These are unprecedented times.  Since the coronavirus outbreak, all nonessential personnel have been ordered to stay home. I have been working from home now for a little more than a month. We are all finding our way thru this. The way we work has changed forever. I hope to share my tips for making this a pleasant experience and maybe give you something to laugh at. The sign above the fireplace use to read “Home Sweet Home” it now reads “Office Sweet Office”.

My home, my refuge, the place I relax, unwind and turn back into me has become my office. I regularly work from home for a day or so but never for this long. The office has certainly changed. My coworkers have been replaced. They know very little about my company but have their own jobs and we work in the same office. The minor difference, they are my family. We are all lucky to be able to work from home.

A proper work environment is key to remaining productive. I open the shades during my work day and close them at the end of the day. The effect here is a change in the environment delineates the work day. Good lighting is also key for those Zoom meetings. If I have a meeting my laptop is equipped with a cam. MIBAR encourages us to use cams. You can’t get the personal aspect a cam provides with just voice.

A good work environment also means proper attire. Now I’d be the last to advocate dressing up to stay home but come on people let’s get out of those PJs. Lets’ get off the couch, out of the bedroom. While you may choose not to go business casual to work from home you should get in the habit of changing clothes. Again it delineates the day.

I have considerably more space in my new office, my dining room table is larger than my desk. It’s important to have a dedicated space to work. As a developer multiple monitors is key. I have a 22 inch monitor hooked up to my laptop. I can’t imagine how people work with a 12 inch laptop as their only viewport. I also use and external keyboard and mouse to round out my home desk.

Communicate, Communicate, And Communicate. Working alone affords you peace and quiet you may not get in a crowded office but when you are home communication needs to be more deliberate. The casual conversations that take place in passing don’t happen without effort. I try to reach out to my team members daily to keep lines of communication open.  We use Microsoft Teams to interact. Teams may have been hard to get started with but works fine and we can collaborate easily. It’s important to be present for your coworkers and invite communication even if it’s casual.

Even though the kitchen is only 10 feet away it’s important to avoid snacking. If I were at my actual office such luxuries do not exist and need to be avoided at home or the famed weight gain known as the quarantine 15 will turn into the quarantine 51 quickly. So avoid snacking and eat at designated times only.

My total steps walked for a day used to exceed 10K regularly. A lot of walking is built into my day. Now, my total steps maybe 200 on a day when I drink too much coffee. You need to get out and exercise. My family and I go for walks once or twice a day to keep moving. We take breaks and enjoy the sun outside.

Even though you’re home it’s important to work with the proper frame of mind. So no doing chores or starting those weekend projects. It requires discipline. Ok I admit the sign above the fireplace really reads “Home Sweet Home” but during this time we have to do all we can to make it “Office Sweet Office”. Soon this will all be memory maybe some of these points will stick with you.