used to call me or visit me during my working hours just because they knew I was at home and I couldn't say no.
Solution: It is crucial to let your family know that you are not just drinking coffee in your pajamas all day long but working. Ask them not to distract you, mock you, or treat you as an emergency contact for anything that happens at home, starting from walking the dog ending with cooking the dinner.
My mistake: I had no plan for a day. I decided that there was no need to get up early (and I'm not a morning person if you know what I mean). So sometimes, I opened my laptop around noon. This way, I blurred the line between my personal and professional lives. This has resulted in me staring at my laptop late at night, thinking that I was working. Unfortunately, I was just staring.
Solution: I'm trying to keep myself to a schedule. I get up early to have some free time for a cup of coffee, along with an episode of my favorite TV show. Now I'm trying not to work after 6:00 p.m. because I want to have enough time for my family.
My mistake: I didn't realize the importance of being visible to my colleagues during the day. I was not always responsive to their messages when they required my reply. I selfishly thought that It was a good idea to answer them during my most productive hours of the day.
Solution: Your colleagues need your feedback, review, reply, etc. and they suffer when you ignore their letters and comments. Now I try to prioritize collaborative tasks not to become a blocker to my teammates and then proceed to the rest of my tasks. I always check our group chats in multiple team messengers not to miss a thing. I also use Team Calendars for Confluence and Google Calendar to let my team know if I'm not available. If they see my schedule and know I'm busy, they may assign a task to someone else.
My mistake: There was a time when maintaining a work/life balance was a super challenging task for me. I was procrastinating at work and was constantly thinking about my tasks after work and even during my vacation. Well, I had to write a blog post about new apps for Bitbucket during my honeymoon just because I wasn't able to plan my tasks at work properly. And yes, it's not normal.
Solution: I loved the idea one of my teammates shared with our team: he writes a task list for tomorrow at the end of his working day, and he knows that it's the last task for today. This simple action helps him turn off the work mode. I took his advice, and it works. Now I know that all my pending tasks are on the list, and I can easily get back to them in the morning.
My mistake: I didn't pay much attention to collaboration software on my previous job. We used Gmail and Google Docs. Now I know that it's never too late to discover new horizons :)
Solution: These are the tools I use every day to stay on the same page with my team. They help us set the stage for open communication and knowledge sharing.
I wish you to stay focused on what needs to be done during the day with little effort. Just remember that any change takes time to get used to.
We and other Atlassian vendors develop handy apps for Atlassian products to help you work remotely. Please, stay home for us :)
Wash your hands, stay safe and healthy and everything else will follow!
Irina Sanikovich [StiltSoft]