Work From Home Tips from the BoxBoat Team
We founded BoxBoat in 2016 as a remote-first company. Since then, we've learned a lot about how to operate in a fully remote capacity, including what works well and what doesn't. One of the things that we've learned is the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance for all team members.
Many companies not accustomed to working remotely have seen employees working longer hours and constantly checking messaging apps like Slack after hours, to the detriment of their work-life balance. Over time this will lead to decreased work performance and morale, something that is harder to manage for remote teams.
One of the strategies that we use to mitigate this is encouraging our team to use home offices to create a physical barrier between work and home life. If you've got a home office that you enjoy, its easier to “flip the switch” between work mode and family mode.
We wanted to let some of our team members show off their home offices and advice they have for working remotely.
Alex - Site Reliability Engineer
Make sure that you have separate work from home and personal environments, so that you don't get distracted by personal things during work and work during personal time. If you need a break from work, make sure you have a comfortable place to relax for a bit (hammocks are awesome).
Nick - DevOps Engineer
Good quality video is super important. If you have a DSLR with HDMI or USB-C out, you can turn it into a very high quality webcam. If you want some color for your desk, get a plant (but don't forget to water it!). One large monitor is better than two small monitors, and make sure you get a comfortable chair (but not too comfortable, you don't want to fall asleep during meetings).
Jess - Solutions Architect
Having a clear voice for audio and video conferencing is really important – use a headset if possible to avoid echo, find an environment you can focus in that won't distract you or others, and use software like Krisp to smooth out the sounds in your environment.
Eric - Professional Services Director
Leave the office, frequently. Some days you'll be on calls all day long, or heads down on a project. When you can, get up and walk around the house, or around the block. Throw in a load of laundry or wash the dishes. Take advantage of working from home to get those quick menial tasks out of the way so that you don't have to worry about them in the evening and can spend more quality time with your loved ones.
David - Training Director
It's important to make your home office a place you enjoy spending time in, but not too much. I also found a great use for my expensive college textbooks – monitor and laptop stands! Initially I was going to get a chair for my desk, but eventually decided against it. Standing up (with a foam pad for my feet) helps me focus during the day.
Jeremy - Senior Solutions Architect
If you have a dedicated office, close the door outside of working hours – especially on the weekends. This creates both a physical and a mental barrier to keep your work and life separated in a healthy way.
Forester - DevOps Engineer
Taking breaks is very important when working from home – I recommend that you walk around every 2 hours or so to stretch your body and move around. I like to walk a few laps around my block with my dog or do some stretches during lunch.
Facundo - Solutions Architect
Having the right video and communications gear is really important. Sometimes things can get pretty loud if you are talking in meetings all day, and this might disturb your family (especially if you have young children at home). You can buy sound dampening foam for your office on Amazon and it works pretty well.
Mikhail - DevOps Engineer
Creating a home office space that works for you ergonomically is very important. I like split keyboards – plus the combination of monitors at the right height and a standing desk really helps out.