13 Work from Home Tips from the All-Remote Team at Kitepipe

In this time of Global Lockdown, lots of people are working from home for the first time.  I asked the Kitepipe team, who have been IT remote for the last five plus years, to share some work at home tips.  Here they are!
  1. Get up, shower and dress as if you were going to work (because you are!)
  2. Set a schedule - be at your workstation at a consistent start time, and wrap up at quitting time
  3. Use your “commute time” - one team member listens to tech podcasts before starting her day; another walks around the block before starting work.  And - for those of you who have dreamed about that ideal six mile bike commute, here is your chance - three miles out, turn around and ride back.
  4. Have a place that you work, and only work there.  Some, like me, are lucky enough to have a spare bedroom that I have converted to a home office.  Some use the furnished basement.  But, if all you have is the Kitchen table, set yourself up at the other end as your workplace.
  5. Pay attention to ERGONOMICS - this is Key!  Don't slump on the couch hunched over your laptop - you will pay in shoulder stress and tension. Best is a firm chair, with keyboard at elbow height, and external monitor on a stand so that your neck is erect.  Google for lots of good info about this important topic.
  6. Get a set of ear covering headphones, especially if you work in a noisy environment. Let people on a call know that you “have visitors” if they might hear background noise.  The Bose Quietcomfort 25 is a great wired choice with noise cancelling tech for under $200 and they really work.  I have replaced worn out ear cups on mine twice.  The only downside with these is that you can’t...
  7. Get up and walk around periodically - I like to pace around when I’m on an audio call or thinking - one team member gets up and walks around the house every 90 minutes or so
  8. Don’t eat your lunch at your workstation - stop, go prepare a meal, eat it, and return - you need a break!
  9. Do some stretches every day - If you have never done any Yoga, this is the time to start - cheap, can be done at any level, gets you loose, flushes your organs with oxygenated blood, stimulates your digestion - too many benefits to detail here - find a beginners session on Youtube.  Don’t forget the Breathing!
  10. Be camera ready!  We work with client teams all over the country, and across industries.  Some have a “cameras on” culture, some don’t.  I put my camera on when I’m on a video call with people I don’t know, to introduce myself.
  11. Check out your camera image - do a video call by yourself, turn the camera on, and tune the lighting, camera angle, and background until you are happy.  Lighting is key - soft three-quarter lighting makes you look good, helps avoid sharp shadows and backlighting.  Consider getting an external camera if the “up the nose” angle from your laptop is not flattering - I use a Logi HD 1080 on my monitor
  12. The last week or so, bandwidth on Zoom sessions has been limited - we have gone to cameras on for the intros, then cameras off to conserve bandwidth.  Your bandwidth at home may be significantly limited, and impacted by family members streaming video, etc.  You may need to manage bandwidth as a family during business hours.
  13. Call someone you have not talked to for a while - we all need more human connection, and talking to others can remind us that we can all get through this together!
When I started Kitepipe to build cloud integrations, several wise advisors told me not to try an all-remote team, because it was so important to building the organization that everyone come to the office and work together.  But, we have worked hard at building team and community in a remote workforce, with great success.  We use many slack channels for technical, client, and random topics. We have weekly meetings and sessions, and even an all remote Holiday Party where we get merry and play Pictionary, in teams, on the Zoom whiteboard.
So, welcome to the remote working world!  This is the future!
Best, Larry 

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