Career / Career Progression

5 Things Software Developers Need for WFH Success

WFH Setup for Software Engineer
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Published on October 20, 2022

Now more than ever, jobs afford people a chance to have the freedom of working from home. Something very important for that, however, is having a great home workspace. After all, if you are able to be productive at home, you will be in great shape. 

But if you don’t have a good workspace, you won’t be as productive, and that won’t be ideal. Let’s say you are a software engineer, what might you need to create an ideal work-from-home experience for yourself?

1. Establish Your Happy Place

This could be an actual home office or your local coffee establishment that has a good ambiance. It doesn’t matter. People who work from home might even alternate between both. Sometimes, working from home doesn’t always mean actually being home. If you can be productive while out and about, sipping on a latte? Then go for it.

Also worth pointing out, whether you want to work wherever the mood strikes or you are fully at home, make sure you have a keyboard and mouse you are happy with. It might mean spending a bit more than you want, but if you are typing every day, be happy with your tools.

2. A Test Lab

This is almost a must for just about any engineer nowadays. Whether you are working in networks or software, if you are engineering and building solutions (in this case, programs or lines of code), you need to be able to test your work.

And sometimes you don’t want to test the newly written software on your primary workstation. For that, you can have a secondary system, powerful enough to run what you need it to. It could be an older laptop, a small desktop, or even a NUC or similar device. This way, when your software crashes the system, you’ve only impacted your test environment!

3. Get a Monitor(s) that Really Works for You

This is a huge thing, for almost any job. Get the biggest monitor that you can afford and that you can fit. Both are key here. You do not need to go sell a kidney to buy that high-resolution 72-inch curved monitor. Find a really nice resolution and size based on your desk.

If you have a nice open space and you can fit that ginormous 49-inch curved super HD monitor? Well, you are lucky. Some of us have tighter spaces, so in my case, I have a smaller one. And, if cost is a concern, but you have a couple good monitors? Just make sure you can run dual monitors off of your workstation, and you can increase screen real estate just that easily.

4. Keep Notebooks on Hand

This one might seem odd, in the digital age, but hear me out. If you like to go for a walk to think about something or you are stuck on some code, you won’t always ponder it stuck to your desk. So, for those times you are walking around the house, make sure you have notepads or post-it notes or a whiteboard handy. You never know when you will get inspired.

Or, if you hate paper, find a note-taking app on your tablet or smartphone-especially the phone. I am willing to bet most of us don’t go too far, too often without our phones.

5. Have Somewhere You Can go to Recharge

This can, in a sense, go hand in hand with your happy place, if your happy place at times is your local coffee shop. Working from home full time seems glorious, and believe me, it can be great. But you need to step away from the house more often than you would think.

Sometimes, it might just need to be a 20-minute lunch walk. Or, taking a break to run errands. Whatever suits you, make sure you do it and break up your day. It could even just be a bean bag chair in a nice corner of your work area, where you sit and just relax and think, away from your screen for a bit.

Doing something to sort of distance yourself from work is important. Make sure you set boundaries, and when the time comes, you leave work behind those boundaries. Sometimes you will have to work late, or be up early and in your home office, but do not make it a daily habit.

Final Thoughts

I promise you, if you look at 10 work-from-home setups for 10 different software engineers, you will find 10 different ways to do it. You might find some similarities, but each space should be tailored around YOUR preferences and what they have space for. Only you know what those preferences are, but hopefully, the above suggestions give you some ideas and help you fine-tune your home office.


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