Wherever in the world, your development team may be located, there’s a high probability that you will soon – if you haven’t already – begin working from home. Despite the issues the world is currently facing, you will likely still have deadlines to meet and milestones to hit, especially if your project is currently client-based. As such it’s always best to execute a stringent working routine, and UK trade association TIGA has issued its top tips for staying on track in a home environment.
There are many potential problems that arise with a sudden change in the working environment, especially when working from home. There are likely to be numerous distractions in the home that do not exist in the workplace, not least other family members. It’s important that you remain strict about your work-life while maintaining the balance you had when traveling to the office every day.
TIGA is a network for game developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry. The core purpose is to strengthen the games development and digital publishing sector, and as such below follows TIGA’s advice for working from home, verbatim from the association. You can find out more about TIGA at its official website.
When working from home, it is important to get ready for the day and behave as if you are actually going into the office. Set an alarm, shower, and get dressed as normal. Staying in your pajamas or comfy clothes will make it harder to separate work and leisure time. Getting dressed is a small but effective way to feel mentally prepared and ready for the day ahead.
Structure your day
When working from home, it is easy to lose focus and get distracted by family members, social media and other things around the house. Being your own manager means it is important to allocate time to tasks as you would in the office so that you do not lose focus. Create a plan for the day and follow timings to establish what you will do and when. This will ensure your work is done and that you stay in a routine. Use platforms such as Google Calendar, Office 365 and Teams to schedule meetings with your colleagues, and to set personal deadlines for tasks. This will maintain a sense of fulfillment when you complete tasks and feel that you have had a productive day.
When teams are working from home and are not together in the same location as normal, it is critical to maintain communication. Keeping in close contact with your colleagues means that tasks can be divided, work can be set ideas can be pitched and discussed as ‘normal’. Scheduling in times to speak to your team over video calls allows issues to be raised and encourages discussion and the sharing of ideas. Working from home can make it easier to retreat into your computer and lose communication, so a dedicated effort will go a long way to ensure that this isn’t the case.
When working from home, it is easy to end up working in bed or on the sofa. It is important to not work in spaces associated with leisure time, so set up a dedicated workspace in your home to keep your work equipment. This could be a specific room or surface in your house that will become the new ‘office’. This is important in mentally differentiating between work and leisure as you would when travelling to and from the office and will allow you to maintain a work-life balance.
Use technology to keep connected
If the power of technology enables you to do your job from your home, harness its potential and think of diverse ways that you can connect with others through technology, or use technology to your advantage. Setting up virtual coffee breaks with colleagues to encourage normal conversation, as you would occur in an office, is one idea. Technology-based companies can find diverse ways to interact with colleagues on breaks, and video-conferencing technology such as Zoom can encourage effective communication.
Set yourself something to look forward to
When working from home, it is important to set yourself something to look forward to at the end of the ‘working day.’ Choose something you enjoy doing – a particular TV series that you enjoy, a fitness workout, cooking, reading, or whatever you find enjoyable, as something that you can look forward to. Allocate time for these activities at the beginning of the working day, so that you can work towards them as a reward for the end of the day. This will help to keep you in a routine, and to maintain a sense of accomplishment when you have completed your work and can unwind.
Look after yourself and others
At such a time of uncertainty, it is important that you prioritize your mental health and look after those around you. Use technology to discuss how you are feeling with family, friends and colleagues, and to check in with other people. For the foreseeable future, technology will be the main medium of support for many people, including yourself, so utilize it well and ensure that you are looking after yourself and those around you as a priority.
Kevin Joyce has been working with immersive technology since 2013, establishing VRFocus.com as one of the leading AR and VR publications before joining Admix, a non-intrusive advertising platform designed specifically for immersive experiences, as Lead Evangelist.