Working remotely

Reflecting on remote work, the good and the bad things

October 10th 20213 minutes read

This post was originally written in 2018 when I landed my first remote job. I decided to rewrite most of it, with the covid19 situation in mind.

Working remotely is a whole different world.

For some people cutting out the social interactions of the office, while having to work from the very same place they sleep is a nightmare. For me, it's a win-win situation. I can be seriously productive while removing all these little nuances that come with going to a dedicated office every day.

Succinctly, my reasons for deciding to go with this lifestyle were:

  • Avoiding commuting

    I wouldn't lie if this isn't the biggest factor. Getting back these ~6 hours per week of contemplating life in the subway is pretty sweet. Believe me, when there are strikes or heavy rain, my morning coffee tastes a bit better.

  • Avoiding a noisy office

    Sometimes you just want to do some work and call it a day. No water-cooler conversations, no forced banter, just some good honest work.

  • Having a healthier diet

    Being able to cook a rich breakfast and having quality snacks around are awesome perks I've come to value highly. Eating in a rush with everyone or resorting to takeaway food isn't something sustainable. Taking a break to cook mindfully really helps me get back to work refreshed.

  • Better workout routine

    Morning workouts are more chill. Knowing I just have to go back home, take a shower and start my work without rush or preparation helps me immensely. It's also a task completed before work even starts. Previously I would have to find the courage, after a tiring day, to hit the gym during peak hours.

  • Having greater flexibility

    Taking my break to go for groceries mid-day, having lunch with my SO, or being there to receive a package, are small wins that matter.

  • Working with a distributed team

    Nowadays my teammates are scattered throughout the world. If you want to build a diverse, and skilled team you have to recruit from everywhere. This makes Zoom meetings an unavoidable reality. Why go from point A to B, have a couple of calls, and return?

  • Using my own bathroom

    I don't think I have to expand on this.

Working as a remote team

I like remote work because I work asynchronously. Working from distance demands that your team transforms the way it works. Progress only happens when there is clear communication, proper documentation, and respect for other people's time.

Something not unique to remote companies. Everyone benefits from them, but it's easier to suppress when working in person. Working remotely forces your hand to tackle these inefficiencies if you want to make it.

Issues

Of course, there are issues, I'll only highlight some I've experienced.

  • Difficulties in communication

    Over-communicating isn't a bad thing. If anything it's expected and welcomed so everyone knows what's going on. I've written a piece for this called All company chat should be in public.

  • Feeling that someone hates your guts

    Unless you've come to know your fellow coworkers in person, it's hard to have a complete idea of everyone's personality. Assuming positive intent is critical. Not everyone likes to use exclamation marks and emojis but they are probably awesome to hang out in person though.

  • Loneliness

    This is a hard topic. Some of the most meaningful friendships I've made are with former coworkers. But on the flip side, some of the most transformative experiences I've had, were because I made time due to not working in the office.

Not just your home

A big misconception is that you have to work from home. For some people, that's just not possible. When the home is too much, you can always rent a co-working space for a day or two.

This is the ideal arrangement for me. I want to feel the energy of productive people, motivating me to work, without knowing me.


Remote work isn't for everyone. Unfortunately, Covid19 made this a reality for many people who don't prefer it. I feel for everyone who has to cope it this situation, and most specifically all of you who have to cope and smug pricks like me who enjoy it.

But it's ok. There are all sorts of arrangements for everyone, and the pandemic won't last forever. I'm just glad that working remotely is now mainstream, and people who were previously suffocating can finally find more options.


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