Seven tips how to make home office more effective


For the next few weeks we still will be forced to work remotely. Not all industries have such an opportunity, so now we particularly appreciate such an option which has been used in Netizens for several years. The employees have been using it willingly so far, and this makes us – as far as possible – prepared for this situation. Of course, it can be difficult for many of us, as well as for the project teams when it comes to communication and technical problems. Therefore, we have prepared a manual for employees on how to work from home, and we will also tell them what tools we use to make this mode of work as efficient as possible.

Keep everything under control

The foundation is good work organization. Every employee must know well what to do and in what time frame, and someone has to control it all. In Netizens we have a proprietary tool for managing developers’ work and extensive reporting. Project Thunder gives an opportunity to add each project implemented in the company and its individual stages, as well as initial costs, both external and internal. At this stage we also immediately supplement basic information about the client, account executive and project manager.

The most important functionality – which works in remote mode – is supervision of works in the form of issuing and controlling orders. We fill in (mainly PM, ACC) the form details of the order, its contractor, start and end date of work, as well as the expected time. The priority of the order should also be determined on a scale from 1 to 5. Both the ordering party and the contractor can follow the course of the order and comment on it. Thanks to the control of execution time and clear priority, all orders are properly planned, usually one week in advance.

This is how we issue orders for the developer.

Project Thunder allows you to control the performance of your employees as well as to track project profitability. Data in this area is stored in the system and generated in the form of a report, which is created on the basis of an advanced filtering mechanism. We can, for example, check the developer’s working time according to the orders executed, specific days, projects or the efficiency itself. There is also a possibility to quickly verify, among others, which project groups a given employee belongs to, whether he is currently on vacation, when he works or if he is available on-line. You can also send him an e-mail or check his phone number.

To sum up, PT means greater control over projects, better work organization and communication in the company and a convenient way of gathering information about projects.

Complete your tools online

The decision to switch to remote working mode was made overnight, so it was important for employees to have immediate access to all working tools. A consistent working environment makes life in the company easier and more efficient every day, and with the current situation you can appreciate it twice as much. G Suite, a package that includes Gmail, Google disk, calendar, chat, documents, worksheets and presentations, has long been a good friend for us. This ensures easy management and sharing of content, data storage in the cloud environment and efficient information exchange. Additionally, Google documents are integrated with Project Thunder, which definitely improves project management.

When it comes to cooperation with a client in the project field, we can recommend Redmine, which is very popular in the IT industry. In a nutshell – the tool allows the client to set up particular threads concerning the project, indicate things to improve and assign them to us. When errors are checked and fixed, the thread returns to the client for reverification. We also use this solution internally, where the Quality Assurance department tests and sets up problem threads, which it immediately assigns to specific programmers.

Camera, action!

I guess you don’t have to convince anyone that contact with people has a good influence on their mood. In the current situation it is very difficult, so if you don’t have such an opportunity or you have already discussed all possible topics with your household members, talk to someone from time to time using video. In Netizens we use Hangouts Meet, which is ideal for a few or more people. But if you haven’t managed to get your hairstyle or make up, you can just turn off your camera, still hearing and watching the others. This tool is now also used during the Daily Scrum, as it allows for daily meetings of the project team. Each team member then answers three questions: what did you do yesterday, what will you do today and did you encounter any problem while working?

Take care of the morning ritual

Now we’re going into strictly organizational matters. When you work in the office, it is simple and usually looks like this: you get up, wash yourself, prepare breakfast, get in the car, enter the company, turn on the computer, go for coffee and you are ready to work. When you’re at home it’s harder to switch to work mode, so it’s important to use your morning rituals to help you draw the line and get yourself going. Take a shower, eat breakfast, work out, go out with your dog, change your clothes, and if you have to – do a goddamn thing to show up on camera from time to time.


Create an office

It is extremely tempting to work in bed or on a couch with a laptop on your lap. However, it does not encourage productivity. The workplace does not have to be a separate room with a desk and an ergonomic armchair. Just a dining room and a table. However, it is important that it is a dedicated place. If you still have to stay at your computer after work (to do private things or just watch a movie), do it in a different place. Then the sofa or bed seems to be perfect.

Set clear rules with your household members

Unfortunately, some may think that working from home allows you to take on a number of other duties such as housework. Therefore, it is worth setting clear rules and asking that during working hours you are kept calm and that you are only disturbed by important and urgent matters. Of course, the biggest challenge here is for people with small children and, as you can see, with four-legged children 🙂


It is difficult to find a Polish equivalent to this term, but it hits the spotlight. In the office we communicate most often verbally. Often instead of writing, you approach someone personally. We also work in larger rooms or in the open space, where the conversation is a daily routine. When you work remotely, due to a lack of such communication, you may have the impression that something is missing or misunderstood. That’s why in the current situation, use your company’s instant messengers (Google Chat and some Slack projects are particularly good for us) more often than usual. Better to write too much than too little. Also be responsive, answer the other person quickly and efficiently. Write something funny sometimes, throw in a meme or a gif.



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