article header

A typical day working from home

In 2019, one of our software developers moved from Ireland back to her home in Michigan for a few months. We asked her to put a blog together about a typical day working from home. Now it seems like an apt time to reshare her journey. 

Welcome, everyone! I’m Haley, a software developer with Code Institute. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work remotely, this has been my experience. I’m primarily working from Michigan, where I grew up. Through this journey, you’ll also see me take my work from Dublin, Ireland to the US. 

Establish a routine

My normal workday starts at 8:00EST (13:00 GMT) and ends at 16:30EST (21:30 GMT). Establishing a routine can be critical to your remote work experience. Having a morning routine helps start my day and helps me focus for the workday ahead. Initially, I had no idea how much I would miss my 40-minute commute to work in Dublin. Not everyone fancies being on a train with half the city, but I realised that it was an important part of my day. 

Have a workspace

Around 7:50, I’ll start settling into my workspace for the morning. I sit on a Swiss Exercise Ball at a card table with my laptop and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. It feels more like you’re “at work” when you isolate your workspace from where you would typically spend your time at home. I don’t recommend laying on the couch or in bed while working. It can be tough to balance everything on a soft surface, and sleep doctors say that it is not good for you.

Keep in touch

My mornings usually consist of both coding tasks and meetings with the team in Dublin. When I was working in the Dublin office, it was effortless for me to ask a colleague a question. However, it’s a bit more complicated when you’re on the other side of the pond. You have to factor in the time difference, and you may have to wait a few hours for a response. I’ve also found myself using Slack and Google Hangouts for most things that I would put in an email. For me, emails can feel really formal, especially when the message is about something that I would have just walked over and talked to my coworkers about if I were in Dublin. 

Time Management – crucial

Time-management and the ability to prioritise effectively are crucial skills when working across time zones. But, part of the learning process is figuring out how to make the time difference work in your favour. In the morning, I’ll address anything that I’m collaborating with others on or anything that I need a response from the team on first, and everything else gets pushed to the afternoon. This way, I can get both feedback on what I’m working on before the end of the Irish workday, apply that feedback, and have it back to them before their workday starts the next day. 

Background noise

While starting on coding tasks for the day, I’ll usually listen to TED talks. I find they’re easier to code to than listening to music. With music, I break into a jam session and don’t accomplish much! I’m usually not picking up the entire meaning of the talk, but I find that I’m more productive when there’s (non-catchy) background noise. 

Take a break

During lunch, I’ll try to eat outside or go for a short walk through the neighbourhood before settling back into work for the afternoon. I find it helps me refocus to walk around a bit to get some fresh air before getting stuck into coding again in the afternoon. 

Separate work time from home time

Once the workday has ended, I’ll close my work laptop and leave it on the table for the evening. Creating a distinction between work and home when you’re working and living in the same place is critical. After work, I’ll try to get out of the house for at least an hour. It could be as simple as running errands or sitting outside. It helps take my mind off of work at the end of the day to establish a healthy balance between work and home. 

My mom worked from home when I was younger, so a few of these tips and tricks came from me watching her. It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that when you’re working, even if you’re at home, you’re still “at work.” 

Haley is back in our head office now, but her advice and story are certainly apt for today’s workforce. If you want to sample what it’s like to code remotely, try our free 5-Day Coding Challenge. This will teach you the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Apart from being great fun, it is also an exciting way to find out if you have the aptitude for code. Register now through the form below.