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A software developer's guide to working from home

Suggestions on how to improve productivity, motivation and comfort when working from home

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Working remotely has grown increasingly popular due to the rise in digital jobs that require no more than a laptop and an internet connection. At first glance working from home appears to be an attractive alternative to the busy commute and the cacophony of a communal workspace.

I caught up with some of the JUCE & ROLI developers that work from home, to offer insight into the rituals, gadgets, and home comforts that help them to maintain productivity and agency when working remotely.

We found the most common motivation for our devs to work from home was their geographical location. Working remotely gives them the freedom to live wherever in the world they please and to continue working for a cutting-edge London based company.

As with most things, working from home has its downsides. Unfortunately video conferencing hasn’t yet come far enough to avoid experiencing poor quality video and audio from time to time when joining calls. Additionally, working from home may not suit those that are more socially inclined as they might find the extended time alone dull and, in our case, you might miss our ROLI lunches.

If you do find yourself working from home here are our 5 tips for success!

1. Be prepared

The tools you require in order to work from home will differ from company to company. For our developers 95% of the work can be done with a laptop, stable internet connection, a pair of headphones and an MPE controller. One of the greatest investments you can make as a work-from-home developer is a reliable and fast internet connection, this is an prerequisite for smoother video conferencing and the efficeient deployment of new code.

A great pair of noise cancelling headphones is a great investment when working from home, the JUCE team recommend Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, not only are they great quality but also comfortable to wear for long periods of time, during long video calls or working with audio. The software tools most relevant to remote working at JUCE are git and slack. A separate room dedicated solely to office use can help with maintaining a work/life divide.

2. Have a routine

When working for a company that generally follows a cadence of daily meetings, lunch and set working hours it can be beneficial to sync your routine with that of the office. Our Staff Algorithm Engineer, Zsolt swears by aligning his daily routine to that of the UK team in terms of morning stand-ups, meetings and lunch, for near-seamless cooperation.

JUCE make use of Google calendar to schedule meetings, events and set reminders, however, if you find a to-do-list style tool more productive I use Swipes, an app which allows users to plan, complete and archive tasks with simple left and right swiping motions.

3. Stay motivated

The general rule when working from home is that you should love what you do, working from home requires greater self motivation, something that comes more naturally to those who enjoy their work. If that isn’t enough of an incentive, our team agree that great code, music and having interesting problems to solve keeps them motivated throughout the week.

There are some extremely useful software tools available that can help if you find yourself becoming distracted by social media and unrelated browsing. For Mac, SelfControl is an effective productivity tool which allows users to set a timer that blacklists the websites you find to be distracting whilst you work. Another useful Google plug-in StayFocusd combats procrastination by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites.

4. Get outside

When working from home it can be tempting to recline on the sofa for the entirety of your lunch break. Walking the dog or meeting a friend/colleague for lunch during your break can lift your mood, remove any feeling of isolation and stretch your legs.

Another alternative to constantly sitting down is a standing desk. In an ideal world we would all have ergonomic adjustable desks that allow seamless transitioning from seated to standing desks. If you are equally as concerned about good posture when seated there are a whole selection of ergonomic ‘balance’ chairs from Backapp that keep you moving throughout the day.

5. Have a back-up plan

No matter how reliable and fast your internet connection is, it can sometimes go down for reasons unknown and out of your control. For this reason it is good practice to have a back up plan in place in case this happens. This could be in the form of a mobile hotspot whereby, you use your mobile data as WIFI on your laptop or PC, or, something as simple as having a repository of tasks you can complete without an internet connection, until you get back online.

 

Wherever you choose to work these are some useful considerations you can make in order to improve your productivity, organisation and general wellbeing.

If you have any individual tips and tricks for working from home we’d love to hear them, tweet us @JUCElibrary or contact us directly at info@juce.com

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