My name is Faheem, a developer at Muva Technologies.
The Kenyan government issued a directive that from Monday 16th March 2020 learning institutions should be closed. The government also urged companies to allow employees to work from home where possible among other precautionary steps against the spread of COVID-19.
Working remotely has been a huge topic of interest since the advent of the internet and now more than ever remote working has to be called into play. It seems that we have all the facilities for it, that is, internet at home, laptops rather than workstations, Skype, Slack, and team viewer. This should have been a breeze.
NO, I did not take into consideration some factors. For instance, I do not have an actual worktable. I have to use the dining table with a quite uncomfortable chair, which did not seem bad at first.
As a developer, I need to be online for a good part of the day granted not a 9-5 work schedule but deadlines pre-Covid-19 had been set.
The kids are home and who does not love kids? My 3-year-old nephew loves my back-lit laptop keyboard. My day 1 of quarantine was spent teaching him how to switch the lights off and on. This was fun for the first 2 minutes but we soon wanted to watch kids TV.
Our favourite song baby shark just happened to be recommended when searching for nursery rhymes. So, like a good uncle, we watched it over and over and over.
Eventually, I did get most of my work done but the efficiency was lacking.
The upside was that Muva Technologies gave me a few tips that have proved quite helpful.
1. Communication is key:
The first thing I got was a good communication channel. At Muva, we use slack for internal communication.
All staff members gave their contact information on the Company’s slack channel. The details required include our names, phone number, email, Skype ID and the projects we were working on.
This proved essential, as I was able to communicate with my project team.
The morning started with checking into virtual work by a simple good morning message followed by the objectives for the day in the following format
– what I did yesterday
-what I will be doing today
This was simple and effective in letting the team know what they should do and what will be achieved by the close of day.
The reason for working from home was to prioritize our health. According to our leaders, the company must prioritize its employees’ health at all costs.
Nonetheless, as said earlier, deadlines were set and we have to meet them. As much as the client would understand the pandemic at hand, we must deliver as promised.
To us, this meant to get as much work done as early as possible and the push your code online or as our leader quoted, “Eat the frog first thing in the morning “– Thomas Oppong
Try to stay focused for a good period of time. There are many distractions at home but once you get into the rhythm of getting your work done, stick to it for as long as possible.
A good tip would be to use the tomato timer , that is, doing 20 minutes of work and taking a 5-minute interval, though this timing varies from person to person.
This is tied to communication with an addition that as much as you need your team, your team needs you. Use all the tools provided to keep tabs on your work-mates not only for the work-related aspect but also keeping tabs during this period.
As for the meetings with clients, Skype and Zoom are both reliable software as we are urged not to come into physical contact.
Where possible, avoid meeting the clients with the whole team. Pick a representative and advise the client to do the same.
5. Stay safe
Maintain personal hygiene and I cannot stress this enough, WASH YOUR HANDS.
Secondly, avoid getting information from memes and conspiracy theorists; stay updated with data from relevant sources like the World Health Organization (WHO)
We will continue blogging and providing relevant information on remote working and our personal experiences throughout.