10 years of remote working. This is what I have learned so far.

Martín Pérez on March 01, 2019

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I did 3 years as a "satellite worker" and I can attest that it is very difficult. For those who have worked in an office, have you ever noticed this situation? You have a meeting to make a decision; after the meeting ends you start talking with some of your coworkers and before you know it you're drawing on a whiteboard and getting some great detail about this topic. Anyone remote is going to completely miss out on this conversation unless someone decides to get them on a video call. And as a remote, even if you know it's happening, if no one is watching the chat you won't be able to get anyone's attention anyway as that's your primary means of communication.

If the team follows some norms, being a satellite worker can work, but I agree with this post that it's VERY difficult. I'm currently trying to find work on a fully distributed team, hopefully that will be better.

 

I turned this article into audio using Blogcast!

If you want, you can add this👆 player to your article by adding the following code to the top:

{% blogcast 327 %}
 

Pretty cool Miguel! I just added it. Thanks.

 

I started my career as a remote contractor. Not by choice, but I had the opportunity, needed the job, so I took it.

I wonder if I would have become a better developer faster if I started in an office.

I'm still remote, because I really enjoy the freedom it gives me to run different aspects of my life. But like you said, I probably wouldn't recommend it if you are starting out.

 

Becoming a better developer depends on the environment. A remote environment with great practices will always be better than a local environment with terrible engineering practices. The local office will only help you to get stronger local ties which might be relevant in the future, or not, depending on your plans. All I can recommend is to keep yourself busy, keep learning and overall have fun and enjoy life.

 

I agree with this!

I just barely entered the world of programming and I did remote work in my second year of the two years I worked at my first part time job. While the flexibility was awesome, I basically had to make sure I did my best to show my results and earn the trust exactly like how Martín described. It was harder to build up relationship with your coworkers and help each other.

If you're new to the field, I'd definitely suggest working in person as well!

 
 

Very interesting. I worked self employed for 3 years and it could be very lonely. I looked forward to getting out meeting clients and drumming up business through some presentations.

One of the things I struggled with was trying to find the right balance between work and simple chores!

Now I'm back working in an office and take one day at home a week. This has worked so far, and I'd be interested to take it up to 2. I do like remote working.

 

Totally agree with you Martin specially in the part of starting a career. When you start a career, you have 0 experience, thus, you need someone to explain things. Explaining it through video calls costs lots of time, therefore money. However, I am with remote job for experienced ones, for easier work-life balance and higher salaries.

 

Excellent article, I agree with many things here. Especially this one: "flexible working must not mean work at any time". For me, remote work means "work outside office", but not "work from other side of the Earth". For example, I like to work during summer months on open air (due to very hot weather in summer, stay in city is impossible), so I work remotely, but I still stay in the same city/county ("r" is not missed). And I can come to office if needed. I don't believe that company can blindly hire someone from far location and everything would be ok.

Timezones are nightmare, and even if you are a remote worker, it is better to stick with your timezone +/- 1 hour. Because even -3 hours difference can totally ruin all your schedule.

 

Thanks for posting Martin. Im about to start my journey with a remote position. Im happy to read something "non-sponsored".

 
 

Great points! I ended up not pursuing an awesome opportunity with a startup because of this point👇

Being the only remote person is difficult

Their team was 100% onsite and their team culture and office space was amazing. Super collaborative layout, glass whiteboard walls, a fridge with all you can drink bubbly waters 😎

Translating that into remote would've stacked more difficulties and odds against me.

 

Small poll, Do you do frontend backend or fullstack? I have the tendency to think that it's much harder to do remote if you are only a backend engineer..

 

I'm paid for backend. You probably can write a post for the poll to get to a broader audience.

 

Thank you for your eye-opening and helpful article, Martin Perez. It made me think more than once about the issue.

 
 
 

I was expecting you make some comments about remote working as a freelancer. For example, as a remote worker for UpWork which I find somehow difficult.

 

That would deserve really a totally separate topic. My contracts have always been long and would probably differ from the usual contracting gigs. For example, the last time I contracted I did spend 5 years! Overall, I have never tried UpWork shops but it does not seem to differ from how any other offline traditional contracting agency works. Personally, I have always contracted direct to the client and it has worked very well for me. I never had any issues.

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