The act of working remotely or from home is not a new fad for much of the technology workforce.
Many people in Philly’s tech community have worked this way long before concerns about the COVID-19 virus made the practice commonplace — or in some cases, a requirement.
While the City of Philadelphia has said there’s only one confirmed case of the virus so far, a handful of local companies are extending remote work options to employees, and encouraging “social distancing,” aka avoiding going out around others when it’s not necessary.
That ranges from bigwigs such as Comcast and Independence Blue Cross to Fishtown Analytics, an analytics consultancy for high-growth, venture-funded startups, which told Technical.ly that its staff plans to work from home “indefinitely.”
And a handful of events in the area, like this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, have been canceled, while others, like Chariot Solutions‘ Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise conference, slated for April 14 and 15, will move online, the company announced Wednesday. (Those announcements came after Amplify Philly canceled its trip to Austin after the SXSW conference scheduled to happen this week was also canceled.)
So, if you’ve found yourself working from home for the foreseeable future, we’ve rounded up some advice to make that transition a little smoother, and a little bit more productive.
Many folks suggested that you treat your morning the same as you would if you were heading into an office. Set aside a designated work space if you can (even if it’s just your kitchen table), make yourself some breakfast and yes, wear some pants.
I try to treat it like a very short commute to an office of one, with almost all normal morning routines in place
— manic pixie dream dad (@heydenberk) March 11, 2020
Get dressed in the morning even if it’s into a different pair of comfy clothes. Also make sure to take breaks and eat. On my wfh days I often look up and realize I haven’t moved in hours. ?
— Alyson Kuritz (@alysonkuritz) March 11, 2020
If you’re going to start working from home:
• Develop a structure and plan your day!
• Give yourself a routine for starting and stopping work.
• Take a lunch break!
• Change into your WFH clothes, it makes a difference!
The structure will keep you sane.
— Swabreen Bakr (@ssscorvus) March 10, 2020
You will definitely have a handful of new distractions to deal with. Some will be less in your control like noisy neighbors or childcare schedules, but whatever you do: Don’t fall into a Netflix hole.
i have been working from home since 2011 and i can tell you it's fine, you'll be fine, just don't do what my one friend did and start watching law & order marathons
— Sara Wachter-Boettcher (@sara_ann_marie) March 10, 2020
2. Do not under any circumstances get in your bed. You will not get up. You will not be productive. You will end up watching Netflix or taking a nap.
— Ali Valcarcel (@AliValcarcel) March 10, 2020
You will want to work from your couch, plenty of folks said, but pay attention to how your back and wrists might feel after a few hours of this, one WFH veteran advised.
(1) Pay attention to ergonomics. In the office you're not going to work from bed or the couch, but you can when you WFH. Take it from me (who wrote her whole dissertation reclined on a couch), this is not a good idea. Your wrists will hate you.
— Kristian Lum (@KLdivergence) March 10, 2020
And oh yeah, please don’t forget to mute yourself if you’re on a conference call. We’re already dealing with 12 people saying, “Hello, can you hear me?” at the same time. We don’t also need to hear Mario Kart noises or that podcast you’re listening to.
As many of us move to virtual meetings and working from home during this strange time, we can all bond over the issue that everyone needs to MUTE YOUR DAMN PHONE ON CONFERENCE CALLS pic.twitter.com/945bl48stp
— Jessie (@foodiejess) March 11, 2020
And when you’re wrapping up for the day, actually do so. Many people chimed in to say that at the end of the day, switch up your surroundings, go for a walk or make dinner to separate back into “home life.” Create a signal that tells yourself “I’m done with work for the day,” and then stick to it.
When I lived in a shared flat and only had my bedroom, I would diffuse rosemary oil during the day and lavender oil in the evening to change the feel of the room. A friend always 'walks to work' ie a stroll around the block and then returns in work mode.
— Season Butler (@season_butler) March 11, 2020
And while adjusting to this new environment might be hard, remember this: Your coworkers are now your pets, who are probably very happy to see you.
The real winner of this pandemic are the nation's dogs, who are experiencing unprecedented levels of People Being Home.
— Hanna Brooks Olsen (@mshannabrooks) March 9, 2020
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