“People already work remote, they just don’t realize it. Those who work on the first floor, almost never talk face to face with those who work on the second floor” – someone posted it on Linkedin, and I couldn’t agree more with that.
I have been working remotely since December 2017, and it is my first experience working from home. When the company recruiter reached out and said there is an opportunity to telecommute I was a bit skeptical about all this remote work and decided to do my own research.
First I spoke with my friend who at that time already been doing this for a few years. His take was that he enjoys working remote, but often feel disconnected from the team, since most of his colleagues worked on site. After talking to him I still was not convinced that it is something for me. In the company, I was working for they allowed us to work from home a day or two per week and I had a hard time doing it. The main problem I had is to get in the zone and start doing something, especially when there is no-one to watch you.
Even my wife told me: “I can’t see you working from home, you will get lazy and will be less productive”, thanks for the support honey 🙂 . I decided to do further research. One of my favorite podcasts is shoptalkshow by Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert and right before I got an offer, they were answering a question in regards to remote work (check this out, it starts right around 3:50). Later on, Chris even wrote an article “Why working from home is better for business“. After listening to those guys I decided to give it a try.
So I came to my boss and said about the job offer, I felt like a burnout at the company and lost interest. Don’t get me wrong all the places I worked at were hard to leave, especially the last one, where my manager was one of the best managers I ever worked with, he always was challenging me with an interesting job. He came back with a counteroffer and offering a remote job as well. Good thing I already set my mind and decided to try something new.
At my current place, most of the people work remotely. Before the first day, I got reached out over the phone by my new manager and that’s where it felt uncomfortable. English is my second language and writing, talking without eye contact was always a challenge. In the back of my mind, I always think what if they don’t understand me or I will write something wrong and I will get judged by this and not by my work. Lucky for me there are apps like Grammarly (*this is not paid to advertise) that help a lot with writing. I still get some crap from my co-workers, but I learned to ignore those things, at least I speak two languages. 🙂
Anyway, long story short working remote was not that difficult as I thought it would, we use email, zoom and slack to communicate. We have plenty of meetings where you can discuss any problem, it doesn’t feel like disconnected at all. I actually talk more to people than I used to in the office.
You would think you will lose connection on the human side and only talk about work, but that is definitely not the case in the company I work for. From time to time we have team lunches, where we all meet and talk about something not work-related. Since I’m the one who lives in Florida I get the chance to troll and complain about cold weather. We also have a tech conference once a year where a big part of our company gets together and someone who has the desire to talk, presenting at the conference. And on top of it once a year we have team onsite meeting, which usually lasts for a week (I just wish it would of be during warm weather in Chicago 🙂 )
So what about work? Some would think it is hard to focus and you will get less job done. And it was for the first month or two, my desktop not that far from the fridge and that was a challenge as well. But after a while you adjust and get in a zone quickly, everything is changing and you actually work more than in the office. At my last job, I would come to work around 9:30-10:00 AM to avoid traffic and leave the office early for the same reason (actually most of my colleagues were doing the same). But remote is a different story I usually start working at 8:00 AM while most of my teammates still in bed (there are only two of us who work on Eastern Standard Time). That allows me to get less distracted and by the time the rest of the team online I already have few things done. We have our daily standup updates, ask/answer all the questions during the day, and when I leave the “office” the rest of the team have time to themself to get their job done.
My work requires working overtime form time to time, if I work in the office that would of be really inconvenient, with the remote job it is easier since you can just turn on your computer and get the job done.
I heard some people complain that they have a hard time to stop working if they work from home, that is definitely not my case, I have no problems to log off and forget about the job till next day (unless I screwed up and the manager is not happy about that, which is almost never the case, because I’m great employee 🙂 )
Another benefit of remote work is that you can literally work from anywhere, some of my colleagues living a van or RV life, which I still can’t understand, but who am I to judge.
The big plus of remote work is if you wait for someone to come to your house, for example, an AC repair guy, you don’t have to ask a manager to work from home that day, you already are.
In conclusion, I get it working from home, not for everyone, but that is not my case, I don’t miss onsite work at all (except the chess games with my colleagues), my employer has an employee who works more than the onsite version of me and gets the job done.