From Cubicle to Home Office

Every now and then the noisy office is getting on my nerves. Headphones or even closed doors are not helping. Co-workers from other departments will enter the room, stand in front of your desk and just start talking. They don’t understand the meaning of headphones. Even when you’re in a Skype call, they just don’t seem to care.

It’s kind of flattering that they need your help (if they really do – sometimes they just want to do small talk or tell you, that they’ve sent you an email, but that’s another topic), but nonetheless it’s really hard to get into the zone when you’re interrupted almost all the time, even from fellow developers who should know it better.

What’s the solution? Working remotely. It is possible, even when you’re usually working in a cubicle. Let me tell you how. Actually, there are only two things you really have to do consistently.

In most companies, there is the option to work from home in particular situations. Maybe you expect a delivery at home, you have a doctor’s appointment or anything else and in this situation, you are allowed to work from home and for instance login to your company’s network via VPN.

But what if you just need a day with a calm and familiar environment where you feel very comfortable, meaning your home?

Well, the first thing you have to do is: Ask your supervisor.

And the reason for you to work from home is: You have a bunch of tasks and you need some time alone so that you can focus much better and finish your tasks properly. And this statement already contains a very important point: Finish lots of stuff.

I guess your goal is to be able to work from home many times. Perhaps once or twice a week or even more often.

Now imagine you are the boss of your company. I know we live in a digital world, but sadly lots of executives still want to have the control over their employees and think that you only do your work when you are at the office.

I know it makes absolutely no sense. In particular in the software development world. You have to check in your code, finish tasks, and almost every step you do can be found in the history of git (or any other versioning tool). If you decide to surf the web the whole day, you could also do it at the office. You don’t have to be at home for that.

Still, people want to see you in the office because they are afraid you won’t work at home. To convince them otherwise, make sure to boost your performance at home and finish a lot more than you do at the office. When you do that (and they can see it because you checked in your code) you will gain trust and your boss eventually won’t have any concerns if you want to work from home sometimes.

Another important point when working from home is: Being available.

To gain even more trust and to show that you really are on your tasks, you should be available for Slack, Skype calls or anything else almost all the time. This doesn’t mean that you have to interrupt your work every single time someone drops you a message or a call. Simply reply with a short message, that you have to write this one line of code first and that you will call them in ten minutes or so.

With being available for calls and chats you also show how great you are able to work when you are at home. You can even improve that by also turning on the webcam while having your daily stand-up via Skype or Google Hangout.

That’s already it. Finish lots of tasks and be available. These are the most important factors for me when it comes to home office.

And I don’t have to tell you all the benefits. You don’t have to commute which results in less stress and you will feel better at the end of the day. It’s quiet and there are no interruptions like co-workers entering the room and telling you that they’ve sent you a certain email. There is much more you might already be dreaming of. In essence, you will be a lot happier and you will enjoy your job.

But wait, there’s more!

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