Telecommuting has become the norm for many knowledge workers during the corona pandemic. Often, remote connections enable everyday work without any major challenges and may even enable focusing on demanding topics without any disruptions.
At Unikie, 100% of employees work remotely. The company has been able to manage all customer projects through remote connections, which is not a small feat for a company with a TISAX3 security certification. Unikie has put in a great deal of effort to ensure that they can carry out business as usual during the pandemic. The ability to maintain our high customer satisfaction and manage the projects without interruptions is the key factor in all our work – also during these unprecedented challenges.
Software developer’s tips for remote workers
At its best, remote working can be a very efficient way of working, but a few things should be taken into account. Unikie’s software developer and IT consultant Timo-Joel Piippola has been working remotely full-time for the past two years, and we asked him for a few tips on how to telecommute successfully – and how to balance remote work with your private life.
Timo-Joel is a specialist working as a part of an international work community in the field of Digital Business Automation, and his main responsibility its to manage the case and document management systems and their renewal towards cloud-native development.
“Routines and schedules create the basis for a workday”
Maintaining day-to-day routines is important. When you keep your everyday schedule, with regular wake-up times and meal-times, and make sure that you get enough exercise, it also helps separate leisure time from worktime and ensures that you can do your work as effectively as possible.
Routines also help if the whole family stays under the same roof during the workday. Routines and schedules create the basis for the whole family’s day. Rules are also needed to ensure necessary space and peace during work meetings and other assignments that require your full focus.
“Set up a calm work space for yourself and ensure good ergonomics”
Work space is an essential part of telecommuting. The space must enable you to work in peace and leave your equipment out for the day, and it must also unable uninterrupted work meetings. Common rules are important here, too.
The importance of ergonomics of your remote work space becomes highlighted when you work from home for a long time. An electric desk makes it easier to change positions in the middle of a day. Timo-Joel also suggests using a platform to turn a regular work desk into a standing desk, which enables you to change positions during a workday even if you don’t have an electric desk.
Office chairs are another factor that has a significant effect on ergonomics. Saddle stools and exercise balls are a good alternative to a traditional office chair, which help reduce the amount of static sitting.
Timo-Joel also strongly recommends using headphones with a Bluetooth connection, which make it possible to walk around during meetings. He also takes some exercise breaks during the workday. His office at home not only has office-level hardware and furniture, but also exercise equipment for training at home.
“Remember to take breaks, drink some water and have snacks”
Timo-Joel thinks that breaks are very important to telecommuters. They are beneficial to the work itself, but also enable communication and short trips outdoors to catch some fresh air with the family. Remote coffee break chats with colleagues brighten up the day and enable maintaining social connections with the work community.
Having a snack during the breaks is also a good thing to remember. Snacks help keep your blood sugar levels even and ensure that your mind stays active and alert throughout the day. Timo-Joel recommends using the Pomodoro time management method to keep track of breaks. He also reminds how important it is to drink water during the day.
“Be active, keep in touch, document things and trust yourself”
Working remotely and being physically separate from the rest of your team does not mean that there is no communication. On the contrary, the various channels of keeping in touch and communicating with others only become more important. When social interactions and face-to-face meetings decrease, conversations by phone and in online meetings will increase.
Teamworking from several different locations also requires new kinds of processes where actions are more and more communicated also in writing. The motto ”Sharing is caring” is the guiding light of Timo-Joel’s work. The team of Timo-Joel’s customer project works in different cities, both in Finland and abroad. In addition to daily communication, Timo-Joel also highlights the importance of documentation. When people use the agreed tools and document everything, the work is easier for everyone. More and more often, the information one needs can be found in the Wiki, for example.
In his own work, Timo-Joel swears by helpful tools. He uses a To do list, Kanban boards and active notes in an electronic notebook (Evernote) to make day-to-day work a little easier. This way, it is easy to save the work requests that would interrupt your work process without them disrupting your current job.
Timo-Joel reminds us that it is important to trust in your own professional competence, but also in that of your colleagues. Work goes smoothly, when you follow the procedures and guidelines that have been agreed together.
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