What do you think – is working from home a dream come true? The home office certainly comes with flexibility and convenience, but the productivity aspect may suffer from this unusual working environment. Every software developer is unique as a person and experiences different emotional states during the lockdown, so it is normal to notice distinct productivity levels. Working from home (WFH) represents a challenge that should be addressed properly from the first signs of motivation decline. In this article, you’ll learn ways to improving productivity when in home office during a pandemic.
Working in a bespoke software development company, keeping productivity up is not hard if you love the project you are working on and have good communication with your teammates. Last month, while still at the office, we introduced quiet hours from 2 pm to 4 pm to increase concentration and promote self-organized work. Now, when almost all of our work remotely, I had interviews with four colleagues to find out whether they experience any changes in their productivity. What I found surprised me because instead of feeling dejected when WFH, it turned out that programmers manage to get even more productive from home.
While interviewing them, similar patterns of answers emerged. They perceived lockdown as an opportunity to concentrate better, save time from commuting from work, and be more efficient. Naturally, there are home office-related drawbacks, e.g., it is harder for a person to switch between work tasks and personal life, especially for developers with kids at home. On the way home, people usually switch off work mode and devote themselves to private life, and this important moment is gone during a lockdown.
Let’s not lose hope though, coding from home is a pleasure for everyone doing it with passion. Here are the top 5 pieces of advice to increase productivity while working from home.
1 Stay Connected to Your Teammates
It is easy to feel disconnected from your team when all of you are not physically together, but developers seem to get a good grasp of the value of team effort and communication. Especially in case the dev team is very united and close, WFH naturally reduces this feeling of mutual connectedness, and the productivity may suffer as a result. Good communication is a key factor in keeping the team spirit up and working toward a common goal. So, an excellent way of improving productivity in the home office.
While coding from home, teammates can organize regular work-related meetings, but it is also vital to find time to check in with your team on a personal level. Understanding that someone else is also experiencing setbacks regarding productivity today creates a sense of togetherness. Shared social experiences are a core human need. Even though the only way to recreate them now is through digital communication, it is worth acknowledging their importance.
2 Create a Clear Structure
People need predictability in life to feel secure, and like most employees, programmers used to go to work in the morning predictably. We take it for granted at the office that we have a set structure that we can rely on, such as organized working space with desktops, keyboards, and other tech equipment. Let’s not forget the colleagues around us who are all working at this exact moment. This routine is gone now.
A major challenge of working from home is to re-create this structure to code and be productive from a different location than usual. All of my colleagues mentioned that having strict work schedules for the day that is followed contributes to their high productivity levels – it gives them a plan to stick. Prioritizing tasks is also essential for keeping your focus on which tasks are important and urgent and which ones can wait.
3 Find Out Your Major Distractors Improving Productivity on Home Office
A substantial part of increasing productivity is detecting what is stopping you from getting work. For instance, a helpful tool for this purpose is RescueTime. With this software, you can track where you spend ample time chunks and block distractions to stay in top condition for productive work throughout the day.
You might have heard of flow or “the zone.” This concept originates from positive psychology and represents a highly focused mental state with great intrinsic motivation and productivity levels. When you have this kind of workflow but somehow manage to get distrections (e.g., social media or if someone enters the room). It takes valuable time to focus back completely on the current code task. To avoid this, make sure to minimize the possibility of distractions that silently steal from your productivity.
4 Take Regular Breaks for Enjoyable Activities
Acknowledging your needs as a human being is of great importance in this situation. Some people are more by social distancing than others. Higher stress levels of the latter combined with lots of work hide increased burn-out risks. For optimal productivity levels, developers need to find ways to slow down and recharge with pleasurable activities from time to time. These can be set in your schedule for the day just as the other to-do tasks.
Our brains need fresh energy kicks to stay active, and no, energy does not come only from caffeine or sugar. That is why you have to let yourself experience the pleasure to boost your productivity while coding from home. A quick online game, going for a walk with your kid or dog, preparing a yummy meal. So, just reading a book with a hot beverage away from your computer. The Scandinavian hygge, or the art of enjoying the simple life pleasures. Could also potentially increase productivity – try it and see if it works for you.
5 Stay Physically Active Improving Productivity on Home Office
Your cognitive capacity to concentrate on important tasks depends on both your mental and physical health. It may sound counter-intuitive, but to be able to produce quality code, sometimes you need quality time for your screen. Take your mind off a nerve-racking task and move around a bit. One colleague shared that she used to walk 30 minutes to work each morning. But now she practices yoga from Youtube to keep herself active, helping her stay productive.
The exercises don’t need to be excessive, especially if you’re new to this. Just make small efforts each day to engage your body in physical activity. This will get your energy flowing and may even bring you inspiration. On how to solve a not-working code once and for all improving productivity in the home office.
To sum up, when it comes to organizing the way developers or whole dev teams work. It is one thing to choose to take a few days as a home office. It is another to stay away from your office desk. Covid- 19 made it clear that we do not choose. But to discipline ourselves and try to cope with the situation the best we can. Even if you notice productivity slopes, do not be too harsh on yourself. Instead, seek advice from co-workers and try new things until you find what gets you back on track.
Author Biography Aleksandrina Vasileva
Aleksandrina is a Content Creator at Dreamix, a custom software development company. So, is keen on innovative technological solutions that positively impact our world. Her teaching background, mixed with interests in psychology, drives her to share knowledge. She is an avid reader and enthusiastic blogger, always looking for the next inspiration.