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Work From Home: What Works and What Doesn't

Alex, a business analyst, has been working remotely for over a year and a half. Alex explains the pros and cons of working remotely in Russia. He says remote work in 2019 was more of a dream than a reality for most IT industry workers in Russia. But when you understand what awaits you and know how to deal with these disadvantages, you can learn to live and work perfectly in remote mode. Alex shares his advice on how to make remote work, work and personal life more productive.
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@BlackCatsAleksei

Hi, I'm Alex, a business analyst for about the last five years. While living in Moscow, he worked for large energy companies that are part of the Inter RAO Group and the largest retailer X5 Retail Group. And for the last year and a half, I have been working remotely.

The first month - I liked everything. Everyone was charged with enthusiasm from the change of situation, but it became harder and harder for the team and me over time. At that moment, I decided to study the topic of remote work for myself because I am not the first and a large number of people successfully conduct business in this mode. I read many articles and studies on the topic, tried them on myself, and now decided to share what I found most valuable for myself.

Remote work in 2019 was more of a dream than a reality for most IT industry workers in Russia. Freedom to choose the time and place for work, the ability to do all tasks faster, and no commute issues.

And now, in 2021, when a significant part of the employees of IT companies have been working remotely for more than a year, can you assess from your own experience whether this is a dream? But when you understand what awaits you and know how to deal with these disadvantages, you can learn to live and work perfectly in remote mode.

Pros

  • The opportunity to live anywhere, even in another country. For people from small cities - no need to move to megacities or spend money on renting an apartment.
  • The ability to independently plan your day and work at a convenient time, work for the result.
  • For companies, this is a significant saving on offices, both on the premises and their maintenance.

Cons

  • Isolation and loneliness. According to surveys (buffer.com) from 2019, 2020, and 2021, one of the biggest problems for remote workers is loneliness. This point was highlighted by 16% to 20% of respondents in different years. To be alone with a computer all day without exchanging a few words with a colleague at the next table negatively impacts a person. When a person is lonely, his natural needs are not met, he becomes more detached and less productive.
  • Physical health deteriorates. Although it seems that, unlike working in the office, when working remotely, you can be more active. In practice, it turns out that there is even less activity. Now you do not need to commute, look for a cafe to have lunch, or go to the other end of the building to the meeting room for a meeting. Increasingly, people do not take sick leave and continue to work.
  • In the same way, mental health also suffers. There are more stressful situations and problems with maintaining a balance between work and personal life. People are often distracted by family, dog, household chores, and they need to work again. The feeling that if you don't respond to a message in Slack instantly, a colleague will decide that you are not at your workplace and are doing something else.
  • It's harder to work. There are more meetings, to which more people are now invited because it used to be that everyone would need to be accommodated in a meeting room limited in area, and now, one click and a person is at a meeting. Such meetings are less effective. Also, often people perceive remote work not as a full-fledged job but as something between a vacation and work. It's hard to control.

Of course, the list is not exhaustive, everyone can find their own pros and cons, but in my opinion, these are the most important points.

In the end, all this can lead from a rosy picture of free and effective remote work to a gloomy reality in which you have lost interest in work, and it seems it's time to go to a psychologist.

How to make remote work, work

Create cool reasons for yourself to leave the house. Work in pleasant co-working spaces, try to work from a cafe. Find a hobby for which you will need to go somewhere or go. Plan a walk or a trip to the gym to not sit at home all day. Go to the bar with the team, after all.

Set boundaries. Determine the time and place at home where you work so that your family does not bother you during work and colleagues during the time you have determined for the family. Do not work from the bed. Let the bed remain a place to relax.

Avoid meetings. It sounds like harmful advice, but if you believe you aren't needed there, - click "reject the meeting" and see what happens. If your participation is essential there, they will write to you again, and if not, it's for the best, do not waste an extra hour of the working day. Properly configured boards in Jira can help everyone stay up to date and collect fewer meetings.

Try to formulate tasks as clearly as possible and set deadlines, at least for yourself. Break down the tasks into small ones as many times as necessary for a complete understanding.

By following these suggestions, you will have fewer reasons for procrastination at work.

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