Here are our top tips for technical leaders, project managers, data scientists, and designers collaborating on data science, ML and AI projects, as well as some general best practices for working in a remote environment.
Remote Working Tips and Tricks
Identify top priorities for the day
It can be hard to separate work from personal life when they both happen in your home. By organizing your tasks based on priority, you can help make work feel like work and home feel like home. Start your day with purpose and remember that breakfast and getting ready is still personal time. Enjoy your coffee or tea, eat breakfast, stretch, and get into your work gear (even if it's only on the top half). End your day with a meditation, walk, and a closed computer. Have a distinct moment when you start and end your work day, rather than beginning to check emails while the coffee is still brewing and taking calls while dinner is on the stove.
Set up your work station
Setting up a physical distinction between your living space and your workspace is critical to avoid burnout and distractions. Even if you don't have an extra room to use, it can be something as simple as setting up a divider to block the TV from your dinning room table or setting up a monitor and some work supplies on an extra desk. Don't forget to add your rubber ducky to bounce ideas off of! If you do have to work in the living room, put work equipment away and in another room when it's time to transition to your personal space again.
Practice mindfulness to stretch your body and your mind
Break, and break often. Block your calendar for daily 15 minute walks around the block, lunch, late afternoon caffeine boosts, and even meditation and exercise. Practice the Pomodoro Technique with a twist. Use your breaks to get up and stretch, walk outside to get some sun, meditate, sit with your thoughts or let them wander. Most people forget to take these quick reliefs from work when we are not in the office with a water cooler or espresso machine to convene at.
Don't forget to eat (and drink)!
It can be easier to skip lunch when working from home. But when you are hungry (or lack caffeine like most of us), our productivity goes down. Start your day with a hearty, protein-rich breakfast, and snack on brain-boosting foods such as blueberries, avocado, nuts and seeds, oily fish, whole grains, and yes - even dark chocolate! Make sure lunch is screen-free and most importantly, don't forget water! Hydration is important not only to health and well being but also to productivity. Water is life.
Establish healthy flexibility
If your child needs help with their digital class, or you and your partner need to split childcare, arrange your day, block your calendar, and clearly communicate your time-off needs. Prioritization of daily tasks will provide clear focus and help you know how to maintain a healthy and productive balance.
Don't forget who your colleagues are by getting stuck in silos. Reach out often - whether it be daily stand-ups with your team to check in on project progress, a quick message to see how a colleague is doing, or virtual tea times and happy hours with the team. We can't expect people to be camera-ready at all times, but when you are able, flip that switch and enter gallery view. Seeing everyone's faces can really help reduce the feelings of isolation we are all experiencing. These small efforts can help projects stay on track, help teams work more efficiently, maintain collaboration on workloads, and boost team engagement and camaraderie.
Never stop learning
The landscape of the tech industry is always changing. Now more than ever, COVID-19 is rapidly altering nearly every industry at accelerated speeds - from the way we work and live to our needs and priorities. Leave time blocked in your day to read industry news, learn about new trends, or take online courses in your field. Download free trials of products you always wanted to know more about, learn a new programming language, or just brush up on soft skills.
IBM is offering many courses and badges for free ranging from Enterprise Design Thinking to Cybersecurity to Blockchain. Take advantage of this opportunity to become a leader in your field and build technical eminence.
Know when to unplug
Setting boundaries around when you are plugged into work or unplugged into your personal time is equally important to your job and your family. During breaks make sure notifications are paused, your away message is up, and your computer is closed. It's easier for colleagues to respect your break time if there is clear indication that you are away.
Browse our curated list of tools and resources to help you do your best work at home.Resources and Tools