Tips and Best Practices from the Bees for Working Remotely

Written by: Heidi Gilmore

8 min read

Stay connected

Bees have worked remotely since our founding 10 years ago. We have an internal Slack channel used to discuss topics related to working from home. We threw out a question or two, asking the Bees for their best tips and practices to make working from home easier. We got back a ton of responses and wanted to share them with you.

Do you have any tips of your own to share? Push them out on Twitter and tag us (@CloudBees ). We will select a few to add to this blog!

Tips and best practices from CloudBees employees:

COMMUNICATION

“Send 'Good morning' and 'Have a good night' chats to the team. You would say good morning to your colleagues when you come into the office so why wouldn't you still do that when WFH? It informs your team you are online and available or you are done for the day.”
- Nicole Case, HR Business Partner

“Create a culture of embracing the distractions of working remote: I can't tell you how many times seeing someone's pet or child photobomb a video call is the highlight of the meeting vs. a negative distraction. It puts everyone in a better mood and at ease, knowing that home life distractions are inevitable and are part of this working arrangement.”
- Nick Rendall, Product Marketing Manager

"Provide channels that facilitate human bonds...or animal and baby bonds in our case. We have Slack channels for #social-cats, #social-dogs and #social-baBEES. Nothing like the smiling dogs or sweet potato covered babies of your co-workers to brighten your day."
- Kristin Baskett, Product Marketing Manager

“Invest in the gear to work well, remotely. Lots of options here, but doing your best to increase the fidelity of online interactions makes a massive difference in how you are perceived, both internally and to customers (if you interact with them). Even marginal increases in the quality of your interactions matter. Replacing in-person communication is hard, but very possible. This takes consideration and effort.”
- Kenny Younger, Senior DevOps Consultant

“Communication tools are not only for talking about tasks, but also for socializing. If I feel depressed or I am just not in the mood, I have work pauses and talk with my fellow team members. Creating relationships is even more important when you work from home.
- Raul Arabaolaza, Software Engineer

YOUR WORK SPACE

“I have a break area setup when I work from home and it is located in another room so I have to get up and move away from the computer. I typically have a jigsaw puzzle that I work on for about 20-30 minutes. It forces me to stop working and shut my brain off from the last meeting. Also, I like to change things in my background to see who’s paying attention on camera. It sort of helps gauge who is watching and listening to me.”
- Melissa McClure, Manager, Corporate Programs

“A dedicated home office space is key to being productive at home. It will help reduce the necessary 'context switching' that comes with disruptions. If you don't have a home office and your kids have a desk in their room, use that until they get home from school. Just be mindful that on video conference calls those Hello Kitty and Ant Man posters will be in the background. But they're a great way to break the ice and relax with your colleagues or customers. We're all human - celebrate it.”
- Tim Johnson, Product Marketing Manager

“Make a room of your home the workplace - preferably with a closing door. I have a makeshift kitchenette in my office with coffee, water cooler, snacks, mini-fridge. Even though the kitchen is just steps away, leaving 'work' disrupts your flow state. On the same note, when work is done you can really leave it behind that door. That's harder to do mentally if you are working at the kitchen table or on the couch.”
- Kristin Baskett, Product Marketing Manager

“I have been doing it full-time since 2005 and the tips I have are:

  • Write well

  • Have your own real office space

  • Have two kinds of Internet connections available

  • Don’t work in pyjamas, wear normal clothes

  • Start out with regular timeframes and don’t relax it until you have been working that way for years”

- Michael Neale, M&A Strategy Director

“Have a space dedicated to work, and only work there. Do not have things in that space (or visible) that trigger, even subconsciously, non-work stuff. If you can, dedicating a room, or cordoned off portion of a room, is ideal.
- Kenny Younger, Senior DevOps Consultant

YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

“What I found to be the most beneficial when I pivoted to remote work was still getting dressed and ready for work. Even if it’s only work from the waist up, once I gear up my head is in the game.”
- Rose Becerra, Product Manager

“Discipline is key. Stay strong and stay on your schedule. Be sure to keep up with exercise, shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair (for those of you that have it) and put on your work clothes. If you dress the part, you will feel the part, you will act the part and will inspire a response from colleagues and customers.”
- Matt Cillis, VP, North America Sales

“You need a balance between flexibility and predictability in your working hours to take full advantage of working at home, I usually do most of my work at office hours but I keep my starting and ending time flexible.”
- Raul Arabaolaza, Software Engineer

“Time box work. Take a “commute” to and from work each day. Put on your hat when you “leave” home and put it away when you “arrive” later. You have to separate your mind from work to be present at home. This is not only healthy for home life, it’s healthy for your work. You need to take rest from work to do quality work.
- Kenny Younger, Senior DevOps Consultant

“On quiet days, when I only have a few minutes of calls, if I am not doing a really mentally challenging task, I like to put some podcasts or YouTube videos in the background. Most of the time I don’t pay attention to them, but I like hearing the voices in the background.”
- Esther Alvarez Feijoo, Software Engineer

“There are some meetings that you can have while walking in the garden or any quiet place. It is relaxing and at the same time, healthier.”
- Raul Arabaolaza, Software Engineer

“Track your working hours, it’s easy to work more than usual and you need to balance.
- Raul Arabaolaza, Software Engineer

“You need a balance between flexibility and predictability in your work hours to take full advantage of working from home. I usually do most of my work during office hours, but I keep my starting and ending times flexible.”
- Raul Arabaolaza, Software Engineer

YOUR CHILDREN

“I saw a posting on Reddit for creating a sane home environment in which kids do chores/homework/exercise to earn privileges for things that want to do (video games, shows, soda). We use monopoly money, not real currency. Day three and its working well with Logan (12 years, boy), Lucca (10 years, boy), and Lilah (7 years, girl)…after the initial resistance.”
- Michael Bevilacqua, Chief Architect

“In addition to corporate America suggesting we work from home, some of our schools are now shutting down; so our kids will be with us…at home…all….day…long. If you have young kids, I recommend jointly setting a schedule that includes both playtime and learning time. Have them work on math problems for 30 minutes, then history for 30 minutes, and yes, there’s probably going to be quiet movie time when you’re on that important video conference call.”
- Todd Stayin*, Senior Customer Success Manager
*Yes. His real name!

“Don’t get too rigid with start and finish, there is nothing wrong if you stop one hour in the middle of the afternoon to play with your kids and work back after dinner. But remember the previous point about tracking hours.
- Raul Arabaolaza, Software Engineer

PHYSICAL HEALTH

“I need the dog-walking breaks to keep me sane. When the dog cannot go out (sick, whatever), I can feel it within two days.”
- Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart, Architect

“Be sure to take breaks - when you are in the office and have interactions with others you get a break (i.e. get coffee, chat with co-workers about non-work things, etc.) but when you are home alone you don’t get those breaks. Be sure to get up, take a short walk or stretch, it’s good for both the body and the mind.”
- Noel Seaton, Customer Enablement

“This is probably only useful for me, but fridge visits are allowed just once in the morning and only to take fresh fruit.
- Raul Arabaolaza, Software Engineer

“WFH for 10 years - if I don’t get out (cycling) and see real humans (I don’t include family there - LOL!) I start to go a bit insane after about three days (e.g. during the rainy season). This is not great for the current crisis - I am pondering using Zwift and online cycling as a stopgap measure.”
- Ben Walding, Director, Engineering Operations

Additional Resources for Coping With COVID-19

Stay up to date

We'll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.

Loading form...
Your ad blocker may be blocking functionality on this page. Please disable for an improved experience.