In mid-March 2020, Momentum Telecom transitioned employees to working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to people from across the different Momentum teams, give you a glimpse into how they set up their home offices, and learn more about their tips and best practices for working remotely.
Back when Gopi Yeleswarapu – Momentum’s senior director of software engineering and based in our Birmingham, Ala., office – joined the company in 2005, working remotely wasn’t exactly practical. “When I started, there were no messaging tools,” he shared on the Momentum blog in 2013. “[Now] with the advanced tools we have – the chats and meeting applications – it doesn’t really make a difference where we are located.”
Today, Gopi is a seasoned pro at the remote routine. He’d been working from home a few days week before Momentum temporarily transitioned employees to working remotely in March 2020. “When the day starts, I reach out to different members of my team to check on the status of projects we’re currently working on,” he explains. Most days also feature several meetings across US-based and offshore teams.
My home office.@MomentumTelecom @PolyCompany Phone@MomentumTelecom Coffee mug@surface Pro@Dell Monitor@Logitech keyboard and mouse@evodesk stand up desk. #COVID19 #WorkFromHome pic.twitter.com/k7mwcZRWl1
— Gopi Yeleswarapu (@_gopiy) March 15, 2020
Staying Connected and Present
Technology, of course, keeps all these pieces moving in sync. Even during normal working circumstances, “I love getting in touch with my team early in the day without having to wait to go to the office,” explains Gopi. “Microsoft Teams works best for group meetings with multiple chat threads and document sharing.”
Still, there have been occasional drawbacks to working exclusively from home for the time being. “I have a giant white board at work, and white-boarding ideas with a coworker is something I miss a lot,” says Gopi. “And I miss being able to get on code-reviews with my team in a conference room with a projector or taking a lunch break in the office break room and talking to coworkers.” But there have also been unexpected benefits. “I am happy to miss driving to work every day, and when I’m not on calls, I let my kids hang out with me while I work,” he says.
Striking the Right Balance
So, what makes for an ideal remote-work environment? For Gopi, a space that offers flexibility and encourages the focus necessary for deep work is essential. “Making sure you are comfortable and unrestricted to do your work is very important,” he explains. “Being disciplined and following a similar routine as if you are in the office has been very good for me.”
It’s important, though, to figure out how you work best – and that your working-from-home environment can evolve. “Everyone has something different that brings out the best in how they work, so use it your advantage,” offers Gopi.
For instance, you may find most appealing the time you’re saving from not commuting lets you start work earlier. Or video calls are now more productive because you have more control over the space in which you’re presenting. Home in on what brings out the best in your remote workday, and center your environment around it.
But no matter how you design working from home, don’t forget a sense of balance and connection. “Take breaks, and get up and walk a little,” recommends Gopi. “And make sure you regularly talk to your teammates and other coworkers to stay informed.”
Catch up with other posts in this series!