I joined Janio in July 2020 as a Data Analyst with the Business Intelligence team. Ever since then, I’ve been working remotely, mostly from home. Occasionally, I’ll head out – like to the WeWork office here in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
As is the case for many others joining a company in the midst of a pandemic, remote working has become the new norm. For myself, this was the very first time I’ve been onboarded remotely and worked primarily from home.
This experience was slightly daunting for me in the beginning, since the set-up was still very new to me and I had concerns about the ease of communication between myself and the team. Though, I’m glad to say that ever since my first day here at Janio, I’ve felt connected and comfortable working with the team despite not having had the chance to meet them in person yet. So I’m very grateful that everyone has been super welcoming and helpful.
What it's like working from home
Just like most things in life, working remotely has its pros and cons. Prior to joining Janio, I had spent some time working remotely and learned how I could improve on my work efficiency whilst working within the confines of my own home.
Like many of you who have experienced working from home for the very first time, the experience was quite liberating at first, since there was no requirement of going back to office, especially for an extended period of time. This meant no wasted time commuting, heading out to eat… the list goes on. However, those who are not particularly accustomed to the situation may feel disconnected and out of place after the ‘honeymoon phase’ fades.
As a Data Analyst at Janio, working independently (most of the time) is part of the role, so transitioning into remote working is much simpler, as compared to others who are more used to having many in-person meetings. I definitely don’t think I could handle having video calls all day!
That said, the only guaranteed virtual meeting I have every day is our team’s stand up. It’s nice – and important – to catch up with everyone and to hear what they’ve been up to. Besides that, we keep in touch through Slack, our team communication tool, or voice calls once in a while. Interestingly, even if I were based in Singapore instead of Vietnam, I believe this set-up would still mostly be the same since everyone on our team is generally quite busy with their own projects.
What I like about working remotely
It's easier to concentrate at home
I usually stay at home because it helps me to concentrate, though occasionally, I will head out to a café for a change of environment. However, that’s never for too long, because there are always noises that might be distracting – people chatting, music playing and other small things. Productivity tends to decline with these distractions around, and studies have shown that it is always almost better to work in a noise-free environment with little to no distractions.
I think this is where people have the most difficulty when working from home – when life seemingly becomes monotonous, especially from the lack of interaction with the outside world. So to keep yourself mentally healthy, it’s important to set some time aside to meet up with your friends and socialise.
You get to cook at home
Another pro… and con is that you will be cooking more often – at least, that was the case for me. I wouldn’t say that my cooking skills have improved drastically, although I am eating a lot more cleanly and being more conscious about what I put into my body. But here’s the thing. There’s going to be a lack of variety, since I don’t feel like spending the time to cook too many different types of meals.
When the team communicates well
The Business Intelligence team has been great in communicating with each other, and that has enabled me to connect and get along well with them, despite being all the way in Vietnam. They are all very responsive and helpful with any issues or questions that I have.
How to stay productive
Write down your daily goals and tasks
When you spend so much time alone, it’s easy to lose track of time. That’s why I always maintain a schedule, with some flexibility, centered around completing my tasks. I keep a to-do list and track all of my projects on JIRA (team project management app). This way, I’ll know what I’ve completed at a glance, and am able to keep track of how productive I’ve been each day.
I learned about the Pomodoro technique when I was still in university, and picked it up again over the past year. Essentially, the Pomodoro technique is about working for a set amount of time, taking a short break, and then starting work again. You can think of it as sprint interval training in the world of sports, where you run a series of short sprints and take breathers in between. With Pomodoro, the short breaks help you perform better throughout the day. In this way, you don’t get too exhausted when you’re in front of the computer for many hours. Another bonus – it also helps to prevent eye strain.
Though sometimes I still work through the timer when I’m on a roll or when I don’t want to lose my train of thought. You can adjust the technique to your liking.
Maintain good posture
This stays true whether you work from home or at the office. A bad or lazy posture can lead to negative side effects including back pain, neck pain, migraine, and scoliosis. Unlike a sudden injury, these are usually the consequences of months and years of poor posture.
It’s a long-term marathon
It’s important to practice these little habits each day at work (from home) to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy, especially for the long haul.
Are you a fully remote employee as well? Let us know about your remote working experience on our LinkedIn post!
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