When working from home I have found I am able to be much more focused than when I worked in the typical “open floor plan” office (or any other office).
A recent article on CNN reminded me once again of the first thing I discovered once I started working remote: I am able to have long, uninterrupted times at my desk. As a software developer who is generally terrible at multi-tasking and context-switching, I LOVE the fact that an hour or two can go by with me dedicated to the one main task my company wants me to do: work on the latest feature or bug.
Not only do I learn more and get work done faster, I feel like I’m able to produce a higher quality product…as I haven’t had to come back to desk 10 times during my project and say to myself “Now where did I leave off?”
I also am able to setup my work environment just like I like it for the purpose of focus…not whatever fits into the company’s office budget or general office layout. I have a MacBook Pro front-and-center hooked up to 3 (you read that right) 24” monitors. I use one “workspace” for communication: email, company chat tool (HipChat, Slack, or whatever), and Messages. I have a completely separate workspace for development, where I typically have open my code editor, a shell, a browser, and the corresponding browser developer console (all on separate monitors in the workspace, of course). If I complete a small task, I can always choose to switch to the “communication” workspace and see what’s up (or ask an “asynchronous” question)…or I can stay where I am and move on to the next task.
Most of the people in my small company know that if you’re really trying to get ahold of someone, you just mention them specifically by name in the chat tool, and that person will get an audible tone (a simple, small ‘ding’) that they’ve been queried. It’s about as unobtrusive as an interruption gets.
I realize that this approach won’t work for all companies, all industries, and all situations, but for me and my world…it’s pretty ideal.