Linus Torvalds’ Advice on Working From Home during Coronavirus Lockdown

While many of us are self-isolating indoors amidst the coronavirus outbreak. ZDNet had a special feature discussion with Linus Torvalds on his opinions or thoughts on working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown.

If you didn’t know already (how could you not?), Linus Torvalds is the creator of Linux and Git as well. And, he did all that while working from home. Here’s a video from 2016 where Torvalds shows his home office:

So, in this article, I’m going to share some of my key takeaways along with his responses from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols‘ interaction with Linus Torvalds for ZDNet.

Discard the fear of missing human interaction

Torvalds mentioned that when he first started working from home years ago, he was worried about missing human interaction that included going to the office, interacting with people, or simply going out for lunch.

Interestingly, he did not seem to miss any of that anymore- he preferred his time at home without human interaction.

Of course, isolating yourself from human interacting isn’t the best thing – but it looks like that is a good thing for now.

Take advantage of working from home

Work From Home Torvalds

Just like we at It’s FOSS operate completely remote, you can do a lot of stuff without actually being at an office.

Not to forget – you can pet your cat as much as you want and I have 6 of them, I know it’s difficult (*giggles*).

And, as Linus Torvalds mentioned, the real advantage of remote work is “flexibility”. You do not necessarily need to sit in front of your desk working from 9-5 or more. Technically, you are free to take breaks in between and do whatever you wish at home.

In other words, Linus suggests avoiding re-creating an office at your home – which is worse than going to an office.

Efficient communication is the key

Torvalds Home Office

You can choose to have several meetings (video conferences or audio calls) in a day – but is it really necessary?

For some, it might be a big deal – but you should try to minimize the time spent on a meeting by clearing things up in brief.

Or, as Linus recommends, it’s best to have email lists to keep things on point and that’s how Linux kernel runs.

James Bottomley, Distinguished Engineer at IBM Research, and a senior Linux kernel developer, also adds a suggestion that you should re-read your text to make sure that you’re sending precise information that no one will potentially skim through.

Personally, I prefer texts over voice for the very same reason. It saves you time, fact.

But, keep in mind, that you need to convey only the necessary information in a proper manner without overloading the information that you send via texts/email.

Track your time

Flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean that you can work less and lurk on social media platforms, unless that’s your job.

So, you need to make sure that you are making the most out of your time. To do that, you can use several tools to track your time on what you use and the duration of it on your computer.

You can even write it down on a sticky note to make sure you reach your goal of spending the allocated time for work efficiently. You can opt to utilize RescueTime or ActivityWatch to track the time you spend on your computer or smartphone.

Play with your cat (pets)

Torvalds Penguins

Not to discriminate against other pets, but that’s what Linus Torvalds mentioned.

Just because you are at your home – you have a lot to do while you schedule your work or try to efficiently utilize the time.

Linus insists that whenever you’re bored, you can head out to get essentials if necessary or simply play with the cat (or your pet).

Wrapping Up

While Linus Torvalds also mentioned that no one will be judging you when you’re at home, his suggestions seem to be on point and could be very useful for people who struggle with working from home.

Not just for the coronavirus outbreak – but if you are planning to work from home permanently, you should keep these things in mind.

What do you think about Linus Torvalds thoughts here? Do you agree with him?



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