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Discussion on: Going Remote: My 5 Expectations

jmervine profile image
Joshua Mervine • Edited

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

alexkindle profile image
Alex Author

These are great suggestions, thank you!