I don’t think anyone expected that remote work caused by covid-19 would continue for so long. This time of remotely working, changing our living rooms into provisional office spaces and adjusting to the new reality has influenced each of us and changed our habits.

Regardless of whether there will be more lockdowns, corporations have already announced that the future of their work will be based on a hybrid model. This trend was also confirmed by our survey conducted in Devapo, in which as many as 60.7% of employees chose the combined option, 28.6% fully remote work, and only 10.7% – complete return to the office.

Switching to remote work happened suddenly and took us all by surprise. The new challenges which we had to face caused by this situation allowed us to discover the weak points of this process. How to remedy them and make working from home more enjoyable, efficient and better for our mental health?

#1 Focus on interactions

Take care of social interactions – even webcams are a small but important element of your everyday work. Try to talk to people as often as you would when you go to the office – chat over coffee, have casual exchanges of comments on the project. It is during these casual conversations in the kitchen that programmers often find a common solution by exchanging thoughts on the problems they face. These small talks are missing when working remotely, so it’s worth implementing them in regular video calls.

How do we ensure good communication in Devapo? The basis of our work is company meetings every other week, during which developers have the opportunity to share updates on their projects. We want to exchange technical and business knowledge and keep communicating news and interesting facts about the life of our company. Thanks to the fact that everyone has the opportunity to share their conclusions and comments, all of our employees can feel like they are part of the team.

We certainly cannot complain about our results, and we can even boast – as a small, but rapidly growing company, we are able to ensure communication not only between team members, but also between all the employees. In communication, we value our distance to ourselves, but at the same time, we try to be professional. Such a work policy will also allow better team building for people who join a company or team in times of a pandemic and have not had the opportunity to meet face to face. This is why at Devapo we want to establish a savoire vivre of remote work, which would include for example an obligation of having good headphones and a webcam turned on.

#2 Skip useless meetings

Although this point may seem like the opposite of the previous one, it can also be considered as a way to strike a balance. As we know the importance of communication, some of us (especially managers ;)) tend to exaggerate and organise too many meetings, clogging up employees’ calendars. When your to-do list seems endless and too many events in your schedule cause working overtime, consider whether your presence in all of these meetings is really necessary.

#3 Use ‘do not disturb’ status

Book some time only for yourself. Considering someone might need your help, try not to be out of reach for your team for a whole day, but a few hours of being focused on your task will increase your performance.

#4 Think about self-care

Make sure you are in good physical and mental condition. Break the monotony and care about appropriate rest during work – physical exercises, walks, regular breaks. Get outside as often as you can – working from home means less movement, as you don’t walk to work, you don’t change rooms for meetings. Care about yourself and keep your mindset positive. If you have a problem with overstraining yourself, start introducing healthy habits into your daily practice and watch your results to become systematic.

#5 Create a separated and comfy office

One of the biggest problems for many employees who switched to the home office overnight was the lack of a professional workplace. As it turned out, months of sitting in the wrong position or on an uncomfortable chair have resulted in backache, which significantly reduces the comfort of work, negatively affecting our performance. Look at your workplace and think about improvements – maybe a more ergonomic chair, one more monitor or a bigger desk could make a difference?

A new working environment means new distractions. Keep isolated from noise and sounds that may disturb you at work. In this situation, headphones with good soundproofing will certainly help (we are still looking for the perfect ones!).

If you want to be more effective, it’s crucial to separate your office work from the housework and stop doing laundry during work time. If it’s possible, try to arrange a comfortable workstation separated from the rest of your apartment, which might help you in keeping a work-life balance separate from your new office from other places which should be associated with leisure.

How to start the day well and what habits are worth developing? Wake up early, get ready, dress like you are going to the office and even take a short walk around the block. Don’t join morning meetings from your bed, it’s a trap!

#6 Get to know online tools and apps

Depending on what software your employer provides, you can expand the base of the tools you use with popular solutions recommended to people working at the home office.

If you have a problem with concentrating on your work, enhance communication with the team or you need to improve task prioritization, try popular online tools and apps – Pomodoro, Trello, Nozbe, Asana, Evernote, Zoom, Slack, Todoist, Chimp or Champ, TimeCamp and many others.

#7 Lift the spirits

In times of poor communication, it is worth giving compliments and praise for the results. If you are a leader or consider yourself a leader, think about how to enrich your remote working interactions to raise the morale of your colleagues. Provide feedback and listen to the opinions of others, thanks to which you will be able to keep an eye on whether the current model of remote work is satisfactory or if it needs improvement.

Although working remotely is already in our blood, we really miss joking and small talk. To maintain our friendship, we take care of a solid portion of memes and jokes in offtopic chats on a daily basis.

#8 Consider your after-work activities

Taking a mental break allows your brain to refresh, which leads to increased performance. Care about your activities after work – put away all electronic devices, don’t check your business inbox after hours. Make rules and stick to them.

#9 Take the opportunity and work from an amazing place

Previously many employees had a limited home office work policy. If you feel burnout and tired of working from home, take the opportunity to move your office to an inspiring place – go to the countryside, rent a house by a lake, go to the mountains or a sunny and warm place. Digital nomading is becoming more and more popular, and trips to work remotely from elsewhere – solo, with family or with friends who also work remote – don’t have to cost a lot. Such a change will help you to relax, recharge your batteries and change your perspective.

Start changes today!

Although the vast majority of us liked working remotely and adapted to the new reality, our employees express interest in the occasional visit to the office. The main reasons for staying at the home office are convenience, the possibility of frequent work from your home town, easier reconciliation of work with other duties, such as studies, as well as working in the hybrid model and working a week from the office an then week from home, thanks to which you can break the routine. However, each of us has already missed the team and every visit to the office is a pleasant opportunity to meet face to face.

Mandatory isolation has shown, how important it is to communicate, care about teamwork and keep the work-life balance in good condition. Focus on productivity, communication, and morale, deploying our complex tips.