Moving from office to the remote: share experiences and life hacking

    Remote work is no more than an alternative way to organize standard eight-hour employment, associated with more freedom, but at the same time more responsibility. And if you do not build “castles in the air”, but comprehensively assess the situation and adjust to it, you no longer want to live differently.

    Below is a story about how to circumvent the pitfalls.

    Freeze-frame from the clip “Drink in St. Petersburg” of the Leningrad group

    The remote format of work is still not very familiar to our market. And the features of this process are such that people who are accustomed to the office alignment of forces need time to adapt. Initial expectations are not met, the burden of additional responsibility is pressing or, on the contrary, there are too many distractions. And when KPI is not tied to the time of presence in the office, it is difficult to navigate.

    Almost every our employee once underwent such an adaptation. Here is a small analysis of their experience.

    Part 1. Preparatory stage

    Soberly evaluate the possibilities

    Before you go on the remote, it is worth once again to weigh the pros and cons. And here it is necessary to assess the situation from two angles:

    • Will I myself?
    • Is the company suitable for this?

    Will I myself?

    Concentrations on the task can be hampered by the inability to focus without a sense of partnership with colleagues, a desire to go out into the smoking room more often, to organize collective brainstorming sessions, to feel a stern bossial gaze and to feel involved in corporate culture.

    The problem is that you can often notice such features behind yourself only by trying to work from home. Some as a test recommend to take some "home" project from the main work, from another customer, or even try to just learn something via the Internet. But with such a test, everything depends on motivation: having the main work in the office, you are unlikely to actively pay attention to side-study of questionable importance. Yes, and all the standard alarms "experienced remote" will not experience. A completely different alignment, if remote work - the only source of income.

    On the other hand, if you have doubts, this does not mean that nothing will work out. Perhaps you misjudge your needs.

    To better understand yourself, we recommend starting with the book by E. Fromm “Escape from Freedom”. For many, it puts a dot on the “i”.

    Is the company I’m going to work for?

    Despite the declarative support of the remote, the processes in the company may contradict this format of work. We wrote about this at the end of last year . To a lesser extent, this applies to teams that are initially organized as remote, in principle, they will have no work, if not to build the processes properly. However, here it is necessary to carefully evaluate your choice: to represent your goals and relate them to the goals of the company.. If in doubt, it is better to discuss them at the interview stage, or at least ask future colleagues who are conducting the technical part of communication.

    Provide a workplace

    It is obvious that remote work is impossible without own workplace. But the very concept of the workplace should include several components at once:

    • Iron . Employers often have their own requirements for equipment - platforms, the availability of video cameras for calls, a backup Internet channel. All this will have to be taken into account.
    • Furniture . Equipping a remote office is as serious as choosing a car, for example. There will have to spend a lot of time, which means there should be a comfortable chair, lighting, which does not get tired eyes, etc. Many seasoned remoteers relate to the ergonomics of the workplace and even a mess on the table (or lack thereof). But here the views on the details diverge. One thing is clear: it is easier to concentrate in a familiar environment, so the best advice is to choose a system for yourself and stick to it clearly in the future.
    • Personal space . Perhaps this is the most important element - a place where during the working day you will not be distracted. Unfortunately, not everyone can organize it at home. Someone children do not agree to contemplate the closed door to the office of one of the parents, the others constantly distract with requests (as is familiar: “Well, you still sit at home, go take out the garbage!”). There are factors outside the family - windows on a noisy street, inadequate neighbors, etc. There are several exits here - from coworking to the table in the apartment of the neighbors. However, stability is important here: to dive into the tasks will not work if every day you have to start with finding your own corner. So this moment will have to work out in advance.

    The workplace directly affects future satisfaction with the format of interaction with the employer. The more distracting (interfering) factors, the less you can catch up in the eight-hour working day and the more you have to finish after its completion. This blurring the boundaries of the working day leads to a gradual burnout - the motivation and meaning of the work is lost. It seems that in the office it was possible to keep everything under control, but at the remote place the affairs broke out of their hands and filled with themselves all their lives, leaving no time for personal ones. Such sensations are a fairly common reason for returning to the office. But the fault here is not at all remote in itself. Most often, the reasons lie deeper - the project does not meet your requirements, the relationship in the team is strange, and so on. And the banality can play a significant role here - an incorrectly organized workspace.

    By the way, the workplace can be transferred from time to time. For example, one of our employees has already told the story of how he managed to work remotely from two cities, and eventually returned to his native Krasnoyarsk . Another employee last summer experimented with visiting coworking “for his own” in nature, apart from civilization — with a gas generator, an amplifier of mobile Internet and campfire gatherings after the end of the working day. Both in the first and in the second cases the work did not suffer. And those days that went to move around the country, it was quite possible to take a vacation. However, such “migrations” are still a load on motivation, responsibility and other levers of pressure on a loved one. Do not bend with them.

    Part 2. Getting started remote work

    Set up the environment

    The process of preparing and setting up the environment is a mandatory step at the start of any work, not only remote. In the “home office” mode, however, it will be necessary to give it maximum attention - after all, there are no other employees responsible for this. Welcome to Jira, the bug tracker and the employer's internal systems.

    Most likely, the process of setting up the environment will be longer at a distance than at the beginning of standard office work. It is necessary to be built in the schedule of system administrators who can quite answer within several hours.

    Kill the emotions, it's a long time!

    To the office all are treated differently. However, even if, after switching to a remote format of work, you are not overwhelmed by euphoria (hurray, you don’t need to go anywhere!), There will still be some emotions from the novelty. You can get up later, spend time on the appearance is not necessary, you can redo a lot of useful things, from deferred visits by doctors to raking up some bureaucracy.

    This feeling of novelty is experienced by everyone who decides to say goodbye to the office. But savoring the new sensations and trying to urgently do everything that was postponed does not benefit the result, which must be demonstrated to the employer from day one. Rejoice too early. At first, it is better to focus on entering the new regime.

    Surviving this transitional moment freelancers sometimes even easier. Already after a week or two, they notice how the decrease in productivity due to euphoria affects incomes. And if there is a mortgage, children, or other obligatory expenses, the motivation to pull yourself together quickly arises “from nowhere”. It is important for a remote worker with a regulated workday to “tune” himself before the employer begins to reflect on his inefficiency as an employee.

    Alas, it will be too late to work on yourself at this moment - by this point it would be better to be able to focus on the business, no matter what. Many at first use time-trackers to understand how the day is built, and to be able to present them to the employer in case of disagreement.

    When the difficult transition period is left behind, it will be possible to make time for that very list of personal affairs.

    Set the mode of work and rest

    The mode of work and rest is the same important moment on the remote as the workplace. Conditions largely depend on the employer. But quite a few companies have already guessed that it is not necessary to force an employee to attend online from 10 to 18 Moscow time. “Office” eight hours can be placed in a day and in a different way, if only everyone would be comfortable.
    By the way, in this sense, remote work for one company is much better than freelancing, where there are many customers and initially no one cares that the contractor has more than ten hours a day for personal affairs. At freelance it is easier for the easy to “fall” into work from dawn to dusk. On the remote it is more difficult to do, because the employer somehow controls the time spent by the employee (he also has to pay for it).

    Of course, processing happens on the remote. Sometimes it is necessary to finish a project at any cost, to “support” the release with your presence or urgently fix some problems. And one-time retreat from the schedule is really possible. But you can't turn it into a habit. This is a direct way to burnout.

    Quite a common mistake in working with your own mode - an attempt to divide the attention between work and rest. For example, watching a movie in parallel with a difficult task (we are not talking about proven personal ways to increase concentration, for example, certain music in headphones). It is fraught with the fact that neither one nor the other side of life receives 100% attention. As a result, fatigue accumulates in a day, and work in eight hours is not done - it has to be carried out outside the working time. And again - hello, burnout!

    The balance of work and life is a very delicate moment. There is a theory that the next step for such a balance is changing the worldview so that you always do what you want. And then all life will be in pleasure. But one cannot be in such a “enlightened” state indefinitely - one must constantly monitor oneself. As soon as there is a feeling that something is wrong (there is not enough time for anything, the meaning is lost), we must return to the basics - to the regime.

    The importance of the balance concerns not only the daily distribution of time, but also vacation periods. Leaving a remote client is necessary just like any office employee. Consider that this is a “prevention” time for the brain.

    Should I mix leisure and work? Here everyone needs to look for their answer. Yes, the remote allows you to fly away to live somewhere in another city or country. But we must bear in mind that this will not be an ordinary vacation, where 100% of the time is spent on forays to interesting places. There will have to fully work the same eight hours a day. We have employees who periodically work from other cities. Often the team does not even notice. But this path is not for everyone.

    Part 3. We solve problems as they arise.

    With the banalities finished, go to how actually a long time living with remote work.

    And life is not easy. The same walls and the lack of live communication overtake anyone (we don’t talk about sociopaths). The main thing is that if you are not used to it, you will notice the first signs of a problem when it will be difficult to solve it with a little blood. We hope you will be helped by the next group of advice - the accumulated collective experience that helps our employees cope with difficulties.

    Create a working ritual

    How to tune in the morning to work, no matter what? At first, the above mentioned novelty and responsibility “warms up”. And what to do after six months, when everything is boring?

    The office automatically adjusts to work the fact of arriving at a given location. Day after day we go or go by the same route, greet colleagues, sit down at the table and start working day. There is no such thing on a remote one - you have to invent your own ritual
    Someone goes to a removable office, others wear “working pajamas”, the third has special “working slippers”. And for someone, just a cup of coffee is enough. It is important that the ritual allows you to establish formal boundaries between work and rest - to “explain” to yourself when to think, and when to relax.

    For some, there is also a reverse ritual - the end of the working day. To observe the balance of work and rest, it is also necessary to follow this.

    Manage tasks based on their type and kind

    The remote team is operational only when communications are established inside (we will write something about how it works for us, too). Often, no one requires employees to respond to messages in the mail, slug or any other tools instantly. We, for example, have a response timeout of a couple of hours (companies that require instant reaction, we do not consider here - it’s hard to work with them). However, joining this stream, the responsible person, wishing not to let colleagues down, to demonstrate more predictable behavior and generally not to be a weak link, tries to respond as quickly as possible. This is a very positive practice. But if it is a lot of requests, it starts to knock out. For everyone on the remote, sooner or later the day comes when he felt like he did nothing useful - he was always constantly distracted by other people's questions.

    The balance of work in the flow and reaction to external appeals must be controlled. And here it helps that the remoteness is always a certain degree of freedom, in particular in building your day. If communications are combined in a schedule with communications, bureaucracy with bureaucracy, and flow with flow, it will be a little easier because the context changes less frequently. This reduces the load.

    Of course, in working in a team, the ideal order in distinguishing between different types of tasks will not work out for you. But to strive for this is still worth it.

    Listen to yourself

    On the remote, most likely, there will be no third-party person who is able to notice from your behavior during the working day that something is wrong with you. We practice Skype calls with video, but not always they give a complete picture of a person’s mood. At the same time, psychological state is the same means of achieving goals as the technical condition of the car (in terms of goals in the driver’s work). It is necessary to follow the car - for its performance, too. It is worth examining yourself better: to understand in what state you are most productive, what are the signs that productivity is falling, and how to quickly restore it.
    Some eventually get tired of the four walls so that no “sleep” and “walk” no longer help. And in this case, experience experienced suggests that you can remove a mini-office or desktop in someone else's office.

    A separate topic is physical activity. When working remotely, there is little reason to strain, but it cannot be allowed to drift. After a good charge, it works better.

    Highlight a hobby

    A very tangible and constantly mentioned drawback is the lack of personal communication, the very same office socialization. But no one says that our social needs must be met solely by the location of the employer. The best burnout pill at work is a hobby one way or another connected with communication. For example, one of our employees tried to use the car seat at home, turned into a game set assembly, and then into holding virtual championships on virtual races, which are collected by large companies right in the apartment. Two more jointly master 3D-printing. Many have children who will definitely not allow themselves to retreat to their little world, or at least pets.

    Is your hobby your job? No problem. In IT, attending specialized conferences is a real explosion of socialization, especially recently, when the organizers are “pumping” not only reports, but also what is called “networking”.

    Of course, not all the “tricks” that our team uses to not get tired of the format are listed here. If you are interested in this topic, we will share in the following publications.
    And how do you manage your performance in a remote format? Tell us in the comments.

    PS We publish our articles on several sites Runet. Subscribe to our pages on the VK , FB or Telegram channel to learn about all of our publications and other news from Maxilect.

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