Arin Sime, who opened his co-working space at Old Trail Heights last October, has closed it temporarily to avoid any source of local contagion.
“I still work in here alone,” Sime said, “but it’s basically a big private office for now.” When all this is over, he hopes to open back up again. Nevertheless, Sime is no stranger to working at home. His software development company has never had a physical office, and he’s learned a thing or two about how to make his days as efficient and productive as possible, both for himself and his employees and colleagues. Some of his ideas will be helpful for those just beginning to work where they live. Here’s his advice:
Have a set work space
“It’s nice to move around the house and change things up, but most of the time I have a set work space in my home, with my desk oriented so that I am backed up to a blank wall.” That way, Sime prevents disruptive background scenes of kids or dogs running by.
Keep your finger by the mute button for important video calls
“It’s very handy for unexpected background noise,” Sime said, “and it’s ok to not turn on your video all the time if you don’t feel like being visually present in a video call.” But he tries to use video most of the time because it keeps conversations more engaging for him and his coworkers.
Set a routine of work hours
This is important for people first starting to work from home, to keep focused. “Other-wise,” he said, “you end up doing household chores instead of your work.” He believes, though that once you’ve worked from home for a while and are more comfortable with the routine, you may be able to have a more relaxed work schedule and still be productive.
Maintain personal space
This is very important for your mental health: “Shut the computer down during dinner or for the evening—and try not to bring the laptop to bed.” You still must have personal boundaries, even though your work life and home life are more integrated.
Get up and move
Sime suggests you do this more regularly than you might have in the office, even if you need to set a timer to remind yourself.
Maintain casual conversations
This will help you carry on the relationships you enjoyed at the office. “Set up a time to video chat with co-workers and talk about non-work items, just like you would in the office around the water cooler,” Sime said.
Sime likes to keep the length of meetings to 30 minutes in most cases. “I think this is even more important when people work from home,” he said. He tries to be respectful of other people’s time and doesn’t expect them to be available for long meetings at any time of day just because they are stuck at home. Sime uses tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Slack to keep his remote team in touch.
Sime said his company is particularly busy right now because it builds tele-health software that allows doctors and patients to meet remotely. His product, SimplyDoc, now has a version that can be used by small family medical practices. “We’re hoping that this can help some people with remote medical visits,” he said.