How did Covid-19 impact my work as a Magento developer?

Covid-19 made us think and do certain things differently. Moreover, it forced us to give up some things and plans. No more socializing like before – at least not so much as before the pandemic. Forget about that dream vacation you were hoping for this summer. It affected almost every aspect of our lives – I was even afraid to visit my parents at some point. But, we all hope for the best and we are all waiting for this situation to end so we can get out of it stronger and smarter than we were before.

Work? Yes, it really did affect the business and people’s jobs and the way certain things work – which, as a full time Magento developer, I can confirm. However, modern technologies are pretty much immune to corona virus, and when applied in the right way, you can still get a lot out of it. It didn’t take away the Internet, our computers and phones, and because of that, we still have lots of different ways of communication which is very important.

The biggest change and challenge for developers under such circumstances is…you can guess – remote work, and everything that goes with it. One day you are in the office, minding your business, making Magento stores better and more profitable, drinking coffee with coworkers, talking…and the next day you are at home. And not only are you at home working 9 to 5, but you are under lockdown! Meaning no more any of that stuff you did yesterday. Or at least not in that way – suddenly what was normal yesterday it wasn´t today. You probably won’t be seeing that people from the office often. Maybe for months. This is when our unity as a team comes to the fore, and good communication is the key for success and productivity. Support you are getting from your team, the equipment you are getting from your employer, it is only there to make things a little easier and to help you jump-start this new process called ‘work from home’. Suddenly, it is not enough just to be ‘good at what you do’, but it also requires some other skills, such as:

  • persistence – now when there is nobody to quickly ‘jump in’ and help you resolve certain problem, you should be ready to work longer and harder to complete your job. But you should be careful with this because long sprint without short brakes can lead to burnout and frustration.
  • perseverance – you should learn to pursue your goals despite frustrations, mistakes, setbacks and other obstacles that make your work difficult in this situation.
  • discipline – it is entirely up to you to be at your work station when you need to be and start work. But also, it is important not to get carried away and constantly work overtime – that can get you very exhausted after a while and also less productive.
  • time management – it is your responsibility to keep track of time and make sure you are meeting your deadlines. It is equally important to take short brakes from time to time.
  • independence – in some cases when you work alone from home, you are on your own. That means that you will have to make certain decisions by yourself. But don’t forget about communication, you can and should ask for help when needed.
  • communication – now that you are separated from your team it is very important to stay connected. That way you will stay up-to-date with project’s status, but also it will make you feel as part of the team.
  • organization – it is good when you are able to handle multiple projects and different tasks at once. It is up to you to establish procedure that helps you tackle everyday responsibilities more efficiently.

What a list, huh? Well maybe we can sum all that under one most important skill: the ability to adapt to the situation.

Other than your skills, I soon realized that an important factor for successful remote work is healthy work environment. By that I literally mean environment – your surrounding, desk, chair…whatever makes you feel comfortable – you should get it. We are all used to large desks in the office and comfortable chairs. When this Covid-19 pandemic started, we were not all prepared for full time remote work. Not all of us had home office already set. For example, I had a small desk. It was fine, but not for a long run. It was not ment for three monitors and 8h of work, 5 days a week. Just looking at this setup with keyboard bumping into monitor stand I lost the willingness to work. Something had to be done. I quickly ordered new desk and in a few days – the problem solved and productivity increased with this simple change. After all, that’s where I spend most of the day while working from home.

It is obvious that in times when people embraces social distancing they will avoid going to physical stores and start resorting to e-commerce. That is when you, as an e-commerce specialist, should start to realize how much your work impacts certain groups of people and how important it is for them. When we speak in terms of sales, they might not be much higher in general, although some industries are seeing significant increase. But if you think of an individual who just ordered something online instead of getting out, going to store, exposing to risk of getting infected…what we do as Magento developers gain a certain dose of weight and responsibility. This mindset can provide motivation and contribute to success and productivity when working from home.

Remote work is definitely not a new thing. It is out there for quite some time. Ever since Internet made its way to our everyday lives, it also made it possible for developers and other IT experts to work from home. Covid-19 pandemic just forced even more companies to go remote without much preparation. And not only that, but it also made people find new ways to manage, communicate and deal with everyday tasks. And while some enjoy it, others not so much. It mostly depends on all that skills I mentioned before.

Our team coped very well with the transition to work from home and in a situation that is constantly changing. The people I worked with every day in office, continued to work very hard even from home, with full trust of the management, which motivated me even more. During that time, we completed several new projects and some more are on the way. Despite the whole situation, some people continued to progress and develop their skills to become even better Magento developers. The biggest challenge for our team in this crisis – remote work, has been mastered and perfected.

Now it remains for us to see how long this situation with Covid-19 will last, and to do our best to be as good as possible in what we do, and also to stay safe and take care of our health and the health of the people around us.