Remote Tips: Remote is Exhausting
VMware Tanzu Labs
Creating the right working environment
- Everyone should have a good audio headset with a directional mic.
- Establish boundaries and transitions: separate work from life by carving out a dedicated workspace and find ways to remove it from your vision while not working.
- It’s OK for family and pets to appear in your video; we’re all human.
- Introduce variety: work from different parts of the house.
- Turn off notifications.
- Try Krisp, a video conferencing add-on that mutes not only your background noise, but also that of everyone else on the call.
Looking after yourself and each other
- Schedule breaks.
- Stretch, dance, or take up bird watching!
- Spend time outdoors, exercise, or have exercise breaks with your team.
- Stay hydrated!
- When on break, allow your eyes to rest at a distance.
- Stay connected with friends, family and community.
- Block time for personal care.
- 🔥 Monitor your potential for burnout using Burnoutindex.org.
- Take an occasional “mental health day.”
- Help each other and keep each other accountable.
- Ask each other the right questions.
- Discuss in retros how to support each other and reduce fatigue.
Setting a routine
- Make time for breaks, planning, reflection, and team social time (e.g., take 10-min break for every 80 minutes of work; Mary needs to deal with childcare at 3 PM every Wednesday, so plan meetings around it).
- Having a fixed working routine helps you to maintain and manage your energy levels.
- Use a timer to help plan breaks.
- Find ways to mark the start and end of your day (standups/catch-ups); daily stand-downs might help to shorten standups.
- Replicate your commute to punctuate the transition from home to work by doing something relaxing and fun before work, and clearing your workspace at the end of the day.
- Don’t go straight to work after you wake up.
- Keep regular times for meals.
- Experiment with different ways of working to find out what’s best for the team; not everyone shares the same peak hours of energy and focus.
- Designate a pair of engineers as the “interrupt pair” at the start of each day to lower the cost of interruptions and minimize the need for conversations, decisions and context switching.
- Respect the routine, but experiment with change.