Original post written here -> https://easyontheweb.com/working-remotely-as-a-software-engineer/
So, I just completed my first month working remotely as a software engineer and there are a lot of things that I learned from the experience that I think could help you if and when you decide to go remote and work remotely.
If you’re visiting my website for the first time and want to know what job do I do then recommend you to visit my about page here -> https://easyontheweb.com/about-sahil-thakur/ to get an idea of what do I do and in which field of software development do I work in.
Working remotely has increased manyfold in the past couple of years and the software industry has been one of the earliest adopters of remote work. This has been a boon to many people including me now when I had some family problem that needed me to stay in my hometown. You may have various situations that might require you to stay at home or maybe you just don’t want to leave your home for a job – remote working is here.
Who is working remotely ?
At the time of writing this article, the answer is PROBABLY EVERYONE because of the coronavirus issue that the world is going through. But, I was one of the few guys who went remote before the virus forced us all to due to some family issues.
Personal matters aside I’ve seen a sudden spurt in the number of software engineers working remotely in the past couple of years. There are dedicated sites and applications just for people to work remotely. There was a time in the past when only freelancers could work remotely, then it shifted to small startups who hired remotely and now it has shifted to such an extent that companies like Gitlab are totally remote.
How did this change come about? Well, if you ask me it was always bound to happen in the software industry. Why would you want people to work in offices, spend time commuting (a lot of time commuting in certain places) and be away from their homes when we do have the technologies to facilitate teams to work perfectly fine remotely as well.
As larger cities are getting more populated, they are becoming less desirable as well. Situation in my country (India) is such that software hubs like Bangalore and Chennai have suddenly become so populated that they are not able to cope up with the water supply and at the end of the day software engineers are humans too, they need water as well.
To overcome this issue, people tend to live in their own hometowns and work remotely for companies in large cities, Another thing as I mentioned in my own case might be some family or personal issue that restricts you from leaving your home. We are super lucky to be part of an industry that easily accommodates people like me because we can work from home.
There are various reasons why people would work from home actually, now that thanks to technology world is a much smaller place people can work for companies in different countries at the comfort of their couch. I even know a couple of software engineers who travel from place to place working remotely and live their passion of travelling as well.
Does working remotely affect work?
There is a one word answer to this when it comes to the software industry and that is a resounding NO. I’ve worked remotely as an intern twice, am currently working remotely as well and know more than a dozen developers who work remotely and all of the experiences gives just one answer which is NO.
Sure, maybe for a week or so you might feel a bit out of place but that is not the issue with working remotely, that is that something you would feel in a new office as well. My first two internships were remote and it did feel a bit awkward then but when I shifted to remote working this time, it was all the same to me.
I’ll dive into what things you should do and what not to to keep yourself motivated and eager to work remotely but I don’t think that your performance or contribution goes down in any way when you work remotely, in fact quite the opposite.
Do’s and don’ts as a remote software engineer
In my experience and after talking to remote developers way more experienced than me, two major things always come up – communication and self-care.
As they say in a lot of places, “Communication is key”. There is no such thing as over-communication when it comes to working remotely whether you alone are working remotely or the entire team is working remotely.
The more you talk with your team, the clearer your mind gets about the issues that you might be having or you might help out a teammate and feel good about yourself being able to help someone out. Communication is absolutely vital in remote work.
You need to ask the smallest of requirements and clear out the smallest of doubts in order to perform at the optimum level. Trust me, no one will feel a burden if you communicate with them, in fact they’ll feel important and happy.
Keep the communication lines always open between yourself and the client or your team or whoever you are in contact with. You can use platforms like Hangouts, slack , zoom or any other that you wish to. Technology is no longer a limitation when it comes to connecting with your teammates. But remember to be respectful of other people’s time as well and always ask for a call or meeting beforehand.
If you keep the communication part right, your job is more or less done. All the other things are the same between working in an office and working remotely, aren’t they?
Now this is something I just cannot stress enough. Taking care of yourself is absolutely vital when it comes to your own happiness and in turn this does affect your performance perhaps more than any other thing.
Staying close to your family and home can often mean you getting into personal conflicts a lot more than you may when you are away at office, this might also mean that you do not give any time to your family at all thinking you’re already home. One of the most important things for a software engineer and especially someone working remotely is to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Trust me, you can get in real trouble if you don’t.
Another important thing in self-care is to keep yourself motivated and hungry. When you’re at home it might be easy to just complete your day’s work and then slack off and do nothing to improve your skills. That is certainly not what you would want. In our industry, if you do not improve with time, you’re ancient history. So, keep yourself motivated and keep improving.
Some things that I found really helpful for my own self would be :-
Taking morning walks – Taking walks would surely refresh your mind and body early morning and make you ready for a day you’ll spend mostly indoors.
Take short breaks – Unlike the office where you have your colleagues to talk to and get your mind fresh with, working remotely could turn out to be a lonely lonely place for you. Take short breaks and get involved with the external world as well.
Follow a proper schedule – This is one of the most important tips I can give you. Follow a strict schedule when no one else should disturb you and you can focus on your work.
Some Final Words..
As the years go by I expect the number of remote software engineers to just go up and even though it might seem like a challenge at first, it is no different than working in an office if you are disciplined and motivated.
Enjoy your work and coding no matter where you work and whom you work for, that is the only way forward.
All coders welcome
Level up every day