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Remote work seems to be an ideal solution, especially in IT. However, it is not for everyone. It did not use to be very common, which has led to many myths around it. In recent weeks, due to the state of epidemic threat, it has become a necessity for many people, often suddenly and without any prior preparation. Some will adapt to it, others may need outside help.
There will also be those who will happily return to work in the office as soon as the opportunity arises. The reason for this is obvious – everyone is different and has different needs.
Cezary Statkiewicz – Tech Lead, GIS developer, SW engineer at Idego Group.
A programmer with 17-year experience in converting ideas into working code for clients from home and abroad. He has worked on various projects, from simple online stores, through CMS and dedicated e-commerce systems, to social networks, as well as automation of testing mobile applications and processing spatial data based on aerial photos. Feels good with Python and Django but doesn’t shun other technologies.
The initial period of shock and euphoria over remote work might be followed by fatigue caused by this manner of working. Low mood, lack of motivation, less interest in the environment, which together can drive a spiral of deprivation, further decline in mood and physical neglect. In the long run, it can lead to much more serious problems, such as occupational burnout. Now you understand why creating a friendly remote culture is so important.
It can happen to those who have just started working remotely, as well as to people who have been working like that for a long time. Here are several factors that can contribute to occupational burnout:
The key to preventing or at least mitigating these phenomena is, of course, communication. Remote work takes away all the small interpersonal interactions that working in the office provides (for some it’s a curse, for others, just the opposite). Even if someone is an introvert and needs a small amount of contact with other people, social interactions are nevertheless necessary.
If you are a (remote) employee, remember to:
This is absolutely fundamental. Since the simplest advice – leave the house after work and meet people – is temporarily unavailable due to the state of epidemic threat, you have to handle it differently. Call family or friends. Don’t forget about your neighbors!
This is one of the most difficult aspects of remote work and requires practice and self-discipline. A small ritual before and after work can be helpful. It can be a coffee while starting work, a moment of exercise, or a brief read. At the end of a workday, it can be cleaning the desk and turning off / putting to sleep the computer. A wall clock can help you keep an eye on not working overtime.
This is very much connected with the previous point. If you can’t have a separate room just for work, think about renting a small office or co-working space. Don’t work from a couch, hammock or a cafe. The physical separation of the workplace is important for several reasons: it gives you some peace and quiet and the opportunity to concentrate on work.
This is important, especially when you have family and children. Of course, in the current situation, some of these options may not be available and you’ll need to improvise.
Communicate what you do, not only problems but also solutions and ideas. Maybe someone knows the solution to your problem, or are struggling with one that you have already solved. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or opinion, and don’t avoid the small-talk you made while working in the office.
Both, on the side of the company as well as each of us, there are actions worth implementing to make remote work more enjoyable and more efficient. It is also worth considering which practices (especially, if they are new to the organization) should particularly be taken care of and applied in the future and also remembered when it is again safe to leave the house. Stay healthy!
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