Working from home - my own experience and suggestions.

My role as Technical Account Manager at VMware is considered a Home Office position by default. In our job, we TAMs visit customers on a scheduled basis, but in general, most of our work is performed from the Home Office. As such, it is ideal to have a workspace configuration that is comfortable for you and meets your individual needs and wants.

In the recent days with the news about the coronavirus, many organizations are allowing or even mandating their employees to work remotely and although not everyone can do that, a good number of people find themselves working from home when they are not used to.

Here are some of the things I do and recommendations I would give folks to try and stay productive and pleased while working at home.

1. Keep a strict routine – By this I don’t mean rigid work routine suggesting you must seat on your chair for the same eight or whatever many hours you put in when you go to the office; my suggestion here is to have a set of hours when you will be working, or doing other non-work related things such dropping off or picking up children from school. Having an organized schedule will help you avoid getting distracted with other chores and ending up neglecting your job.

2. Have a dedicated work area – If you can’t configure an office per say, find the best suitable space of your house where you can work with good lighting and away from disturbances.

3. Use a standing desk or walking workstation if available – We all know the risks of seating down for long hours and the different types of standing desks or walking workstations come in very handy. I use a VariDesk and an Air-Climber (more on that below) and would recommend at least the standing desk to everyone.

4. In the morning, assume you are going to the office – This helps with number one above, and also give you an early start to your day. In my opinion, unless you don’t mind working past evening and night hours, if you don’t start early, some things may not get completed when 6:00pm comes around.

5. By all means, take breaks – Just like in the office, you should take enough breaks through the day from your desk and computer to avoid musculoskeletal issues, tension or stress. Taking quick walks is a great way to recharge.

6. Avoid distractions – This one is difficult if you have small children and your office space is not confined.  When you have small children that are still too young for school, they will find a way to “find you” to play with you. If you have an enclosed office with a door, hiding is a bit easier. I would say try to setup your workspace on a place in your house that is far from where little ones or even adults will be for most of the day.

My office space is in the basement of my house, it is not walled with door but is quiet and fitting to my needs. I use a VariDesk Pro Plus 36 standing desk that I elevate frequently, specially during calls, and when in listen-only mode, I often exercise with an Air Climber that my wife has had for years and makes for a great climbing activity during calls where I don’t need to present or talk – of course I don’t want to sound agitated while talking on a meeting.

Here is a view of my standing desk and air climber... 

I do have an office chair of course, but wanted to show my setup with the air climber.

Working remotely has its perks and having that trust and flexibility from your employer is very valuable; but you need to perform well in response by being accountable and productive though, if you don’t, sooner or later it will show and you may lose that flexibility or even the job.