COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has influenced businesses in multiple ways. Some companies have incurred losses, closed their offices, canceled bonus payments as well as business trips, and stopped the hiring process. However, there are many teams who have been focusing on technical optimization and saved some money by reorganizing technical processes. Along with the troubles coronavirus brought, a new reality has opened a door of opportunities for software development companies.
One of the new facets that became a part of our everyday routine is remote work. For some people it's a dream come true, for others it's a continuous battle with themselves. What are the issues that influence those who work in the software development industry remotely and how can we cope with them?
Employers believe that managing remote teams is much more difficult than in-house teams. Employees that work remotely are rarely asked to be in charge of the whole project, on the contrary, they are often given specific tasks that rather relate to project implementation. Therefore, specialists who shift to remote mode may slow down at their career progression.
Studies have shown that loss of control increases stress. For instance, the passenger sitting in the front seat of the vehicle is experiencing higher stress than a driver, who keeps everything under control. For a C-suite transitioning to remote work means having less control and going through more stressful situations. The bigger company is, the harder it is to adapt to a COVID-19 season. For smaller companies, it is significantly easier to embrace those changes.
Working for a year remotely takes the feeling of being a part of common corporate culture and traditions away. The atmosphere of the company office is the culture carrier and it's quite challenging to maintain and develop it somewhere else. You may love your job, be responsible and diligent at work, however, staying distant is never easy to experience.
Seeing each other in the office, letting the atmosphere take you over, and understanding how people interact with each other and departments, is crucial. The behavior that is naturally produced in these situations is difficult to recreate in the artificial environment.
People might be afraid that quarantine and social distancing can leave an idea of the society built on the tight social connections in the distant past. Recent research shows that individuals with strong social connections live happier and longer.
Do not underestimate isolation. Lack of communication leads to the loneliness that affects a person's physical and emotional state, especially if you work with management and human resources. Humans are social beings, therefore think who you can communicate with whenever your working time is finished. If you're spending eight hours at home, spend your free time hanging out and communicating with your friends and family.
It's worth mentioning that remote communication is always slower than face-to-face in the office. From my personal experience, social distancing significantly restricted my social circle which affected my mental state. Despite the fact that I am an introvert, handling isolation was extremely difficult and I ended up talking to my ficus.
There were cases when I and my colleagues were working at night discussing project details. This allows solving issues right away, however, it may be irritating.
Each company has a work schedule. You are expected to come to the office and leave it after your working day is finished or adjust the schedule and still work a specific amount of time. Having a rigid agenda prevents overtiming, at least a little bit. Remote work, unfortunately, can cause overtiming and burnout. Employers are afraid that distributed teams may be ineffective, however, it is the opposite. When there are almost no boundaries between working time and free time, employees start overtiming.
To avoid this issue, constantly remind yourself that you need some time to rest and create a working schedule for yourself, otherwise, you'll deal with fatigue, health issues, and low productivity level. Despite the flexibility, I enjoy when working remotely sometimes I sacrifice my free time for the sake of project development and even left English classes.
If you're working in the office you are surrounded by a specific climate. Your colleagues who work diligently, or at least diligently pretend that they work, build the environment that encourages productivity. It's insanely difficult to create a working environment at the place where you used to have a rest. Creating your own office somewhere in your home really helps.
Working from home might also be difficult due to the people you live with as they have their own daily schedule and habits. In this case, creating an office atmosphere at home is almost impossible and mastering self-discipline is the best way out.
If you go to the office every day you feel like you're doing something valuable. If you're at home, you can spend your time watching funny videos until your consciousness stops you by telling you that you are a responsible person and now have to work 2 hours longer. Ultimately, instead of working 8 hours, you work 10.
When your work interferes with your leisure time it becomes confusing where you should work and where you shouldn't. Ultimately, you start overtiming.
In fact, the only way to control teams remotely is by using AI systems. The more people are switching to remote work the more monitoring tools are going to be used. If you are going to use those tools explain to your employees that monitoring systems are to be used only during quarantine and remote work.
There are a lot of ways to communicate, for instance, setting up a one on one meeting or going to an online party will help you to relax and enjoy socialization. Recently our developers organized the first shared programming session. Working in front of web-cameras and talking like you are in the actual office have helped us to feel closer. The idea is similar to Focusmate.
Find a separate workspace designated for work. Identifying a trigger that will help your brain to get ready for a working day like a favorite song, headphones or your favorite clothes will set you in a mood.
Minimize information noise. Try to avoid using social media and playing computer games, set specific time frames for communication, and mute irrelevant chats. The desire to do anything interesting except your work is going to chase after you.
According to statistics, a typical office worker burns 2000 calories in a day. Everything that is left won't add to your muscles. Here, at inVerita, we have football, tennis, pull-ups, and jogging championships. During quarantine food may become your greatest enemy, so don't neglect working out.
Create daily schedules. Pomodoro Technique might not be effective if you are easily distracted by food at the kitchen or movie sounds, because breaks can last a little longer than you plan. Sticking to a traditional working day and having a break for lunch is a perfect agenda for remote work. Sleeping a necessary amount of hours helps to stay focused and productive. You can also use StayFocused, a chrome extension that increases productivity by limiting the amount of time that users spend on time-wasting websites may help you as well.
Keep your workspace lit, aired and humid.
All in all, when working at home you will definitely face some of the issues we've been talking about in this article. Remote work is now a lifestyle and developing the necessary habits like socialization and discipline is a must. If you aren't self-disciplined and don't have a wide social circle you may face tones of issues. Therefore, think ahead about training self-discipline, and finding people with who you can communicate to avoid psychological problems. Ultimately, by mastering all the skills you need you can enjoy all the benefits of working remotely.