Remote work is the word of the day.
In fact, you may have noticed that location-based employment was already waning in popularity before Covid-19.
Whatever the reason, it's hard not to notice most of the world is moving to distributed work. But, the transition to working from home can be difficult, especially when you're sharing your new 'office space' with family members and pets.
Read on to learn about how to stay productive, engaged, and connected. Let's get started...
Can Engineers Work Remotely?
Remote work allows you to live where you want and have the job that you want.
Maybe you didn't know what remote work options are available if you're interested in the IT and Engineering fields. But the truth is, as the demand for tech jobs rises, you're in a unique position to explore how you can work from home as an engineer.
And with prominent companies like Stripe and Facebook announcing plans to hire remote engineers, you can expect the transition toward more remote work in IT to continue.
For example, did you know that:
- A survey of nearly 90,000 developers found 31.7% of them felt remote work options are an important job factor
- 86% of IT developers work remotely, with almost one-third working from home full time (and 43% saying the ability to work remotely is "a must-have" when considering a job offer) according to another study
A word of caution...
Effective Collaboration and Communication Is Critical with a Remote Team
Now that you know it's possible to be a work from home engineer let's talk about one of the biggest challenges facing remote engineering teams (Hint: it has nothing to do with code.).
When you can't interact face-to-face, interactions between team members aren't as frequent as they would be in an office environment. That can pose a problem because in engineering, collaboration is paramount in achieving goals.
That's why it's essential to be intentional with your tools and modes of communication.
The good news is, there are ways to maintain performance and produce results as a remote engineer.
10 Productivity Tips for Engineers Working from Home
We know that working remotely has become a new normal for many people. So, here are our best remote work from home tips to help engineers achieve peak productivity and performance:
- Create a dedicated spot for work - Limiting distractions is key to your effective work. That's why -- if it's possible -- you want to set up a place to work where you can shut the door and not be disturbed. If that's not possible, you have other options like noise-canceling headphones, disposable earplugs, or working from a balcony, deck, or backyard (weather permitted).
- Make sure you have a solid Internet connection - You don't need to have the fastest connection possible but you do need to make sure that it gets the job done. Fiber, cable, DSL, or satellite are all acceptable options but if you want faster internet speed, use an Ethernet cable.
- Create a communication system with your family - Figure out some signals that will alert the people you live with you're on the phone or doing focused work so they can come back later unless it's an emergency.
- Create some routine for yourself - One study found remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year. In addition to reducing distractions and staying productive, creating a schedule helps with work-life balance. Have set times for work, breaks, and personal time.
- At regular intervals get up to walk, stretch, etc. - Data shows that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people have been exercising less and eating more. Data from 68,000 fitness trackers, shows a 39% drop in physical activity nationwide since March 1, 2020. That's why it's important to take scheduled breaks -- say, every hour or so -- to move your body. It won't hurt to stay hydrated and eat healthy foods either.
- Try to cluster meetings together - When you schedule your meetings in blocks, it helps you be more productive. For example, schedule three meetings within a time block. Of course, you'll have other blocks set aside to get things done and work on projects. Give yourself a buffer between time blocks so you can grab coffee, use the restroom, or just catch your breath before your next meeting.
- Strong written communications is critical - Documentation is key to remote work. Because most distributed teams use a variety of tools for synchronous and asynchronous collaboration throughout the day, it's important to summarize decisions and post them consistently for everyone to see.
- Connect with other developers - Set aside time to network and share ideas with other developers even if they are outside your company. Just because you're working remote doesn't mean you shouldn't stay up to date with developments in the industry.
- Communicate a lot - Communication is extremely important for working on a distributed team. Because you don't get to “see" one another throughout the day, it's essential to be intentional with your tools and modes of communication (Write lots of emails. Have lots of 1:1 conversations. Maybe over-communicate?).
- Get good at noticing what's going on across your organization - You want to avoid knowledge silos by having some idea what your teammates are working on and what problems the company is looking to solve.
Of course, if you're a job seeker looking for advice on looking for your first remote opportunity, you'll want to get your resume in front of recruiters who can help you.
Some Parting Thoughts
Maybe you plan to return to your office in this new year. Or, maybe you're interested in working from home because you want to have more flexible WFH options in your engineering career.
In either case, there are a lot of great companies out there looking for good engineers. That means you get to pick and choose which projects you want to work on. Working from home may not be great for everybody, but if you're motivated and organized, it could be a perfect fit.
Now that you've learned more about remote work opportunities in the IT and engineering fields why not search the available positions on our website? You may be just a few clicks away from an exciting remote engineering role!