Truth about remote work

Published at 2018/10/01

Have you ever thought about switching to work remotely?
Personally, I can't imagine working differently now.

It's not for everyone

If you think that remote working will solve all your pains about workplace then I think you're wrong.

It's all about communication

You probably won't see your collegues on daily basis. Most of your communication will be text-based. You're gonna need to be proactive on your communication channels and always ask all questions necessary to not screw up and build a feature that nobody asked for.

It's all about loneliness

After some time, you're gonna probably miss some chitchats and joking around. But remember - it's about to you and your team - best way to enhance a bit of fun is to create e.g. SPAM channel - it's a great start to begin a smalltalk or exchange memes with your temmates :D

It's about self-discipline

If you dream about nomad's life, where you code from your favorite cafeteria or sunny beach then I need to tell you that probably you won't work like this. Or at least not really that often how you imagine. You're gonna probably need to work something around 8 hours - in best case you won't have to overlap your working hours with different timezone / work whenever you want (or at least be available during daily standup or something).

When everything goes smooth with your tasks, then you feel totally alright. Worse if you stuck with some really hard task and for couple days you won't release anything production-ready. Personally, it was really hard for me to not stretch my workday to 10+/12+ hours only because I felt guilty about having hard times on solving some difficult issue.

My favorite solution for dealing with such problems is to commit code at the end of the day no matter if I achieved something or not - thanks to this approach my client / employer can see what I was working on recently.
Also, inform proper people (CTO / Scrum Master / Chief) about your problems as soon as possible - very often they may be able to help you way more than you can imagine.

It's all about trust

If you tell that issue X will be finished at Y - then do everything to make it happen. You're gonna probably very often underestimate your tasks, but at least try to not pretend thay you can deliver faster than you're able to (that was my biggest flaw when I was starting to work remotely - and then I had to break couple nights to keep the given word).

And when you need to leave during the day to run some errands - inform proper people (or your whole team - just in case) in advance if it's possible - but then don't forget to catchup - during the weekend or split it into couple evenings.

Remember: it's up to you if you're gonna be honest with your clients / employers - just don't be a complete douchebag that uses misinformation / lack of control - everything is gonna come out sooner or later.

It's awesome

I can't imagine working differently. In my opinion, flexibility is the most awesome thing about remote work. I can get all my family stuff done during the day (and then catch up when they're sleeping). Also, I'm not a huge fan of driving in morning's / afternoon's traffic jams (comparing to my previous onsite workplaces I save 2+ hours each day thanks to lack of commuting (and whole lots of cash spent on fuel!))

What to avoid while #remotework?

If you're working remotely right now and it suits you, then think twice when you're gonna start thinking about switching workplaces - it's hard to get into new (especially remote) team, and even more if you're the only new member out there, so the rest of the team knows each other already.

Basing on personal experience, I would also suggest to avoid joining teams where you're gonna be the only one that works remotely. Believe me: no matter how hard you're gonna try YOU WILL miss some information (at some point) that will be shared onsite between your teammates verbally. It's way harder to work this way since rest of the team will (surely) not be so strict about sharing information in text form.

Summing up

I hope this article has put some light for you about remote work and what it means to work in such environment. More and more employers are enabling working (fully or partly) remotely and it's an awesome sign of our times - times where people can work freely how they want, where and when they want.

It's just about getting things done - and that's what it should be important at work, right?

-- ł.

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