Working from home has become a norm since last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Java developers from tech giants to small start-ups have been ultimately shifted to a remote working model. Despite it seeming convenient and cost-efficient, it was not the easiest change for java developers—especially for those who are employed in small or mid-tier companies. Individual Java developer, as well as whole development teams, have been facing some newly discovered challenges in completing their work from home.
Many mid-tier companies lacked the infrastructure required to handle remote work. They did not have proper security solutions for remote access to the database. Proper communication and meeting tools were not available, which initially affected the performance and productivity as a whole. Later, when these problems were settled, Java developers realized some difficulties on individual levels while working from home. A decrease in productivity, lack of focus, procrastination, and communication gap between teammates were some of those problems.
To counter these problems, the following are some top working from home tips for a Java developer to make things easier.
1) Communicate More Often
Working from home was indeed a significant change for Java developers, especially for those who had been working on big projects in close proximity with their team members when face-to-face communication was typical. Big companies often have a well-established system for long communications with physical meetings, but small or mid-tier companies usually lack such services. Emails and messaging applications are now used for exchanging dialogues, which can often result in miscommunication as email exchanges cannot be that frequent or detailed.
The best option is to not limit your conversations to email if you have any ambiguity. If you earlier preferred to discuss any matter with your team members face-to-face while at the office, then you can do the same thing remotely and start using voice or video calls to communicate. This will eventually reduce miscommunication and make developers mitigate the effects of social isolation, which is a by-product of working from home.
2) Follow a Schedule
Work-from-home Java developer jobs have been in the industry for quite some time. Freelance Java developers are habitual of working from homes, but that’s not the case for an office-going developer. When an onsite Java developer has to work from home, he most likely won’t be able to follow the schedule he was following at the office, as home chores and other tasks have now become part of your schedule. These types of changes can have a major impact on productivity as well.
The best thing to do is set up a proper schedule for your working hours. It is not supposed to be too rigid, but you should at least set some time frames for each task to get them done before the deadlines.
3) Minimize Distractions
One of the most challenging things for a java developer working from home is handling distractions. Every work environment has its distractions but, in an office, you are getting constant reminders about your work. In contrast, home is not where you could see all the people working around you. A simple digital or physical distraction can take your mind away, causing hindrance during work and disturbing your flow.
Jira notifications, ads, calendar alerts, emails, meetings reminders, and worse of them all, social media notifications are just a few interruptions a Java developer experiences daily.
To prevent these, you should first disable all your desktop notifications. Start using the “Do Not Disturb” mode before working on a complex task that will require a lot of focus. When you take a break in between, only then go through your notifications to make sure you haven’t missed anything important related to your current task or anything that requires attention.
If you are facing some distractions from your surroundings or from your neighbors if you live on a busy street, you can grab a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. Even if you do not want to listen to music, just put them on to block all the distracting noises from outside.
4) Don’t Work All the Time
Java developers usually tend to work continuously for long sessions and working from home hasn’t changed that. Many Java developers realized that they are now working more hours than before. Why? Because their work is now immediately accessible, and the blurred line between home and work has now eliminated those bounds.
Although it seems like a good thing that you can give more time to work while working from home, don’t do that. Balance your work and life adequately as it is very crucial to keep yourself from exhausting, which will directly affect the quality of your work.
5) Don’t Conduct Too Many Meetings
As a team lead, manager, or member, it has now become very easy to schedule a meeting with your team. But this can easily frustrate your teammates if it impacts their workflow, and they will feel unable to do their work due to the never-ending meetings. Although these meetings are vital to conduct with your teammates or to get feedback from your supervisors, they should be controlled and properly managed.
Try to sum up multiple objectives in a single meeting, keep things short, and if you are a team lead conducting meetings to check the team’s progress, only include those developers who are assigned to the task to discuss. It will save a lot of time for developers and help maintain the importance of these meetings.
6) Don’t Be Completely Isolated
Tech giants usually work on improving their employees’ mental health, which is unfortunately neglected in small and mid-tier companies. The only thing that contributes to good mental health here is the companionship of your colleagues in the office. Java developers are often seen as isolated and working all alone focused on a complex problem. Such an isolated session is not very long in office spaces as often colleagues interact with each other or have small conversations about things other than work. These small chit chats might not seem very significant but these can act as small refreshers during your work.
When a Java developer works from home, the complete self-isolation could make it a bit harder for them. They need to interact with someone while working from home, as this work from home has resulted in hardships and mental stress due to the pandemic. To cater to that, coordinate with your closest colleagues or friends from work and have small chats with them during breaks, share your daily routine and some non-work-related things to feel better. Just make sure that their work doesn’t get disturbed.
7) Make A Habit of Documenting Things
When a Java developer works from home, the lack of access to information can become one of the most frustrating factors. It disrupts the workflow as you cannot consult your fellow developers or your team lead right away like you would do at the office. Although all requirements are usually well documented on Jira or any other tracking tools, there are always certain things that are required to be cleared out with a proper discussion. Discuss all small to big queries you have with your teammates and note them down prior to working on a module.
8) Set Up A Designated Workspace
Whenever the topic of workspace setup comes up, having a completely separate room equipped with huge, crisp 4K monitors, mechanical keyboards, sturdy mouse, polished wooden desk, leather chair and great ambiance are some of the things that pop up in our minds. But this is not what setting up your workspace means. A dedicated workspace only means having a separate space where you can work, just like how you used to do at the office.
For a reality check, it is evident that spending this much on your work-from-home setup makes no sense. You need to make things easy for you, not expensive! Although you might need to make some changes to your workspace at home as you have been spending a lot of time there now. We will cover that later, but first, a designated place is required to do all your work from there.
If you have a study room at your home or a library, you are good to go. But if you do not have a separate space to work for 8 to 10 hours, try to find a suitable corner in your house. It could be in your living room, your lounge or maybe in your bedroom. The only thing to consider is that there should be the least number of distractions in that area, and you should also not be invading someone else’s space.
8a) Setting Up Your Workspace:
After finalizing a dedicated area or space for working from home, you might wonder why do I need to have a setup, “I have been already working at home and never felt the need for a setup; why now?” Well, first of all, you would have probably never worked for an extended period, like up to 6 to 8 hours from home, unless you are a freelancer.
Another thing to consider is that the main reason for working from home before was either you would have a deadline to meet or a task pending that you want to complete on time. That was more than enough to motivate you to work but now things are different. You probably won’t have a deadline on your head all the time but you still have to get your work done to avoid piling it up for the end. To avoid feeling at home and getting too comfortable, you need to have a setup to keep you focused and motivated. It is recommended to give yourself an office-like feel. To do that, you can get a desk setup instead of working while lounging on a couch or while lying on your bed.
8b) Add-On Devices for Your Setup:
Being a work-from-home Java developer, you would be coding most of your time. If you are working on a laptop, squinting on a small screen to read your code would not be a good idea. Get an external monitor, so you have a bigger screen to read your code easily. While doing that, you can use your laptop display for other purposes like testing the applications you are working on or for seeing the code execution. You can also dedicate this screen to monitoring your work progress by listing all the tasks, allowing you to focus on getting your work done quickly.
A good sturdy mouse is optional, but it could make things way easier. All these add-on devices will eliminate the option of portability but sticking to one place while working can significantly increase your productivity and keep you focused.
8c) Ergonomics and Lighting
As you will be working in your workspace for long hours, make it comfortable and ergonomic. Level your desk at the correct height, set your screen at the right angle, and invest in a good-quality chair. Believe it or not, in most cases, an uncomfortable chair is what causes the majority of the problems. It is really difficult to stay focused and be a productive Java developer when you are continuously rubbing your aching back and neck. You may also want to consider using lumbar support with your chair.
Offices are usually spacious with having a lot of natural light. It is because lighting not only helps us in seeing things, but it also has a psychological effect on our bodies. A well-lit environment keeps us active and productive. Being a work-from-home Java developer, you would never want to feel sluggish after just a few hours in a day. To avoid that, keep your curtains open and keep your workspace lit. If you do not have any access to natural light, you can also go with artificial lights.
The remote work or work-from-home model has been around for the last few years, but it has gotten a lot of traction in 2020 due to the pandemic. Other types of jobs might be easier to do from home but working from home for a Java developer is not as convenient as it may seem. While this change has brought many new challenges for Java developers, with careful considerations and following all the practices mentioned above, working from home can get vastly easy and help you become a brilliant work-from-home Java developer.