How to Live Your Best Remote Work Life

Here’s how two SF tech works stay engaged, balanced and energized while working remotely. 

Written by Stephen Ostrowski
Published on Jun. 19, 2020
How to Live Your Best Remote Work Life
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photo by kaitlyn baker on unsplash

Enhanced productivity. Sharper focus. Reduced stress. Better communication. 

These are just some of the benefits employees of e-commerce company Wish have derived from working remotely, Dawn Nott, VP of People, said. Like her colleagues, the HR executive has worked remotely since March.

“When given flexibility and control over their work environment, employees can be trusted to do their job, and they’re generally less stressed and happier,” Nott said. 

But in order to perform at one’s best while working from home, Nott said it’s imperative to separate personal and professional life. Otherwise, the line between spheres gets fuzzy.

“Without clear boundaries between work and home, it’s easy to work around the clock or get distracted by the home environment,” she said. 

Similarly, Snap’s Sherif Mohamed, who has been working remotely for three months, stressed the importance of a structured work-life balance. Otherwise, a rewarding “productivity high” can snowball into exhausting hours that risk burnout, the software engineer said. 

“I know it's important to be mindful of how much time I spend working and be intentional about taking breaks,” Mohamed said. 

Mohamed and Nott shared how they approach their workweeks to thrive remotely and stay balanced.

Sherif Mohamed
Software Engineer • Snap Inc.

How long have you worked remotely, and what drew you to this type of role?

I have been at Snap for a year and a half, and I’ve been working remotely for three months now. Snap is a relatively small company for the scale of its products and users, which inspires me to have a bigger scope and impact on the Snapchat features we release for iOS. We have teams throughout the country, which gives me a level of flexibility in remote work that I haven’t experienced before.

 

Whats the one thing you do everyday that has the biggest positive impact on your work as a remote employee? 

For me, the impact comes from working closely with my teammates and collectively building something we’re proud of. Doing so remotely is challenging. Therefore, being able to connect during video conferences has been super important for me. Sometimes this means setting time aside to have a brainstorm or pair programming session with my colleagues. Other times, we check in to see how we’re all doing and have some creative discussions. All those interactions give me a sense of belonging at Snap and bring joy knowing we’re building something bigger than ourselves.

It’s helpful to think of our work as a marathon, not a race. Pacing is key.”

Whats the most important lesson youve learned about remote work throughout your experiences, and why?

Work-life balance is the most challenging aspect of working remotely. It’s been very easy for me to lose track of time and end up working long hours, which can happen when there’s no team sitting close by that sets the rhythm for when people stop work. Other times, I get on a “productivity high” and don’t stop to take a break. In the past, it’s led to burnout for me and impacted my morale in the long run. I know it’s important to be mindful of how much time I spend working and be intentional about taking breaks. It’s helpful to think of our work as a marathon, not a race. Pacing is key.

 

Dawn Nott
VP of People • Wish

How long have you worked remotely, and what drew you to this type of role?

I started working remotely at the beginning of March, along with most Wish employees. Once we completely closed our offices on March 19, all employees began working remotely. 

 

Whats the one thing you do everyday that has the biggest positive impact on your work as a remote employee? 

Setting a routine and sticking to it. Without clear boundaries between work and home, it’s easy to work around the clock or get distracted by the home environment. Meals, exercise and grooming can get neglected, and work and personal life becomes very blurred. By sticking to a daily routine and prioritizing my work each day, I’m able to stay focused, healthy and balanced. Otherwise, I’m eating whatever is most convenient, squeezing in exercise if I have time and working odd hours. While it may feel liberating to work in pajamas or take a call while exercising, a structured routine is definitely necessary to keep me on track and balanced. 

Without clear boundaries between work and home, it’s easy to work around the clock.”

Whats the most important lesson youve learned about remote work throughout your experiences?

Working remotely is one of the most valuable and cost-effective benefits we can offer employees. In spite of the pandemic, employees have overall felt less stressed, more focused and more productive working remotely. Ironically, communication has also improved, with many teams having daily stand-ups and more spontaneous, less formal check-ins. 

Working remotely has definitely brought a sense of ease to a lot of employees who don’t have the stress of a hairy commute — sometimes, up to five hours a day — or trying to balance personal responsibilities at home. When given flexibility and control over their work environment, employees can be trusted to do their job, and they’re generally less stressed and happier.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash. Headshots via listed companies.

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