<img src = "https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/working-from-home-socks-cat-trek-800×450.jpg" alt = "A work from home Suggestion: snacks, supplies, a pet, and dolls. You should consider upgrading to a more ergonomic workspace (better chair, better keyboard). Replacing the dolls is not an option for us (unless you trade in.) Babylon 5 Toys, we guess.) "/>
Enlarge /. A suggestion for working from home: snacks, supplies, a pet and dolls. You should consider upgrading to a more ergonomic workspace (better chair, better keyboard). However, replacing the dolls is not an option for us. (Unless you swap Babylon 5 toys, we suspect.)
Aurich Lawson / Getty
Regardless of where you live or work, the novel corona virus means that you have probably started to look into the possibility of working from home instead of a central office. (In many cases, "option" is a gentle way to put it.) Here at Ars Technica, our employees have seen their phones and messaging apps blown up with countless versions of the following: "How the hell are you doing the whole thing? work from home? "
We are able to know. Ars Technica has been a remote workforce since its inception in 1998, decentralized and fully connected through internet-based collaboration. If this is new to you, don't be afraid: Lee Hutchinson, Senior Technology Editor, wrote a detailed explanation in February of how our website works in this way. This feature is part of a recent series of remote work, and the other entries have largely focused on the business feasibility of the practice.
But the tenor of this conversation is changing rapidly given the corona virus, and you might be more interested in a wider range of impressions and tips. Therefore, we are here to offer large and small opportunities to improve your remote work experience based on the years our employees have successfully done it. These range from short to lengthy and contain suggestions that may seem obvious or silly to some, but sometimes the little things add up when you're working from home.
We are primarily there for you. Expect more coverage of the Ars Technica work-from-home transition in the coming weeks, and contact us if you feel a little crazy. Even if you work from home, take it from us: you are not alone.
Doctor's Instructions: Jay Timmer, Ph.D., Senior Science Editor
Your office must have a view. Trees, birds, open skies – just something you find attractive. If you lift your head off your screen to clear your mind, there is something you want to see.
Have an exercise and activity routine. Many studies have shown that getting up and moving around a little is incredibly positive for your health. If you can furnish your office with everything you need and don't have to get up and find employees or go out to eat, it's easy to get completely seated. Set up a routine to avoid this.
Have a standard activity in case you need a break from work – something you can easily switch to without having to spend time thinking about what you want to do. One of the big problems for me is that I usually need a break when I already feel drained and don't think clearly. The last thing I want is to start an internal debate about what I want to do.
Location, location, location: Timothy Lee, Senior Tech Policy Reporter
Have a physically separate work area – ideally a separate office or at least a desk dedicated to the work. Place it as far as possible from the kitchen, laundry room, television, and other sources of domestic distraction. You want to take regular breaks throughout the day, but it should take a little time and effort to get there so that you're not constantly tempted to distract yourself with snacks, chores, or whatever.
It's easy, not easy: Lee Hutchinson, Senior Technology Editor
In my experience, what helps above all to have employees who are also virtual? I had a role in a previous job for about a year, in which I was the only distant teammate on a large administration team in Bellevue, Washington. On the other hand, this meant that I could work from home if necessary; I had access to a physical office in my city, but was as far away from my team as I was at home. On the other hand, it meant that I had missed a lot of communication. Everyone was in the office, caught themselves in the hall for informal communication, stuck their heads over the cube walls to ask quick questions or exchange ideas orally, walked around the coffee pot and all the other normal office work you do. Unless someone called my desk phone or called me in an instant message or email, I was more or less isolated.
Working at Ars with a completely removed team means that most of our interaction takes place within Slack, including the informal stupidities that are so important for building shared experiences and strengthening team cohesion. The "time-consuming" aspects of Slack that might make it questionable for teams that use it as a complement to a physical office are important if this is (more or less) the only socialization you get with colleagues.
I think it's a long way to say that at least some kind of human contact is a must. Everyone has days when they need to focus on a project and of course don't want to be disturbed, but instead have someone in a similar situation to you with whom you can share a stupid link or laugh quickly. A common joke is for the mental health of vitally important.
Shelter in all its forms: Jennifer Ouellette, Senior Writer
I've spent much of my career working from home long before I came to Ars, and I totally agree that it makes a big difference when everyone works remotely. It is the same kind of bonding through shared experience that only takes place virtually in a physical office. When I was just there, I still found opportunities to build online communities, e.g. B. by a group of friends of science authors (including Dr. Timmer). We started with an email list and then switched to a Slack channel (which I visit much less these days because I spend all my time on the Ars Slack – it does the same thing).
I honestly never really had any problems working from home. It fits my temperament more than your normal office environment, and I've always been good at establishing my own daily routine and structure. But I noticed early on that without regular social interaction in the meat room, it was far too easy to get lost in my own head and get a bit "pinchy". A typical example: My spouse Sean was on a lecture tour in Australia for two weeks last month, and I planned some time with friends a few times a week until he came back: meeting another writer for tea and carbohydrates, for example, a brunch for girls and a movie tour or a visit to our local shelter to pet a few rescue operations and help for about an hour. (We adopted our two cats from there, so I feel invested. 😊)
Speaking of which, pets are a great place for short breaks during the day. I like to look up from the keyboard to see how a nap curled up on my Time Capsule or whether I want to play fetch or get some scratches.
Like John, I've always devoted time to regular workouts during the day to walk away from the house and from my desk for a few hours. It's also great for the balance between body and mind: the training gives my brain a break so I can get back to work refreshed, ready to thwart any difficult story or bout of writer's block / brain fog that may have plagued me before. I can often multitask during training by watching films or TV series that I may be reviewing to further counteract these couch potato tendencies. If you can review work documents or view required video content during the move, this is an option with or without a home treadmill. Just watch your step by looking at the phone when you take it outside. What i suggest. While it is better to physically leave the house for training, we have the NordicTrack equivalent of a peloton for those days when this is simply not possible (e.g. a voluntary self-quarantine during a pandemic).