What is it like to work remotely?

What is is like to work remotely?

I had visions of working in the garden on sunny days, a different coffee shop every day, working late some days and finishing earlier others so I could take my daughter to the park after school. But I also had fears, fears exactly like what everyone says will happen when you remote work, like how will I make an impression, or will I be a forgotten member of staff? Will I struggle to fit in with the team? How would remote pairing work, code reviews and general collaboration?

Well the reality was everything I wanted and almost none of the negative stuff. I’d imagine its not for everyone, but I have had an amazing time! It’s such a shame that companies don’t offer remote working as an option more regularly!

I feel like my work life balance increased massively in favour of life, I was so much less stressed and I could suddenly think very clearly! I loved the company I worked for, gave it my all, and went way above and beyond because work no longer felt like work, and suddenly I was getting paid to build cool stuff and all of the politics that can happen in an office just faded away!

A few things that I think really helped was I was strict when I was to start and finish work. I made an effort to go into the office and mix with people, and made sure to spend time at the pub with other members of the team occasionally.

I feel I have definitely produced some of the most quality work I have ever done, mostly because of the lack of distractions.

I even feel like I colaborated better, meetings only happened when they really needed to, and I feel I communicated better with team members, as I spent almost all day on slack or hangouts. There were some meetings that didn’t work so well remotely, but we quickly changed it so that these kinds of meetings always happened in the office.

The most import thing I got from remote working was that I got to see more of my kids and spend time with my newest daughter for much longer after she was born, and for me, if a salary pays a bit less but offers remote working as an option, I would take it time and time again!

I am due to start my next adventure in employment next month, and it is office based, but its a different kind of challenge! And one I’m very much looking forward to starting. The market for remote work is still very flat, and I think I was really lucky to work remotely for as long as I did. If the opportunity arises in the future for a remote role, SIGN ME UP!!

I should probably talk about some of the tools we used to make remote working easier

Hangouts - we used this for everything from catchup, general calls, retros and pairing communications / screen sharing pretty much everything where we needed to collaborate

GoReflect for Retros, which is really collaborative, and you actually feel like you are all in a room together

And also I think adjusting your attitude really helps too - Make friends with the people who are also remote, you’re in the same boat, you dont need to be in an office to be mates with someone. If your work is great it will show naturally, and its easier to shine because you will eliminate all the usual office distractions.

Written on March 29, 2019.