Working remotely

Reflecting on remote work, the good and the bad things

May 26th 20183 minutes read

Working remotely is a whole different world.

Transitioning from the traditional office-space environment can be really challenging. If you want to be productive, you have to seriously commit.

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

  • Avoiding commuting

    Getting back these ~10 hours per week of contemplating life in the subway is pretty sweet. Believe me, when there are strikes or heavy rain my morning tea tastes a bit better.

  • 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 or resorting to takeaway food isn't something sustainable. Taking a break to cook mindfully really helps me get back to work refreshed.

  • Improving bad posture habits

    Sitting down for long periods and reaching for the screen can cause some serious long-term issues:

    • Anterior pelvic tilt
    • Rounded shoulders
    • The infamous "nerd neck"

    Being able to take a moment off to stretch, or even better to set up a dedicated standing-desk can do wonders.

  • Avoiding a noisy office

    Sometimes you just want to do some work and call it a day. No watercooler conversations, no mandatory fun, just some honest work.

Surviving

Initially, everything is amazing. Then you realize that your little day interactions are gone. Being a hermit in your house is extremely dangerous, and this is the biggest caveat of remote working.

So what do you do?

  • Work from different places

    The simplest solution is to rent a co-working space for a day or two. Commute, walk up and down the streets and find a nice spot surrounded by people. The change of scenery can give really give a boost to your productivity. It's all about perspective. You're not instructed to come to the office every day, but you do it if you feel like it.

  • Be a digital nomad

    If you're working remotely, why work from a co-working space downtown instead of out of your Airbnb apartment in, say, Lisbon? Of course, this isn't sustainable in the long run, but a unique opportunity for those who can justify this lifestyle every three or four months.

  • Do more activities

    • Sign up for BJJ
    • Be more serious about your gym workout
    • Pick up another language
    • Use your bike more

In the end, limiting yourself to working from home can open a whole world of possibilities. Staying home afterward can be really difficult, so trying things out of your comfort zone will enrich you as a person.

Other problems include:

  • Difficulties in communications

    Over-communicating isn't a bad thing. If anything it's expected and welcome so everyone knows what's going on.

  • 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 anyone's personality. Assuming positive intent is critical. Not everyone likes to use exclamation marks and emojis. They are probably awesome to hang out in person though.

Fin

Working alone can be daunting at first, but eventually, you get some peace of mind that it's all worth it.

It's pretty nice to really get a feel for your house. Working surrounded by your art, furniture and colors might seem like something minor, but personally, it helps me be relaxed and concentrated.