Those are crazy times in which is difficult to handle working from home, doing the lock down…
But very nice times in which other people help others. Doctors and sanitary personnel fight in first line, truck drivers and supermarket staff are doing extra hours to provide to the society, investigators are working hard to get a vaccine…
Is beautiful that so many people are helping and contributing to the society.
I want to provide my humble experience on working remotely, so you avoid going bananas. Is very easy get depressed, anxious… So here is my advice.
- Stick to a routine
Respect the working times, like if you was going to the office.
Dress yourself like a normal day in the office. Don’t be all day in pajamas or sport wear. Switch to sports wear when you finish your daily work at 6PM, if you want, but not before.
If you talk via Slack, myself always keep the video turned on, as is a way to force myself into dressing and taking care of my look.
I take a shower, dress like an Engineer at work, I have my break for breakfast and for lunch, and when I finish work I study 30 minutes and do exercise 30 minutes or more. Then I take another shower and I consider myself free.
Note: The only exception I do to the dressing is in the shoes. I don’t wear any shoes, as my feet really enjoy walking freely over the parket.
- Take care of yourself
Shave, cut your nails… be polite. The same way you would if you had to go to the office.
- Stick to the working clock
As said in the stick to a routine advice, work your time, from 9AM to 6PM, and don’t get lost. The week ends are week ends, don’t work to free your mind.
For the week ends I have my side projects, like writing books.
If you can, walk an enjoy nature as much as you can. This clears the mind and keeps your mental health wellness.
- Do exercise
May be walking, but if you have a home bicycle, use it.
Try to set a goal, like 15 minutes of bicycle daily, and grow from there, of keep it like that. But doing even 15 minutes of cardio every day will be highly beneficial for your mind and body.
You may find it easy to do if you play videogames while cycling, or watch Netflix.
After doing exercise stretch your muscles.
- See the light
As much as you can, see the sun light. Try to do walks too and see nature.
Daylight and nature are amazingly good for your mental health and morale.
- Study/Learn new things
I keep this as part of my routine. I study every day in Linux Academy or read a book at least half an hour. I’ve done this for years.
- Keep you hydrated
Drink lots of water.
- Do your breaks.
After 1 hour try to walk a bit in the house, to focus your view in distant points to relax your ocular muscles.
- Ergonomics and light
Try to have a correct light in the working are, a comfortable chair, the right height for the keyboard and for the monitor, so your neck doesn’t hurt and your hands neither.
- Do like in the office: discipline
In the office you don’t drink, you don’t smoke at your desk.
So do the same. If you want to smoke one cigar after 2 hours of work, Ok, but don’t loss yourself in self-indulgence. Set strict rules respect alcohol if you love beer:
No alcohol during working hours.
Years ago I was CTO of a company with Team in half the world and I had a Team in Belarus. The Team Lead would be drunk in the sofa at business hours and start talking common words. If you have weak points, you don’t want to lose yourself. Be disciplined.
- Set boundaries with your family and pets
If you want to close the door of the room you work, your cat is not gonna die.
It is used to be alone when you’re are in the office.
So if it’s excessively demanding and wants you to pet him, or jumps over your laptop’s keyword while you are typing commands as root, set boundaries. Close the door. He can take it.
Also for the kids, the wife, the mother.
Please, do not disturb me while I’m working. We will play after.
- During covid-19 lockdown, do videoconference
Do videoconference with your family and friends.
You can use Slack, Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger…
I schedule a daily whatsapp video conf with my family, and a weekly with my cool friend Alex :)
- Be very patient with your colleagues and Team members
We are all humans and each one has its own situation.
Some people may feel depressed, alone, others may have problems with the partners or the parents of her/him living with them.
Other may have a cat trolling all the time stopping the work.
Others may have hyperactive children, or just having a poor chair, poor desk, and having only the laptop and no external monitor.
Others may have the family far, in another country, and suffer for them.
Be patient and understanding. Be Human.
- Have a good Internet connection and use cable over Wifi
I have 360 Mbit at home with Virgin and I connect the laptops with Ethernet Gigabit cables. That brings me the best and most stable connection.
In case of emergency I can do tethering with the phone (share the connection using the phone as Wifi Hotspot)
- Have spare Hardware and cables
In this time of lockdown, is good to have spare cables and adapters for everything. Just in case they die.
If you can have a spare monitor, and spare laptops this is great too.
I have 3 laptops, plus one tower, plus several raspberry pis, plus the tablet, plus my working laptop. If one dies, I can use the others.
I always have all kind of Hardware and cables as spare (Gigabit switches, power adapters, international adapters, Ethernet cables, USB cables, headphones…). Even if I can buy in Amazon nothing can stop me.
One day we had an incident with Virgin, which affected all Ireland.
I was out as the Fiber was not working and the phone was with Virgin too, but I have two additional SIM cards and spare phones, from vodaphone and Tesco mobile.
So I’m well protected. :)
As per the comment of Jordi Soler, I update the list of gadgets, mentioning my Hp Laserjet Color Printer, very handy to print document that I have to sign and then scan and sending back by email, and the UPS.
The UPS is cool, as if electricity goes down I don’t loss Fiber Internet.
Imagine, a router connected to the UPS can last hours! however is very infrequent that in Ireland we loss electricity. And the issues I experienced in 3 years were quickly resolved (unlike Barcelona where once more than 300,000 people were 3 days without electricity).
- Keep doing backups
If talking about job things, you can upload to Corporate Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive.
One of the problems with the laptops and battery-power devices in general is that if we have them connected to the energy line all the time, never using the battery, the battery just loses effectiveness and dies.
But some batteries can also explode.
As we are working all day at home now, our laptops are connected 100% of the time.
In my case one of the equipment I use is a Dell Laptop and the battery started to swallow and to bring the touchpad up. As the temperature of the laptop internally increased by the battery being hot as it swallows, you may notice the internal fan doing extra hours, running almost all the time, a high temperature on the chassis. High temperatures can lead to laptop malfunction like hang or reboot.
In extreme cases the battery can explode, so you should replace it if it is swallowing.
So I recommend you from time to time to unplug the power cable and run the laptop on battery until it almost completely depletes, or at leas for a couple hours before plugging the power cable again.
In another order of things I recommend you not to do drugs. Drugs affect your brain, and is hard enough to be isolated in lock down, to add chemicals messing with your neurons.