Going Remote: My 5 Expectations

Alex on April 19, 2019

On Monday, I will start a new job as a remote software engineer at Articulate. My only remote working experience to date was in grad school, wher... [Read Full]
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It fully depends on your personality.

You'll be fine, but remember to not hold yourself too strongly to expectations. Set goals. Observe progress. Adjust goals when they don't seem achievable, logical, or pertinent any more.

My non-remote jobs all provided food for me...now that I'm at home, I find myself eating less food, but eating healthy when I do.

Focus is scattered. I'm not 100% in my flow all day, but I never was at an office either. I need space to think, small projects to coast through while larger, more complicated tasks process in the background.

So...less limits/boundaries and more mindset: if I find myself being unproductive, I simple reroute my efforts to getting the next task done. If I'm unmotivated to start one..I find another and hotbox all day. Suddenly it's end of day (a time I set for myself).

The biggest struggle I've found is stepping away from work, really. To just stop at a certain time is difficult...some days i look up and its hours past my "closing time".

Everything else is great. No office politics. No superfluous meetings. Schedule your own hours. Wear comfy clothes. Go to a cafe. No commuting. NO COMMUTING. sigh, it's so good.

Wishing you the best! Enjoy the freedom & welcome to riding remote😎

 

Having worked remotely now for four years, first as an engineer and now as a manager, I’ve found all of these to be true. Like anything, though, there’s give and take.

“living a healthier life”

As a home-body by nature, this takes work for me. I eat better and sleep more, however it takes conscious effort to get up and out of the house and get moving. I track my steps and have a standing desk to help with this.

“more productive work time”

This is very true, especially as an individual contributor. One adjustment I had to make was ensuring I had multiple projects or work streams. Given that my entire team is remote, dependencies and blockers requiring collaboration aren’t always immediately resolved — you can’t just walk to someone’s desk. As such, context switching when stuck is important.

“working from places other than home”

This is really awesome and I do it frequently. I have found that picking the time and place are important, and sometimes tricky. Coffee shops are great, but have “rush hours” and can get very noisy. I have (too many) meetings throughout the day and this can make video calls difficult at times. While traveling can also be tricky — know the internet situation ahead of time and if staying with family, find a coffee shop or co-working space nearby. (Trust me on this.)

“an office that suits me”

Again, very true. If you have others living with you (for me, it’s my wife and three kids), make sure to set firm interruption boundaries. For me it’s if my door is closed, it needs to be an emergency.

“setting boundaries”

This is the hardest one for me. With three kids, I set firm “before 8am” and from “5pm to 9pm” boundaries. However, I tend to be an “always on” kind of person and it creeps in to my evenings, after the kids are in bed, far too often. Fortunately, I love what I do, so 🤷🏻‍♂️.

Some other suggestions

  1. Meetups are a great way to meet folks in your area with similar interests and get some socializing in, where work related topics are king if you so choose. This is help for keeping fresh. Sometimes there’s no substitute for a healthy face to face debate.
  2. Request semi-regular opportunities to get the team together face to face. Ideally focused on team build, face to face paring, etc. avoid walls of meetings. This is your immersive “water cooler” time.
  3. Try to spend a few minutes each day with “small talk”. It sounds silly, but building a team is about more than just the work.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your new journey.

edit: small typos

 

These are great suggestions, thank you!

 

I love it, and have no desire to go back although I do miss aspects of an office from time to time.

I definitely recommend d having a separate office space for sanity, but it sounds like you've got that covered already...its very, very easy to live at work rather than work at home.

 

I think the type of work you do has a lot to do with how productive working remotely can be. For a job like programming, I feel like less human distraction and general office noise is conducive to getting more focused work completed but for jobs like sales or fundraising over the phone, I think an open office design that creates a competitive environment is almost a requirement.

I'm probably just old school but even the clothes I wear affects my work mindset. Working in shorts and a tshirt just doesn't get me in the same type of zone. If working from home I think it's important to work in a completely different room than where you sleep and knock boots. It helps to separate your personal and business time....plus you don't have to worry about your dirty socks in the background during skype calls.

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