Beginning to telework

When, almost a year ago, my bosses told me to pick up all and that go home to telework, I never thought it would be a good idea, but I was wrong. A little later, the word “telework” became fashionable, and the vast majority of people who could do it went home to work.

At first, I thought the world was coming at me because work with children at home is not easy. The children stopped going to school, and teleworking with a 5-year-old at home was a challenge. My partner and I had to alternate working hours to take care of her and work, which ended up being exhausting because we had no time for ourselves, and there was always a lot of noise in the house.

The first decision I made was to buy headphones with sound cancellation, which I consider essential for teleworking even if only my partner is at home. Secondly, a 34-inch 4K monitor to be able to split the screen and simulate multiple monitors. To develop software you need good tools, this is essential, both at home and in the office.

The routine that settled in at home was as follows: I used to get up early and go into a room to work, put on my headphones while my partner was taking care of the child. And then, and then we switched the roles. We could only leave the house to go food shopping, so after a few weeks, it started to be hard for us, especially for my daughter, who didn’t understand that we couldn’t go to the park to play.

The first few days, the work was chaotic. We found it difficult to communicate among co-workers, but little by little, we started to organize virtual meetings using tools as Google Meets or Microsoft Teams, and we realized that we were more efficient and wasted less time compared to when we were at the office.

I installed all these tools and others, such as a virtual switchboard (for phone calls), to communicate fluently with my coworkers and customers, most of whom were also teleworking.

Later, I realized that I needed a good chair and a powerful computer, so I bought both. I could have used the computer at work, but I preferred to have my development environment configured in one place.

And finally, I realized that I needed to invest in security because I would work with all the clients’ data from my home. I encrypted all the hard disks and prepared VPNs to connect to each client's internal network and my own office, and although I have never been in favor of it, I installed a good antivirus on all my devices. If you are careful and work with the operating system always up to date, it is difficult for your computer to get infected, but what happens with your mobile devices? It is straightforward to open an SMS without realizing it and get your mobile phone infected, which we often use as a 2FA key manager for our accounts, among other things.

After some time I managed to organize myself to work at home and find a balance between my personal and work life. Now, I am happy with my new freedom, and besides, I am glad to know that I am helping the environment by not using my car every day.

In summary, these are the things I have learned teleworking:

It is not always easy because you have to combine your schedule with that of your family (if you do not live alone), but it is vital to set a plan similar to the one you have in the company and keep the routines.

If you organize yourself well, you will do many more things because you won’t lose time commuting. You will be able to take your daughter to school or going for a run in the middle of the morning.

You will be able to lie down for 25 minutes after lunch and continue working without being sleepy.

It is essential that in case there are children in your home during the time you are working, you reach an agreement with them so that they respect your time and that they are clear that they cannot disturb you at those times.

A desk with enough space and an ergonomic chair is essential. If you have a room at home, it is best to use a separate area from the rest of the house, allowing you to isolate yourself better and differentiate your work time from outside working hours. In meetings with your team, you will also appreciate this privacy because even if you are alone with your partner at home, sometimes it is more difficult to talk with your coworkers with her in front of you.

If you can, equip yourself with everything you need to be as comfortable as when you were in the office. Ventilate the room and use natural light as much as possible.

If your home does not meet the right working conditions or associate it too much with free time, you can look for your telework space outside. The garage, libraries, cafeterias, or any place with a good connection can become an ideal place to work.

Start with your usual routine: Get up, eat breakfast, shower, and get dressed. It is essential to feel good and differentiate the work schedule from being at home in pajamas.

At home, it’s effortless to get distracted by anything. What works for me is to set work times without distractions and then get up to stretch a bit to continue working later.

I usually listen to music during the workday to make it more enjoyable (at home, I only talk to my coworkers if necessary). When I stop for lunch, I put on a short chapter of Netflix, and I get rid of the desire to stop to see more. These tricks make my day more varied than when I was only working at the office.

If you are at home alone with no one who can see your screen, like at the office, having your social networks open will be tempting., which will make you less productive. The best thing you can do is close the available sessions and not waste time from your workday. You will finish work sooner, and you will be able to use the free time for whatever you want.

It is advisable to reserve the most difficult tasks for your most productive time of the day. For your slower periods, it is better to tackle the more manageable tasks. If you feel sleepy after lunch, the best thing to do is lie down for 20–30 minutes, and then you will be 100% again.

This point is critical. If you don’t take it to the letter, you will work more hours than necessary without getting up from your chair.

Set yourself times to rest and organize yourself well to do some sport during the working day. You have more time at home, so it is not difficult to get 40 minutes free to go jogging or do some weights.

I love the ability to work from anywhere. Before, I needed to be close to my workplace to go to the office, but now I can organize myself and spend days away or “extend” my stay at the desired location.

Another great advantage is that I can get many more jobs than before that are not in my location.

For me, this point is the most important because in the end, what you get is more freedom and more job options.

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to stop talking to your colleagues at the office. I recommended you one or two meetings a week to catch up on work issues and catch up with each other. Remember that social skills in this profession are necessary as well.

If you don’t, you will end up doing it during your workday. The best thing to do is to prepare the meal the day before.

Setting a schedule for doing chores also helps avoid getting up to do something that has just come to your mind.

If you plan well you will have more free time for yourself. It is important to have a finishing time because you run the risk of ending up working many more hours if you don't. After all, there will always be something urgent to finish or something you want to leave ready.

If you do not live alone, you will need to learn to be patient with your people. Everyone’s routines are going to be altered, and it is easy that sometimes we do not understand that other people’s time is also important and that the children will not always understand that you are at home and that they cannot play with you or make a lot of noise. Talk to them, be patient, and don’t get angry.