Engineers are being forced to work from home, just like everyone else right now. But considering the nature of the job, it makes for interesting thought as to how they can be productive. After all, how can you build a bridge from your living room, right?
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. Nevertheless, the question remains: how can an engineer do good work while working at home?
This article will show 5 ways they can stay sane and provide just as much value to their employers and the wider community.
1. Keep To A Regular Schedule
This may be the most important on the entire list. It’s so easy to slack and put off doing things when you aren’t supervised or around other people who are also working.
Setting yourself a strict schedule gives you a framework to keep organized, stay on track and remain motivated.
Start the day just as you would as if you were heading to the office or onsite. Get up early, work out, shower, get dressed, have some breakfast and avoid online distractions – it’s unlikely you’ll be watching YouTube videos at 9:30 in the morning when you’re visiting a client.
But it goes beyond creating a schedule. You’ve got to stick to it.
No matter if you’re used to working at home, or you’ve only been doing it this year due to the current global situation, it can take some time to find the perfect routine.
Once you’ve got it, don’t let it slip.
From here, set realistic expectations for what you can achieve during the day.
Now, while this has stressed importance in terms of work, don’t forget that you still need to have some downtime for yourself.
If your project requires you to work extra hours, make sure you free up some time later on in return.
2. Set Clear Boundaries
This is almost an extension of the first point, but it’s still really important to ensure you stay productive at home.
Being an engineer, you understand how easy it is for your work to become your life. Now, imagine what it would be like when your home becomes your office.
Unless you set clear boundaries, you may feel like you’re always working and your home isn’t a place where you can relax and enjoy yourself. So, it’s important to keep your work life and home life separated.
One way you can do this is to create a specific space at home to do your work. The study is an obvious choice, but if you don’t have one, then, for example, set up at the dining table. Sure you may have to eat somewhere else for a little while, but you’ll be glad of the separation.
Another thing you should do is make your friends and family understand that even though you’re at home, you’re not to be disturbed during work hours. Schedule time with friends and family the same way as you plan your days at work.
If the doorbell rings, just ignore it. You wouldn’t be able to answer it if you were onsite, so give it the same treatment. Otherwise, it just becomes another distraction. Plus, it will help you to get out of work mode when it’s time to pack up for the day.
When it comes to stopping for the day, don’t worry if you put things on pause. If anything, it makes it easier to pick up the next day as you know exactly what you’re doing.
3. Take Regular Breaks
It’s easy to get caught up with work at home and just go all in. But even when you’re trying to prove how productive you are at home, you must take regular breaks to keep yourself sane.
Several shorter breaks throughout the day are better than one longer one (which is something that the usual 9-5 job still doesn’t fully understand as they only allow a 1-hour lunch break.)
What should you do during these breaks?
Well, there are all sorts of things you can do. For example, you can read a book or a newspaper, grab a drink or something to eat, or even just go outside for some fresh air.
Another great thing you can do, which will actually increase your productivity, is to take some CBD. It helps you focus and stay calm even when things get a bit stressful. There are some excellent resources over at Daily CBD Mag and CBD Kyro that help to explain more.
4. Stay Connected
Being on your own for long stretches can impact on your productivity and your motivation. As an engineer, communication with your team is really important to the success of the project.
So, make sure you get enough face-to-face time with your colleagues while you work from home. Schedule video chats every so often so you can talk through your tasks. This also applies to clients should they need any of their queries addressed.
Social media sites like LinkedIn can help you connect with potential new clients and meet others in your industry, meaning you don’t have to rely on in-person events to increase your network.
5. Celebrate The Wins
There are so many distractions that keep you from getting all your jobs done, from talking to your friends on Facebook to doing the laundry.
One way you can keep the momentum swinging in your favor is by having a few moments to yourself to acknowledge what you’ve achieved that day. It’s a lot better for your mindset to celebrate the wins, rather than to focus on what’s still to come.
It may be a good idea to record all the day’s events in a journal. Note down all the things you have to do that day and cross them off one-by-one as they’re completed. Not only is it a visible way to see your progress, but it’s also quite satisfying.
Then, when you open it again the following day, you’ll be reminded of what you completed the previous day, creating a healthy cycle that can continue going forward.