About home office teams

A Home Office Team is a team of people working at home for a common goal.

Working in a home office has advantages and disadvantages, joys and dangers. I have been working at home for 20 years. Here is a collection of my advices and suggestions I happen to give to my team members. It’s not finished and never will be.

Leave traces of your thoughts

Keep in mind that you might die at any moment. You are a human. Today might be the last day of your life.

Don’t rush on for days into some direction without leaving any written trace of what you are doing. And “doing” includes: failing to do, surfing around, stumbling, asking questions, realizing that you were wrong, explain why you did something the way you did it,…

You are not alone

You are part of a team. Our team is unique. It consists of a limited number of other humans. The others need you and you need them. You are not alone.

Doing your best

Life is more important than work. The team cannot expect you to deliver satisfying work if you have serious troubles or are not satisfied with your life. Your availability for the team varies over time.

On the other hand the team has a mission and duties towards their customers. You have a responsibility towards the team’s mission.

Working as a software developer is often fascinating and can monopolize your attention.

Love your work

We want you to enjoy and love what you do. Never do something you hate to do.

We want you to develop your full potential.

There is a difference between

  • a job that nobody wants to do, but everybody agrees that somebody must do it, and you happen to be the most suitable or the least unsuitable team member.

  • a job that doesn’t suit you, and another team member should actually do it, but neither you nor the other team members know it.

About sleep

Switch of your phone when you go to sleep. Ideally already half an hour before you go to bed.

We have no fixed office hours. Other team members can’t know whether you are sleeping right now. A little text message or a missed voice call notification can cause you to loose valuable hours of sleep. One hour of lost sleep can cost you a whole day of inefficient work. On the other hand, text messages and voice calls are there to be used. Maybe it’s 3am in the morning, but you happen to be fully awake, and the other team member really needs your feedback to get unlocked.

Sleeping is an important part of your life. It’s a duty you have towards your body and your health. Sleep is not like money, you cannot make profit by giving credit to others and hoping to get it back later.

If you don’t sleep enough, your work performance and efficiency decrease. Learn to listen to your body. When your body needs to sleep, then doing your best means that you go to sleep.

About burnout

We should always worry about burnout, but we shouldn’t fear it. It is a real danger for everybody, especially for members of a home office team. But when you know the warning signs, then you can safely wander quite far into areas that are dangerous to those who ignore the warning signs. That’s why it’s useful to speak about it, and even to collect advice for future team members.

My personal “now it’s time to stop” warning sign is when I notice that my body needs sleep but my spirit refuses to stop working. This happens from time to time, when there is a particularly interesting problem to fix. I then decide to take one or several days off and to “play” as if I was really sick.

Here is a poem written by French actor and poet Robert Lamoureux (translation by Simon Couderc on lyricstranslate.com):

You tell me, sir, that I look bad,
That with this life that I lead, I ruin myself,
That one does not gain anything to do too much,
You finally tell me that I am tired.
And you advise me to go to rest!
But if I accepted there, what you propose,
If I surrendered to your sweet intrigue …
But I would die, sir, sadly … of fatigue.