With the pandemic affecting millions of people across the globe, working from home has become the new normal for developers across the world. If you’re having trouble adjusting to remote working, here are a few novel tips you may not have read elsewhere.
1. Bask in the Sunlight
When you’re working for home and you can just have your meals and groceries delivered, it’s hard to find a reason to go out. However, there’s one very good reason why – you need natural light.
A study found that adequate exposure to natural light is crucial in maintaining worker health and productivity. For starters, reduced sunlight is linked to stress, fear, menstrual cycle length changes, and reduced melatonin levels.
Since we need sunlight to synthesize vitamin D, not getting enough sunlight can lead to vitamin D deficiency. This condition is associated with certain types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, hypertension and some heart problems.
At the very least, you might find yourself feeling sad and fatigued. These, including difficulty concentrating and sleeping, are symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, a condition prevalent in areas where daylight is short.
So, what can you do? Take your dog out for a walk. Jog outside and breathe in the early morning air. Get a reprieve from sitting for hours by taking quick walk breaks.
If your home office has a window, arrange your space so you can catch some sunlight while you’re working. Just make sure that your computer screen is at a right angle from the window to avoid glares.
2. Take Advantage of Virtual Reality
Video conferencing software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype has been absolutely crucial over the past year, and it is invaluable in keeping in touch with your colleagues and clients.
Depending on what your line of work is, you can further take advantage of technology. Virtual reality is posed to vastly improve remote workers’ productivity and sense of belonging, by bringing the office to them. At the very least, VR can bring an increased sense of presence during meetings and collaborative work, making long-term remote work more viable
In fact, Facebook is already working on “supercharging remote work and productivity” by combining virtual reality and augmented reality. Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Facebook’s head of AR and VR, even tweeted a footage of an experimental test using their prototype hardware and software.
As another example, award-winning property company RWinvest has been using VR throughout the pandemic, providing investors with a first-person perspective on prospective investment properties while they stay safe in the comfort of their homes.
3. Keep Your Passwords Organized
The longer and more complicated a password is, the harder it is to hack. However, when you’re working from home, you’re probably using different platforms and have tons of personal and work accounts. It’s simply impossible to remember all those passwords.
Using only a handful of passwords is out of the question and nope, writing your passwords on post-its isn’t safe either.
When you aren’t keeping track of your passwords, you have to spend precious work time trying to recover your accounts. And a security breach? That’s simply disastrous.
This is where a password manager like LastPass comes in. It will securely store your passwords and let you access them on any device.
4. Try Virtual Coworking
The concept of virtual coworking might sound weird but it actually makes sense. You’re basically just joining a Zoom call and working with other remote workers.
Virtual coworking turns traditional coworking into something more practical during this pandemic. You’re able to work with like-minded individuals and gain inspiration, professional advice, and new skills without having to go out.
It typically includes stating what your goals are during the session and using a timer for working sprints. Some virtual coworking companies also include 5-minute stretching exercises every 25 minutes.
5. Find an Accountability Buddy
An accountability buddy is similar to virtual coworking except you can do it with just about anyone who has the same goal as you. It can be your friend, coworker, former colleague, or mentor. The goal is to push each other to be productive, motivated, and on track.
With an accountability buddy, you report to each other what you’ve accomplished at work. It can be a daily, weekly, or even monthly check-in. Decide beforehand if you’re going to meet in person, call, or video call. There should also be structure to your check-ins to make them effective.
6. Gamify Remote Work
The next time you have a team meeting, why not suggest gamifying your remote work. Just as you may have guessed from the term already, this entails turning certain aspects of your work into games.
For example, members of the team can gain points for every meaningful action that they do. It’s like the house points system in Harry Potter except it’s not magical. There can also be personal goals and achievement badges that the members can work on.
Of course, for every milestone or win, there are small and big rewards like an early timeout card, extra paid leave day, and even monetary prizes.
Gamification boosts worker motivation, productivity, engagement, overall job performance, and happiness.
7. Use Your Chores as a Work Timer
Finally, how about using your chores to get into productivity bursts?
For example, you can do one thing on your to-do list while waiting for the wash cycle of your laundry to finish. Then, during the dry cycle, you can slash off another small task.
You can also do this while baking or cooking as well. Do your research while waiting for the dough to rise. While waiting for the oven to do its magic, you can do another task before rewarding yourself with piping hot bread and a cup of tea.
This breaks up the monotony of remote work and encourages you to get up every 30 minutes or so. By tackling the smaller tasks while you do your chores, you can focus on a bigger assignment during your productivity peak.