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A new normal as a Remote Worker

4 min read

As the world enters a new normal where COVID-19 force everyone to practice social distancing, many companies, especially technology companies, now have required all of their employees to working from home. This routine also applies to my work at Culture Amp, where we have started required everyone to WFH since three weeks ago. In this post, I'll share a bit on what's going on in the last three weeks after going full-remote at work.

For me, Working From Home (WFH) is not a new thing. I'm grateful that I can work at CultureAmp where they have given me flexibility on where can I do my job. Before all of this Covid-19 pandemic, I have been WFH twice a week for about six months. There is no magic formula for how to be productive while working from home. But having that prior routine has helped me to adjust my experience when now I need to go full-time WFH.

These are some of the things that work for me. First, you need to have a working setup that you're comfortable with. I know not everyone has the privilege of having a big space for work. But try to arrange your desk/house so that it feels like an actual office will help you to trick your brain so that it thinks you're working in the office. This is my working setup at my place.

WFH Setup

Secondly, wake up early and have a fix morning routine. Many people said, when they're WFH they can have a longer sleep and wake up a bit late because they don't need to spend time on the commute. But for me, while I'm WFH, the first several hours in the morning is the precious time where I can tackle all of the important work on focus mode. After I wake up at 6.30AM, I'll start planning/journaling for about 15mins, then take a shower and prepare like you're going to the office. Next, I'll take a quick walk to the train station and walk back home, which takes about 10mins. This morning routine works because it tricks my brain to think that I have wake up and now I'm going to work.

Another thing that I do while I'm WFH is to put a timer while working and make an arrangement with my wife. I've been doing Pomodoro for a year now. It's never been a smooth experience for me to keep the focus while I'm on the timer. But I learned that working with Pomodoro while you're WFH is really helpful to keep your focus on the work that you're doing. In addition to Pomodoro, especially if you're not live by yourself, you need to make an arrangement with the person who lives with you. For me, I live with my wife and 2,5 years old son. I made an arrangement with my wife while I'm doing my Pomodoro sessions. When I do my work which takes about 4 Pomodoro per session (about 1,5hrs), she will make sure she or my son won't disturb me. Then after I finish with my work, I'll play with my son for an hour before I start my next session. This arrangement works better for me than work straight 8hrs a day.

Lastly, one thing that I recently try, especially after I become a full-time WFH, always has an exercise at least twice a week. As a software engineer, I spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer. In a regular occasion when I need to commute to the office, I'll walk a lot. But that's not happening when you're WFH. So keep having the exercise routine will help you, not only for your body but also for your mental well-being. Take a 30mins moving around the house like doing chores, or walk outside from your place to the nearest park will help you to reset your brain.

That's all folks. Those are the things that work for me, but generally, it should also work for everyone. Stay safe, stay home, save lives.