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Working remotely is hard (moishelettvin.com)
177 points by slyall 734 days ago | hide | past | web | 158 comments | favorite



Working remotely is excellent. 1.5 hours less commuting - that's more time to get work done or go to the gym or read the news. No one can come to my desk to socialize or ask a quick question to fuck up my flow. No one requiring me to arrive at an office at an arbitrarily early time. No dress code. No ad hoc meetings in the conference room. Listening to music I like aloud. All conf calls done on speaker. I'm home to receive any deliveries. I could go on.


I'm not a fan of people interrupting either, but I've come to realize it does help the team run more efficiently. If I get 3 legitimate interruptions a day where 5 minutes of my time saves the other developer an hour, overall it means my team just accomplished 3 hours of work in 15 minutes.

Or say some error or urgent request comes up, it's been my experience at our office that the point person can look around, grab people into a quick meeting and resolve something in 10 minutes that would otherwise kick around in email for days.

It also helps on the social side to be "plugged into" the company. When you run across some weird error or feature request it's really valuable to know who you can even ask about a related part of the codebase or functionality. And you build that mental database by socializing.

Just a few of points the other way :-) I've done both remote and office work and just happen to prefer the higher bandwidth/iteration speed of in-person work.


I switched from remote back to in-person about 2 months ago, and to be honest I'd completely forgotten how much easier it is to get some things done in a co-located environment. There were a lot of great things about working from home, but getting things done at anything above a "banging out the actual code" scale was not one of them.

I wish I could take back all my prior invocations of the complaint that someone interrupting me for 15 seconds eats 15 minutes of my productivity. Not only have I come to recognize just how transparently self-centered that meme is (and I'm embarrassed that I couldn't see it before, but given all the other great things about working from home I suppose a little confirmation bias is understandable), I've also realized that there are really quite a few domains where premature optimization is the root of all evil.


When I'm onsite with my team, it's so enjoyable because we can laugh and joke and mull over problems together. It's got a real sort of in the trenches feel to it. It's hard for me to think of those distractions as negative.

I think that the interruptions thing is definitely true, but the things that interrupt us are our devices, not our people. You can tell a colleague that you've got to get more uninterrupted time, but your device continually beckons.

Another thing that interrupts me is slow system access. I'm trying to develop on a test database that's abhorrently slow. Each time I'm forced to wait, I quickly pick up my phone, or load up a Hacker News tab.


I've found, after coding+managing remotely[0], that it takes a specific set of traits to be a successful remote worker.

- strong work ethic: no one needs to tell you that it's time to start working for the day/after lunch etc.

- strong communication: not the same as being an extrovert. might even help if you are an introvert. Just comfortable with text being the dominant means of articulation.

- strong 9-5 boundaries: might not be 9-5, might not be exactly 8 hours, but they have work hours and non-work hours and adhere to them.

- not junior: I've met a few junior devs who are good remote workers, but overwhelmingly most are seasoned. Maybe it just takes time to figure out the work-life balance/discipline integral to being an effective remote worker?

- trustworthy: the kind of person you can hand off something to and know it will be done.

- not great at ping pong: maybe those relate to the strong work ethic? That is, they never took/had time for honing ping pong skills at work ? Maybe that's just me :)

I work remotely too so maybe the traits are biased towards the positive.

[0] Team lead with one on ones + reviews for ~20 people.


Great list!

I agree with all but the 9-5 premise. The thing that makes it easy for me is Git! Having all of our work stored in version control gives our team 100% accountability in a totally painless way. And if there's ever a project I'm working on outside of git, I do daily dump archives so each day is snapshotted.

No need to track hours, no need to wonder what somebody did all day. If you want to know what I did last tuesday go check my commit!

Version control = accountability and trust


The 9-5 premise is about having regular hours (whatever they are) so team members can get in touch if they need to. It's also about signaling when team members can't get in touch. Both are important since they are implicit to an office but something you need to be careful to correctly define/signal when you are working remotely.

I don't really look at commit logs because, to me, they reflect how one prefers to work, rather than how productive they are being. 2 people can easily have 2 or 20 commits for the same feature set. I'm not going to be calling one a 10x engineer based on that :)

To that end I don't believe in looking at commit log, or time tracking (!) because both can be falsified pretty easily: they are just another form of counting lines of code IMO. I prefer to look at how much customer value someone is delivering and how much other team members listen to them.


I focus on delivering recurring value so we're on the same page. I also agree that communication should have clear hours regardless of when you work, so you can be reached when others need you, and you know when you can reach them. For us it gets a little stretched out because of the time zone difference too, but most of our communication happens through the ticket system.

I'm not advocating numbers of lines of code or numbers of commits either, value is what's important, but having a daily, timestamped record of everything everybody did just takes all the question out of 'What did you do last Tuesday?', any of us could just go and check. Working with version control has been a _huge_ benefit to remote working because it provides a way that people who don't see each other can trust each other.

It also ensures that nothing of value what was ever produced by anybody (and paid for) is ever lost, even if deleted. That's just smart business!


That makes sense. I like the idea also of using it as a quick refresher to remind everyone/yourself what you were doing X days ago esp. during review time. Thanks!


Why the 9-5 boundary? Personally, I get my best work done during non-traditional hours, e.g. past midnight.


From your team's perspective:

It's so team members can get in touch if they need to. It's also about signaling when team members can't get in touch. Both are important since they are implicit to an office but something you need to be careful to correctly define/signal when you are working remotely. Note that it doesn't have to be 9-5 office time, just needs to be hours people expect to be able(and not able) to get in touch: 12-8 your local time? Go for it! Whatever works so you can maximize you and your team's work/life balance :)

From a personal sanity perspective it's as firebones says in reply.

FWIW, I -- and most engineers -- fall victim to the the personal sanity perspective rather more frequently.


I'm available to the team most of the time, even on weekends. The more junior they are, the greater the effort I make to be available to them.

But in my mind there is a difference between being available for questions/advice vs. actually working, e.g. designing a system or writing code. If someone messages me on a Saturday asking, "hey, which server do I log into to do X?" then taking the two minutes to reply means I'm available, but I don't think of it as "work".


You are being a good short-term team member, but that might not be the best for you or the team in the long-term. If you/other senior devs are getting the same random questions, maybe create a faq/run book? I've usually made it a point to say: here's the answer, now can you add it to the FAQ? That way, ideally, I never have to answer it again/that's the first place people check.


I think it is figurative 9-5 rather than literal. In other words, knowing that there are boundaries and limits between work and non-work time instead of falling victim to the temptation of working all the time when you are at home.


Working remotely is an awesome experience for me as well, but I work for myself so it might be different if you work in a regular job that lets you work from home. I have the ability to ignore customers who are being overly pushy/demanding/rude, and I can take time off whenever I like. I tend to take a lot of breaks during the day to watch TV, do exercise, etc. I'm married, so that is sufficient social interaction for me. For work communication, I find email/skype to be more efficient than being in an office and having "status" meetings every day.

However, I can see that if you work for someone else, there could be a lot of pressure if things aren't going well or if you have a demanding boss, and you might feel trapped being at home and not having anywhere else to escape to.


I jog during the time I normally would be commuting, on nice days I work with the windows open, at the office I have a certain level of anxiety - just thanks to the traffic around me. I'm with you on this, working from home is awesome. It suits my personality.


Just a thought: you might someday find a home and work orientation where you can jog to work and shower there. This arrangement is certainly possible in cities like SF. Also many offices have windows that can be opened (if I were your colleague I would definitely want the window open if it meant something to you).

(It sounds like you are happy! I just wanted to point out to you and others that these two particular perks do not necessarily require working from home)

Edit: same general idea goes for the folks down thread appreciating access to a full kitchen. In fact, if one were designing an office, would this thread not be a great place to get ideas to distinguish your new office in awesome ways?


I interviewed at Whisper when they were in a mansion in Santa Monica. It was an interesting setup that had all the amenities of home like a full kitchen, shower, pool, laundry. Those are all perks few offices have so you could differentiate your company if you had them.


Eating home cooked food fresh instead of microwaving it


And using your own private bathroom.


Forgot about that, it's wonderful to be able to use my own bathroom instead of thinking about which co-workers sat on the toilet before me or did they have a contagious disease, etc.


Access to kitchen is golden. You can steam, stir fry, use conventional oven, all great options to a healthy meal.


My house has a microwave, and I get good use of it!


I love the microwave though.


Microwaving cooks food without generating as much carcinogenic char as other methods, so it can actually be healthier.

Relatedly, freezing is the healthiest way to preserve and transport fruits and vegetables. It also allows them to be harvested when naturally ripe, rather than artificially ripened.


Alternatively, use something like https://www.pantelligent.com/ (disclosure: co-founder / engineer) so you can control cooking temperatures. This lets you get delicious browning without the non-tasty and non-healthy burnt "char" bits.

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Only comes in non-stick? That's no bueno.


Call me when a microwave can create the tasty maillard reaction that's needed for so many foods.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction


There's this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convection_microwave , but I'd rather stick to flavoring my food in some way other than generating a bunch of carcinogens like acrylamide.


Microwaving cooks food without generating as much carcinogenic char as other methods, so it can actually be healthier.

Since the microwave is often used for reheating food that was cooked with these other methods, there's often no advantage.


Sure, and it's often used to heat up things like Hot Pockets. For this reason and scary radiation, the microwave is heaped with undeserved disrepute. This is unfortunate for another big reason: it's one of the most convenient ways for a single person to cook a small amount of healthy food. Many people are under the impression that healthy cooking requires warming up the stove/oven and dirtying pans, so they give up and eat processed food.

There ought to be more awareness of recipes for the microwave. Many restaurants are using them to good effect.


My point was that if I fry or BBQ something and then later reheat it in the microwave, the damage was already done, so the fact that the microwave is safe does me no good. I agree that the microwave is a cleaner way to cook vegetables, for example.


> No one can come to my desk to socialize

Yeah who would want that? I've done both and both have their pros and cons, socializing is definitely a perk and introvert or extrovert should not be underestimated in keeping you healthy and happy and a skilled professional.


If you get your work done more efficiently, you actually have more time to socialize, with the people of your choosing.

Also, socializing in the workplace tends to be very superficial, because you're extremely limited in the range of topics you can discuss. God forbid that you say something unprofessional.


Weird places you worked in. Where I worked I could talk about anything I wanted and that's normal for every other office.


Actually that isn't normal at all. Have you worked in any companies larger than 10 people? There are legal liabilities employers have to (or are supposed to) uphold and more so for public companies. Starting with this: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html


Helps to be in a third world country. Sometimes I realize we have so much more freedom.

And yes, doesn't matter the company size. Ofc there are different situations but I always feel like people have a too broad definition of harassment.

Going a bit off topic, I know that's not the popular view in the western world, but I think you should fend for yourself in society and we are over reliant on rules and regulations, and then people complain about lacking freedom.


Dirty jokes are off limits if you want to avoid sexual harassment complaints.


If you don't have any choice in the people you work with and you can't find topics to discuss due to the strictness of conversational rules at your job, the problems at your workplace run far deeper than can be solved by going remote.


You answered your own question. An introvert would not want that. You can force your standards of what makes someone a "happy and skilled professional" on them if you like, but that's not always a case grounded in reality.


As an introvert, I like a little bit of socialization throughout my day. Too much is certainly draining, but if I worked from home I would become a hermit and have an unhealthy amount of socialization.


Exactly. I feel like as an introvert it's more important to be in an environment where you regularly meet people since you won't do it intentionally. Socializing skills are important for the vast majority of people, the only exceptions being celebrities like Linus who have lots of people seeking them out.


I am an introvert and occasionally miss the forced socialization of working in an office. After long periods of working from home, I'm usually ready for some office work.


I personally miss some human interaction after long periods of time at home, but not office interaction. It works for me to break up my schedule to socialize with my wife, friends and family to properly quell those feelings.


I work in a creative field (commercial post-production) so those social interactions at work often influence the work we do individually. It often starts with asking for a critique on what someone is working on or help solving a problem that rolls into a social conversation or vice-versa ("since you're here, take a look at this").

Bouncing ideas off co-workers is what I miss most about working in an office.


I enjoy socializing, but I do not enjoy socializing when I'm trying to work.


> socializing is definitely a perk

No, it's not. It is a hindrance to the reason you are there, which is to get a job done.

I do not wish to socialize at work, I do not wish to work when I socialize.


You're wrong to say this, but not because your opinion isn't valid. Many jobs get done much faster and better through the process of professional socialization. If you'd be working alone anyway, then you're likely right, but most jobs aren't completely isolated and having an actual team to be a part of is 100% beneficial.

I started my career working in an office, then spent about 10 years working from home, and am now in an office again. The flexibility of telecommuting is a benefit that can't be overstated, but I personally find that being in an office I solve problems faster and enjoy my working hours more, as a result of the people around me.


I don't know. I'm an introvert but having nice people to socialize and make friends with is one of the key parts of being happy at my job. And if I'm happy I'm more productive.


I've telecommuted for a company two time zones away for over six years and have only visited the company's offices twice in that time for less than four days total.

Not being interrupted and everybody defaulting to using e-mail for communications has to be the best benefit of it besides not having to commute.


Same here. I often work to loud music. Loud like a pair of old JBLs at 50W per channel. I usually work in a bathrobe or sweats. And I abhor meetings, unless I'm billing at a decent rate.

Also, I totally don't get the complaints about loneliness and isolation. I have the company of family and friends. And I distinguish firmly among clients, coworkers and friends.


How long do you do it? I think it's different in your first year and your tenth.


You only explain the benefits from the workers point of view. What about the customer? Why should someone opt to buy work from remote employees instead of having them on-site?


And you lose all social interactions. I enjoy people stopping by my desk and having random chat with them.


While you're in the middle of diagnosing an important issue in production? While you're working out a tricky graph algorithm?

Having some social interaction is nice. The problem is that there are too many people who'll stop by and initiate social interaction while you're in the middle of something more important. What's worse, in an open plan office like mine, your flow isn't just disrupted by people stopping by at your desk. Your flow is interrupted by people stopping by at any of your neighbors desks. God forbid you sit next to a PM who has foot traffic coming and going at all hours of the workday.

For me the best working situation would be an office (doesn't have to be big) with a door that closes. After that comes working at home. Finally, at the bottom, is working in an open plan office (which is unfortunately my current situation).


Get a big pair of comfy headphones, one that you can wear for hours, and put them on whenever you don't want to be bothered. You don't even have to listen to music, they're just there to signal that you're not to be bothered. If someone does bother you, pull one side off, say you're busy, send an email or come back after X-o'clock. Wait for an acknowledgement then pull the ear cup back and go back to work.

Only break protocol for your boss's boss, even then only accept one sentence from him, give one sentence back, and unless the office is on fire say you're deep into Y and you'll stop by later to discuss. When you do stop by, make sure to mention that interrupting you like he did is not pleasant and request he use Slack or whatever instant messager your company uses.

Your boss can just learn to use email. It may take a few discussions before he'll respect it but it'll be worth it. Send anyone who complains a link to Paul Graham's Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule.


My last 2 years as a remote worker (from east coast for a SV company) have been the most productive in terms of software output in my life. I've been able to focus on the task at hand very well, and have been given pretty free reign to work on some large projects crucial to the company's product.

The most difficult part was having to deal with a dead-weight VP of Engineering (my boss) who had no process, knowledge, who could not think on his feet in person or over the phone. I had to talk to the CEO and product management to understand the next evolution they wanted, and to actively thwart fruitless conversations and diversions from the boss. I asked for wikis, better bug-trackers, or other tools to better coordinate documentation and work. Finally, after a new CEO and after the VP Engineering was fired about four months ago, things have improved. We immediately followed through on Confluence (great wiki for organizing and documenting engineering and other efforts), JIRA (OK bug tracker), transitioned to git with Bitbucket. Communication and recording of designs, etc., has improved a lot. The new VP Engineering hired a month ago has improved things more -- he's rational, understands the technology, is good at organizing effort, and doesn't asked stoopid questions. I no longer venture into inappropriate and unprofessional phone behavior, which I resorted to many times previously out of frustration.

I regretted so many times joining the company, and knew from my initial interview discussions with the VP Engineering that I shouldn't have joined in the first place. The salary and options were too good to pass up, though, and the problem addressed was interesting enough. I also knew others in the company and thought it might be fun working there. I spent many late nights working on stuff for a boss who could not appreciate the magnitude of what was being requested and delivered.

I also spent many late nights repeatedly diagnosing scalability and performance problems that were not my own but rather in a few modules I had to invoke. Even after being presented with clear evidence in myriad in-house and customer cases this prior boss could not clearly grasp the urgency of fixing the issues. The issue was live at customer sites for over eight months before they were finally fixed.

So ...:

  - I miss SV friends after my move to the Southeast and haven't quite found "my people" here yet ... so I feel somewhat isolated

  - I work very effectively and don't take liberties with schedule, but I don't overwork either unless there's an urgent issue

  - I get to work from home or from a local coffeeshop, restaurant, or other venue -- I like this freedom

  - I get to do a lot of my daughter's events in daytime, nobody's looking over my shoulder

  - ... all these pros/cons were heavily dominated, though, by one big negative -- make sure you can get along with your boss, which wasn't my case

  - why didn't I jump ship?  it's hard to find another remote gig, and my terms were, I believe, pretty decent;  the company has a chance of doing something decent and being worth something -- largely due to product area, C-level reputation, good sales -- the product has some shortcomings that will eventually be overcome
[edit: minor changes, formatting]


I'm the CTO of 17hats. The entire engineering team works remotely. It's not as challenging as you seem to suggest. Right now is the best time ever to be remote.

Excellent tools like Slack and Speak really help comms. We pair program very often by sshing into a tmux session which makes any lag close to nil. We use Trello for sprints. And Invision for product work. It's extremely efficient.

We have our usual retrospectives and watercooler talk and it feels natural.

Every 6 months we get together for fun.

------

The advantages of being remote far outweigh the disadvantages. Rather than listing all the advantages. What are the disadvantages?

..I'm thinking.


Here are some: communication, loneliness, isolation, timezones, discipline

It's really great that working remotely (anecdotally) works well for your team. It also doesn't work well for some folks. Like any other approach to business, YMMV, but discounting the disadvantages that have been enumerated for you is explicitly ignoring the fact that some people, including those who are top performing employees in their fields, prefer not to work remotely.

It's best to make the decision and your own recommendations acknowledging there are trade offs, no?


> Here are some: communication, loneliness, isolation, timezones, discipline

Some these can be both! I have been working remote since 2008 and our entire team went remote in 2013

Communication: We are much more streamlined. No more "hallway talk" that doesnt get recorded or followed up on etc. No more "did you get my email?" kinda crap. Much less (I won't say no more!) impromptu meetings gathering way more people than needed in the office that could have been resolved in a simple email

Isolation: I'm going to assume this is different than "loneliness"? I like isolation to work on hard problems, or just be super productive. We still video conf, phone, and chat, but outside of that all the coders love their isolation time

Timezones: This is definitely a challenge at times, but the boss man loves knowing someone is awake somewhere in the world should servers catch on fire.

Discipline: Is the person who doesn't do work at home the same one that would be checking their fantasy sports or hn/reddit/facebook at work? I guess if you were in an open office and everyone could see what you are doing 100% of the time you'd be "forced to work" but do you want that on your team anyways? You know that BS line in most job postings about "self motivated" it could actually apply for remote :)

loneliness: I can definitely see this for some people I've worked with in the past, there is no advantage to being lonely. I would say use your added free time of no commute to go out in the world and do something fun. Sometimes its great to not be around work people and not talk about work


You have a point. If someone does not enjoy remote work, then they should not get a remote job.

I'm not a very good country music singer. When I sing country music, I feel shame, discomfort, and general depression. Therefore, I don't sing country music.


Ok, so your company only hires country singers? You are missing out on amazing, qualified candidates that don't sing country music.

Even if you are having a successful time hiring great people that are happy remote, how are you going to retain them? A remote software job is much closer to a commodity than a traditional software job. (I read the 37signals book and built a remote team over 5 years; in the end the difficulty finding people that are truly happy remote meant retention was difficult and, overall recruiting and cost of living considered, a remote team was, for me, a net wash).

Edit: after thinking more, it's even worse; you don't know if most applicants can really be happy singing country music for a year, 2 years, or longer... Even those that seem to really value and are excited about the prospect of singing country music may learn before too long that it's not for them.


> A remote software job is much closer to a commodity than a traditional software job

In the current climate all software [engineering] jobs are commodities from an employee viewpoint.


True. But until we start to see the proportion of remote jobs to all jobs decline, remote is just as easily available as traditional, but lacking the physical and social stickiness that distinguishes traditional jobs and facilitates retention; remote is "closer to a commodity".


I guess that's true. But my inner cynic thinks that (ab)using people's herd instincts like that to "facilitate retention" cheapens traditional jobs. I would rather work remotely and have a meaningful social life, than work in an office and have a social life that my employer engineers to make me less likely to leave for a better job.

As an introvert, there is only so much social interaction I can take in a day. The office burns through most of it.


I agree with you. I need to be more nuanced and less cold in my language. The reality is, I prefer going to an office and seeing my coworkers; fortunately this is well-aligned with the retention interests of my company.


As I said, I'm probably just too cynical, and seeing things through the fact that I don't like going to an office.

I agree that when it comes to team productivity rather than personal productivity, offices do work better. Especially when people of varying skill levels are involved.


I was with you even though I've not used most of the tools you mentioned which must have been first released in the past 6 months for the hipsters. Why describe country music using terms like "discomfort", "shame" and "depression"? I can't think of any music that should make anyone feel that way. It almost seems to suggest a narrative, if you don't know what the new group of hot new tools are that were released yesterday, "Speech", "Slacker" (is that Slacker radio or Slack Linux?) and you like country music; don't bother to work for us. I'm guessing it also means if you're older than 25 no need to apply.


Not sure what you're suggesting.

We're all over 30.


As a remote worker you can sing it loud and proud.


I didn't want to rub it in.


I agree with you in general, I like my working remote, but it's the other guys working remote that I don't like. ;-)

Managing a distributed workforce, definitely has challenges. From what I have seen, onboarding new employees can be particularly awkward. It may be different in hip, new startups, but in my experience with less fashionable, old school organizations, it makes accountability, knowledge-sharing and organizational-political navigation more challenging.


Of course there are trade offs, and it works for some people, but not others. This is why if you intend to build a remote team, you hire people who can thrive in a distributed organization. You also provide the tools to make it work.

I've been working for a 100% remote company for 3 years now. It was an adjustment. But everyone who was here before me gave me advice to do well in this environment. And everyone who was hired after me got the same support and guidance. We also all get together on occasion, and when we do, we brainstorm how to do things better.


I've been working remotely for the same client since late 2012, in general it's been ideal in a number of ways and the positives out-weigh the negatives.

I do miss the casual social side of having colleagues in an office from time to time, but I tend to be quite a social person. That, and maintaining delivery over a long period of time requires focus and discipline, no small effort.


One this is certain, it has gotten easier. In my case I can work remote and be entirely mobile. In the past that involved a drop of productivity at least 50%.

The disadvantages are the health problems that occur if a remote worker is sitting at home all day, physically and mentally. These can take years to begin manifesting themselves and are really bad if the remote worker can't self identify them.


What kind of health problems? I've been working remote for about three years now and so far, haven't noticed any problems in myself.

Certainly it's made it easier to jump on the home elliptical, lift a few weights, do a few chin-ups, or run outside for 45 mins.

Back when I was in an office downtown, it was an expensive and time consuming project to go out 4-5 times a week to a gym at lunchtime or after work, then need to shower immediately before you can be around your workmates again, etc.

I'm also so much more relaxed now that I don't have to commute. That was a real stressor.


+1 for occasionally meeting up. My team works remote and while some of us do see each other more frequent, others are on the other side of the country.

So about two times per year, once for a tech summit we go to , and another we have our own summit, we take over a hotel and hang out. During this time we also gives talks and other things but it is half fun and half work.

I think occasional face to face time and bonding time is super helpful, but not everyone needs that every day, and I think in our case it had made these twice a year meet ups something we all really get excited about and look forward too.


How long have you been doing this? I'm a pretty serious introvert and I have been working remotely for about 6 years. I started out absolutely loving it but the shine is definitely off over the past year and the drawbacks are feeling like they are balancing out the benefits. The only thing that keeps me sane is if I am fairly religious about having at least two social outings per week, and even with that, it's starting to wear on me. It's possible that it's actually cured me of being an introvert.


This is interesting. It seems that you at 17hats built remote work into the core business model, establishing the processes and tool sets to enable and encourage it. Your story stands out as your outcome is so much more positive. The difference in your approach vs. what what most clients/companies do is that they tolerate and accommodate remote work rather than embrace and enable it. The accommodation approach, in my own experience, leads to the comms and isolation issues.


I'm in the middle of a blog post of what it's like to work 9 time zones from the rest of your colleagues. There are lots of good things, but there are also a lot of challenges.

If the entire team is distributed, a lot of those challenges are mitigated. If only a few people are distributed, then you can get problems like unequal access to information, or unequal access to people. Even though my team is used to remote workers and is very conscientious, it is not unusual to have things change direction without anyone thinking to inform me. The "everybody knows" problem is pervasive.

Access to people is even more difficult. When you are working locally, it is easy to brainstorm with someone while walking to the store to buy lunch, for instance. You have a certain amount of influence on the team because conversations are low cost. Remotely, you have to come up with the idea on your own, then send an email, wait for a response, etc, etc. It is not spontaneous, which means that by and large remote workers have much less influence than local workers. Even with hangouts, IRC and slack, it's hard to generate the same banter that you would have locally (especially when you are separated by 9 timezones).

If there is anyone local who is keen on political machinations, you pretty much have to be happy with letting them have their way. You will be outmaneuvered at every turn. This places a much higher requirement for trust on remote workers. You have to trust that people will tell you about things, and then ask for your input and then wait for your reply -- rather than just doing what they wanted to do in the first place.

As I said, if you are a fully remote team, this is less of an issue. However, there are still lots of challenges in this scenario. One of the biggest surprises that I had when I moved from local to remote on my present team was how my attitude towards my team mates changed. When I was local, I went out for drinks with people, and chatted about sports and basically hung out with them. When I was remote, most of my interaction centred around code.

In the local situation, if I was pissed off about a technical issue, or something that somebody did, then my attitude towards the person was tempered by my general good feelings about them as a person. In the remote situation, my interface with people is almost entirely technical, so when someone does something I don't like, I tend to feel badly about the person as well as the issue. This is something that I need to constantly remind myself about -- they are good people doing things I don't like. It is much easier to forget this when you are working remotely, I find.

There are many other challenges as well. It's not that these challenges are insurmountable, though. You need to build a culture where people operate in the way that works for your team. It sounds like you have done that on your team. On our team as well, I don't think there is anyone remote who would rather be local, so from that perspective it works well. There are people on our team who would much rather be local and I can understand their feeling. I suspect there may be one or two people who would rather that there weren't any remote people on the team because it interferes with how they would prefer to work. I respect that too and always try to accommodate my team mates. It's a balancing act.


What's Speak?



speak.io

Super low bandwidth audio/video/screensharing.


Its funny, your elevator pitch makes me want to use them. But over at their web site, they just look like a me-too skype replacement. They don't push the low bandwidth aspect at all.


They were just purchased by Slack as well.


I think you're thinking of Screenhero - https://slack.com/screenhero


Woops! Yes, you're right. Speak was originally Sqwiggle, but then pivoted. Got my S-companies confused.


Screenhero is an amazing tool also.


I wouldn't work remotely even if you gave me 25% more salary to do it. My ideal work context would be a six hour day at an office in the city that I can walk to from my condo. Sit-stand desks, balance-ball chairs, decent coffee, but no catered lunch / dinner. I want to take coworkers or dates out. Preferably with a nearby park that I can take walks in.

Sit at home with a computer all day? Sounds too much like solitary confinement for my taste.


I'm the opposite, I turned down $300K in LA to keep my remote job at a lot less. I move around the world freely, I don't need to commute, i can work in my underwear or while sitting on a beach, and I generally don't even have to be available during the office hours as long as I do my job and respond to emails reasonably quickly.


I've traveled enough to realize I'd rather stay in one place. Other places are good to take vacations to. But I always end up looking forward to getting home.


Living the dream! I have also telecommuted from the tropics, though on a fraction of your less-than-300k I bet.

What has your favorite work location been so far?


I really like Hawaiʻi. It's expensive though. Like more than Manhattan expensive. But you can't beat clean air, clean water, mild temperatures, all kinds of water sports, beautiful nature, lack of trash everywhere (unlike many Asian tropical destinations). And if you want to stay away from the tourists, there's a bunch of islands to choose from.


... You realise that working remotely could mean working at a co-working space walking distance from your home, allowing you to live/work where you like...?


Sure, but I'd rather work with my coworkers.


Although I posted about the difficulties of working remotely, it is not impossible to work with your coworkers remotely. I actually pair program with my coworkers in the UK (I am in Japan) daily. It's hard on the sleep schedule, but that's about it. In fact, the physical set up for doing remote pair programming is so much nicer than being side by side, that I tend to do it even when I'm in the same room.

Basically, we use tmux and any editor that uses a terminal (tends to be vim, but sometimes emacs on our team). If you have good bandwidth and latency then you can use screen sharing tools for the same purpose. For audio, you can use mumble, which is really low bandwidth and low latency. It is really easy to set up the audio so that it is exceptionally good. You've got different channels (basically rooms) so you can chat all day, just like you were in the same office and move to a private room to shut out chatter. If you are in the same city then you can meet after work for real face time.

There are definitely some people who do not like working remotely, so I'm not trying to convince you that you should do it. I just want to point out that working remotely does not equal working alone.


Oh I know that it's possible. Technology makes most anything possible. Just not being in a room physically with other people. Once it can do that I'll consider working remotely.


I respect the blogger's choices, but he didn't mention family. Once you have little ones, working from home becomes an incredible benefit. Obviously for females it's advantageous, but for males as well.

For example, I work full time from home and am able to drop my elementary school daughter to school and pick her up at arbitrary times of day (15 mins. round trip) while my spouse is off at her day job which is in a classroom and thus has rigid scheduling.

It makes it possible for my wife to work. It also means I can skip the shower and "business casual" dress-up ritual every morning. I typically work all morning in my pajamas/sweats, throw on running shorts and head out at lunch time for a quick noon time run, knock off around 5 or 6pm and throw some dinner together.

I'm in nearly constant contact with my teammates and management using skype chat and email. Occasionally, Webex conference calls with customers. Once in a while we screen share. (pro tip: You should disable Chrome browser's Gmail popup notifications if you are screen-sharing with your boss and you tend to get a lot of email from recruiters....)

Then there is the quiet, the ability to step outside for 3 minutes and breath the fresh air, make your own coffee or drink of choice and not have to settle for the office Keurig or institutional drip brewer. My preference has long been a French press and freshly ground beans -- though lately it's been chai tea -- easy at home, a pain to set up at an office.

The work-from-home option is truly a great advancement if you have a complicated home life, such as children. You can also take the laptop and pretty much work from anywhere; I frequently take the family on vacation and just work 9-5, saving my real time off for other occasions.

Certainly, it's "not for everyone" -- especially, I would think, for 20-somethings who are recent grads and still socializing into the work environment, or for people in some kind of tight work loop where the shoulder-to-shoulder approach is necessary, and the 5-minutes-in-the-hallway is critical for random idea vetting and brainstorming.


It turns out that most work is hard,period. Try being a single mom working at Wal-Mart and tell me how tough it is to do PowerPoints in a noisy Starbucks.


Indeed. The biggest challenge to remote work is when there's a local core.

The groups that are serious about it enforce rules about collocated humans preferring the remote collaboration tools anyway. It's tough to bake this into a culture that didn't start there.


I'd guess it's hard even if you start with that. Local equivalents are often much better (e.g sharing a screen with someone is much better than all screen sharing apps, meeting someone is much better than all of the video conferencing apps etc).


I mean, I'm pretty sympathetic to the somewhat political statement that started this subthread. Having meaningful work for all humans that want it, and meaningful existence for any humans left out? (A bit off topic, granted.)


I have been working remotely since 2011, and it wasnt until I had the flexibility to experiment with when I worked that I finally hit my stride. I tend to work best in two, concentrated sprints, rather than one endurance run. This means I have a siesta during the middle of the day most days where I do evening errands and have lunch, and then I usually work from the late afternoon into the early evening.

The results? 400% output, and when youre self-employed that means 400% more potential for revenue. For me, I dont mind working on any project with any psrson or team - but anybody asking me to operate in a way that knocks me down to 25% output is NOT worth my time or money, or theirs! It just doesnt make sense at this point.

After 2-3 years working at home, even an introvert gets a little stir-crazy. Thats normal! I would go out and hit up Starbucks, or local coffee shops that were friendly to me buying a couple drinks over 2-3 hours. But after a while even that isnt enough.

The single, biggest change I made to my work lifestyle as far as my emotional health is concerned has been joining a shared office space. The rent is a little more than my Starbucks budget was each month, but I can go to an office 24/7 with free flowing coffee and hack on anything I want. Even though none of the folks there work with me, I have found work through other members.

For me, having the option of going i to a shared office space any time I want has removed all those awkward days for me. And on any day I dont feel like going in, literally nobody will notice or expect me to be there. Its perfect.

In the future I believe companies will realize that they dont have to house their employees, and so many business simply wont! I envision a new style of employment where you choose and rent the office space you want, you surround yourself with the atmosphere and people you work best with, and even if you dont work for the same company, or during the time you have the office you change work - only your paycheck changes.

I cant wait to rent a private shared office with friends someday in the future :)


I spent 7 years working 2.5 hours away from home, spending half of every week at work or in an apartment near work. I went to lunch quite often with coworkers, or we would go for a few drinks after work. I didn't realize it, but my circle of friends were all in Virginia, while my family was in PA (including my fiancee, now wife, and later my son when he was born).

Two years ago, I took a job that let me work from home. And it's pretty awesome. I have my office in a detached building from the house, all my colleagues are also remote, so I don't have that disconnect where everyone else is planning things in person and I'm catching up later. I get to spend more time with my family.

The downside is that I've been realizing that I don't have much in the way of friends locally. None of my coworker friends, past or present live near me. I have some friends in my radio club, but most of them are over twice my age and retired. I don't know how to make new friends. The way I made friends when I was younger was through people I worked with, people at college, and then people they knew. I don't think I ever hung out at a bar and made a friend that way, I don't think that would work today.

My situation may be atypical, but I could imagine others in such situations. Lots of people commute to work and would jump at an opportunity to work remotely. Some people will move "out of the city" when they get a remote job.


    > I don't know how to make new friends
Meetup groups, Facebook, take up frisbee golf, etc.

It's hard if you're an introvert, but the reliable way to make new friends is to keep meeting new people until some stick.


I'd like to see some analysis of this from the employer's side. By which I mean, how does it affect you as a manager when you have reports that work remotely?

Personally I have observed that some people who work remotely suffer from delusions as to what happens in the office when they're not there. They'll scoff at the lack of progress of the office workers, compared to their own majestic productivity - ignoring the fact that someone needs to be back at base coordinating all of this stuff, dealing with customer situations, walk-ins from product managers and execs, etc. etc.

A further elaboration of this is when remote workers expect to impose some kind of extreme rigour on their unfortunate office-bound colleagues. They might insist on 24 hours advance notice of important design discussions, which could otherwise take place at the water cooler, just to be sure they can be included.

When told thats not the way the world of work works, they may play down the effectiveness of the water cooler discussions, when most people have observed first hand just how beneficial those serendipitous hallway meetings can be, and how detrimental it can be to have to delay important discussions until the remote people can be involved.


This sounds like something that has happened in your experience, but I've never heard of this phenomenon before. Do you have any articles or studies that talk about this as a trend or normal occurance?

Counterpoint: the remote workers I've worked with don't do any of the things you mentioned.

I personally think that colocation is the preferred way to perform work. Remote development environments require a conscious attention to the tools, practices, and culture. It is far simpler from a management perspective to be colocated.


Colocation assumes talent is centralized. I work on a team with a southerner, a hawaiian, and a guy in australia, and the client is located in Florida!

3 citizenships, 2 continents, and still a small team. If they wanted us all in-office they probably couldn't have hired us


By now, I have spent more than half of my 15+ year professional career as a remote employee. My first job, back in 2000 was as a developer working for a Boston-based company from my apartment in upstate NY. We exchanged source code via CD in the mail, used a telephone and screen shared with Microsoft Netmeeting. That... was hard.

Several companies later, I find it actually difficult to work in an office environment. I'm not a hermit or even a strong introvert. I enjoy the company of other people from all walks of life, but there are so many distractions in an office environment that prevents me from doing my best work. As a Technical Operations engineer (SysEng, DevOps, SRE, or buzzword-dujour), most of my work is contemplative and best performed away from a keyboard. At home, I am free to work while running, walking, or sitting in the bathtub (TMI) with no fear of judgement from my peers. When I do need access to someone, I have a variety of tools at my disposal to suit the required latency and interactivity of the conversation.

Plus, pants are optional and slippers are the prescribed footware.

There are always challenges, though. For me, strict enforcement of work hours is a must. Sometimes I still get in the zone, lose track of time and work late, but usually I sit down around 9AM and take off around 5-6PM. Otherwise, work takes over my life and I end up neglecting my responsibilities as a husband, father, and homeowner. I am lucky to have a wife who understands my work boundaries and children who have never known a father who leaves the house for work each day. "Daddy is working" is enough for them to get them out of my office. Oddly, I grew up in a similar environment, as my father worked from a home office when I was a kid.

The biggest challenge for me has been while working for a medium-sized (1000+ employee) company in a Director role for a mostly colocated company. As an individual contributor, communication with my team and boss is relatively easy, but as a leader it is incredibly difficult to inject myself into important conversations via chat and email when those people are literally sitting next to each other. Having trusted "spies" within the organization that will keep their ears open and report back is a must or else you end up completely out of the loop.

Having worked primarily at colocated companies where I'm in the minority as a remote employee, I'm very excited to be joining an established remote first company next year and seeing how they do it in the "big leagues."


I lived a situation like yours, after I left from big consulting company, where you are in continuous contact with your your customer and other many people. I'm not introverts, I like to meet and chat with people and I've played many sports also as pro.

But after I decided to change my job, I went back to live with my parents in my city. I started to work at home. I'm honest I've made many mistakes, just for I had not experience. The results were just immediate:

* Do not discern work place and house

* Have no desire to go out. I remind that going out for me had become very hard, maybe for laziness, I don't know.

* Personal relationships very bad. Having relationships with friends or girl friend is not simple. If you stay all day at home with only your pc, you degrade your ability on cultivate relationships.

I've made similar choice to yours, I've took an office with my friend and many things are changed, I back to gym I start to meet many people each day. But I continue to work as remote position :)

Indeed the problem is not the remote work , the problem is your job location. In my experience, take an small desk in an open office or a room with a friend is a good choice, and it solved many problems for me.


I work in an office. The rest of my team works across the other side of the country (nothing but 2000km of desert between us), and it is far more isolated here at the office than working from home.

Working from home I at least have the opportunity to customise my environment to my taste instead of the bland white-and-cigarette-stain-brown of the current interior decorating of the office.

Working alone in an office is really really hard.


I totally agree with you. When I started to work as a freelancer I felt the same for the first year. That's why I dediced to start, with a former coworker of mine, a coworking place with accessible rates near the city where I lived. Now that I'm not a freelancer anymore, and I don't run actively Meme coworking[0] anymore, I'm proud because it's still active and full of interesting people!

[0] http://memecoworking.com


For me, and what I took away from this article (confirmation bias), it is that a huge barrier to working remotely is the social and personal identity we implicitly associate with work.

The loosening of tribalism from your job (which between 20-40 could be your main "tribe") may be the root cause of the sense of isolation/loneliness.

I wonder if it's as much the emergence of meetups & co-working spaces rather than the online tools (Slack, Speak, Trello etc) which will grow the remote workforce.


I agree that co-working can do as much as the online tools. Not to discount the importance of being able to effectively communicate with the people you are working with, however I have found that being around others who are getting their own thing done is inspiring and motivational. Working remotely in a co-working space has given me the best of both worlds - I get the social aspects of being around others and the motivation of being around others working, but no one bother me about my work cause they are not involved.


Love remote work. With so many companies online now it should be a lot easier to get jobs like this.

Save money by not commuting daily. No suit dry cleaning each week. Eat tasty home made food and leftovers. Way way way way wayyyyy less stress than dressing up looking brighteyed and having to sit at a desk all day so your slave owners can stare at you not working for 8 hours plus two 15 minute breaks plus 30 minutes "lunch"


I believe remote work is one of the greatest advances of modern labor.


Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that on-site work was just a temporary regression? Back in the time where almost everyone worked on a farm, the farm was also your home, and mirrors a lot of what remote workers experience again now.


Not really. Peasants who owned their farm during the pre-industrial era were rare. The bulk of "work from home" then were household chores - which meant e.g. house-wifes spinning wool into yarn or sewing clothes.


Yes.


There are two components to successful remote work: it has to work for the employee, and for the company. Obviously, how well it works depends not only on the particulars of the arrangement, but on the specific employee (introvert, extrovert, etc.) and the specific company (type of product, type of role, other employees, etc.)

"Remote work is terrible" and "Remote work is The Way" are gross oversimplifications that are guaranteed to be wrong.


Well, additionally I have to wonder if have-a-family vs not is a big influence.


I think obviously it depends a lot on your living situation, your personality, and the composition of your team. For me, working remotely was awesome, but there were significant challenges. I had to dedicate a room to being an office and treat it accordingly, I had to get dressed to at least a base level (no sweats!), and I had to be reasonably diligent about my working hours.

But for me it worked great. I think one of the things that make remote work a lot harder are when most of the team is in one place, and you are in the other. In those situations, I find that remote workers are often the "odd man out", since it's easy for everyone else to get together in a conference room to talk something out without the remote worker.

Another issue is timezones - it's one thing if you're an hour off from everyone, that's manageable. Much harder if you're spread across multiple timezones, or a long distance from everyone. Even NY->california can be challenging. I manage a team in Europe and the timezone challenges are downright exhausting.


I've been working remotely for a while now, and i would say in terms of productivity it has been excellent.

No commuting which means time can be spent on reading up materials, doing actual work, or going to the gym.

Meals is also an important matter. Working remotely, I feel I have more control on what I eat. Typically i tend to pick up food at a cafe/restaurant, which depending on my pick diminishes my productivity. Working at home means having access to full fledge kitchen like stove, oven; I could do weekly/daily groceries to prepare healthy food like salad, yoghurt, etc.

There are still some setbacks though when it comes to communicating and working in a team. We tried to solve that with Slack and project management tools (ie. Basecamp, Asana); it works for most projects, while some I supposed we are still looking for the right way to get everyone on the same page mainly because there are a few stakeholders involved.


I would like to find out how hard working remotely can be. Unfortunately, finding a FT remote software dev position is really hard.

Most want you to already have experience working remotely :|



I've been working remotely for the last 7 months, and I find it awesome! The biggest downside for me is less socialization with coworkers. But what helps a lot, is that my team meets one week each quarter, which helps build/maintain good rapport in the team.


For me:

  communication - This is really hard and sometimes harder in person.
  loneliness - I'm married, wife is a homemaker so I get to see her all the time, this isn't an issue for me but i can see it could be for some.
  isolation - Exactly, that is the point, sweet quiet.
  timezones - This is only not an issue when it isn't. Otherwise the problem with timezones makes no difference whether the people are remote or in an office, the problem is the timezone difference itself.
  discipline, After several years in the military early on, this isn't an issue either.


I'm working remotely while I go to school, and I have to say it's been pretty great. Not to say it doesn't have it's moments--but school helps with isolation/socialization (plenty to people to chat/have lunch with), with work clocking in at a few hours a day, it's pretty manageable.

Slack has been an invaluable tool to help with socialization, and keeping up with what's going on in the office. Also helps with visibility issues.

I could happily sustain this pace of work for a long time, I think--though, when school is over, it might be a bit more challenging.


I've found that it's not "working remotely" that's hard per se, it's working remotely when the rest of the team works in the office somewhere. In that set up, you basically aren't a part of all those hallway conversations, which in turn means you're out of the loop most of the time. If you're a junior engineer, that might be OK, but for someone senior: stay the fuck away from this set up, no matter how appealing it seems at first.


How timely. Right now I'm sitting in a house on the beach in Tolú, Colombia. I work remote 32 hours/week for my employer in Denmark doing development, sysadmin and consulting.

I'm here with my wife and my two kids (4 and <1 years) and we've been on the road for almost a month.

So far it's been great. It took a few days to get started with remote work; tooling, getting the computer set up for low bandwidth work etc. I don't have fixed working hours, although I try to work a few hours in the morning and then 3-4 hours at night after the kids are sleeping. That might change soon, though, as I think we'll have to incorporate a proper siesta after lunch for my wife and the kids' sake; I'll probably use that to work. It's just too hot in the middle of the day here to do anything if you're not used to the heat (and even then -- the locals have siesta as well).

We're staying in this place for three more weeks (been here one week), and then we're off to another place. Currently it looks like we'll buy a used car to avoid some of the hassle of traveling with kids and to be able to see places off the beaten path. We're talking about heading North to Santa Marta, but nothing is planned yet.

I've been working from home in Denmark for some months before we left, so my family is somewhat used to me shutting them out when I'm working (or trying to). Re: work ethics: I guess it helps loving what you do -- although the beach is really inviting when it's pushing 35 degrees outside... Realizing that the reason why we're even here in the first place is due to the trust of my employer helps as well!


We have plenty of engineers at the office, only word which you might hear from them over several weeks could be 'good morning' when they arrive. After that they're completely isolated, disconnected, alone and answer emails lazily with delay of days. Won't answer phone or IM.

I wonder if working remotely vs at office does any difference at all, except you can just drop out the commute time which might be a huge win depending from situation.


I work from home most of the time since I'm about an hour from the office best case and usually double that with traffic. I'm much more efficient at home because it's more comfortable and far less distracting.

I think if people have a hard time getting motivated at home that's a symptom of a larger or unrelated problem.


If work is your primary social outlet, then yes... remote work is going to be a hard time. Find another group!


Sometimes people don't have any choice and must work remotely like my startup. It was frustrating in the beginning but once we got used to it, it was very rewarding.

My cofounders and I are in this situation. We don't have a choice and have to work remotely as we have been in different countries for over a year now. We have been dogfooding our product (a real time collaborative whiteboard) to work together because as a startup we are always exploring new ideas, discussing strategies and designing solutions. Can't say that it beats meeting or working in person, but it definitely has worked well for us by making it easy to communicate and focus on ideas.


I just don't understand why the responses to this post are all defending working remotely. Working remotely can be hard and still be the right thing for you. Getting defensive and downplaying all the problems with working remotely just means that we can't have a real discussion about how to solve those problems.

And what's more, it's creating a false dichotomy: there's no universal right answer to whether remote or in-person is better. Remote work is the best way for some teams. But it's certainly not the best way for any team I've been on, mostly because I'm far too extroverted to work on such a team.


I believe I have a very good setup for working remotely. I have a house with a yard, and I can work indoors, or I can work outdoors (and regularly do.) The key, however, is that I work at a coworking space 2-3 days a week for part of my work day. It provides the perfect amount of social interaction, which I get to gatekeep. If I'm doing something particularly detail oriented, I stay home. If I can stand some interruptions, I head to the coworking space.

I don't know if all coworking spaces are as awesome as the one I have found myself at, but it fundamentally competes the "work at home" model for me.


At the risk of sounding totally ridiculous or trolly, the toughest challenge I've faced when adjusting to working remotely is answering the question, "When should I shower?"

It's easy when you're working in an office job: Shave and shower before you go into work in the morning.

When no one will see your face, you're suddenly left with the curse of too many options.

In the morning? But what if your roommate needs the hot water before he goes to work?

During your lunch break? What if you're hungry?

After work? What about your other roommate who usually works night shift?

Maybe that's totally silly to some folks. Communication came easy for me, but I grew up on IRC.


That part is easy. Shower after you work out, whenever that is.


I don't work out.


I'd also call myself an introvert, and the best productivity I get is when I dedicate a couple of days working from home with the rest in office. This allows me to get the bulk load of work done when I'm home and allow some social interaction with my colleagues the rest of the week, while still getting a decent amount of work done. It's consistently the same days every week that I work from home, so people I work with can have their expectations set on when I'll be around. Choosing random days does not really work well for this, as people get confused when I'm not there.


I agree with the consensus in the article. I work for a team which is spread out all over the world and i'm one of the two people working from India. I feel isolated and lonely. My other team-mate from India works from home most of the time is planning on quitting soon so it makes it even worse.

The work is great but just feel like having someone to talk about your problems and getting quick help is no where near pinging them on IM tools and asking if they are free or whatever. I envy most of my co-workers here who always have someone to walk the hallway, have lunch together etc.


I love working remote, and wouldn't consider working any other way. That being said it's still difficult to find work at home jobs, even for software engineers. I have recruiters hitting me up on LinkedIn all the time about open positions, but when I tell them I'd rather work remote, they sort of just shrug and go away.

Any other engineers out there that feel the same way? How would you approach finding a work at home job should you be looking?


For me, working long hard hours from home can begin to make me feel an association between being at home and doing hard work (as opposed to coming home from work, where home is a place of rest). I think being able to have work separate from home is important, especially for the family. The stress of work should stay at the office, and being able to compartmentalize that stress while working from home is a skill I have yet to fully master.


I agree. One way to address that is to define a space at home that is your work office/space. So a study, or corner of a room. If a corner of a room, you could even get some dividers to separate yourself from the rest of the room. It also helps hide work if you also use the room for something else.

Then doing something like going to the gym, or going for a jog etc when you finished work for the day can help you make the mental disconnect. A routine can really help develop that mindset.


Similar to the poster, I started renting a coworking space and riding my bike to work each day and it really makes all the difference. I've met friends, go out to lunch each week (and then take a little nap afterwards at my desk), and drinks on Friday. Discovering coworking has been really great, and now working remote doesn't even phase me


I find that I need people around doing stuff to look at occasionally to fend off the loneliness. I prefer to work from a Starbucks or a local open plan co-working space because of this. If there are people around, even if I don't talk to them, it helps me get work done.


I'm in a wheelchair, I have limited access to telework with my current organisation. I'm trying very hard to find somewhere that'll let me work from home as it'd be a huge benefit for my health and wellbeing. Travelling is hard.


Working in an office is hard. Especially when you complete work early and have to pretend to be busy. With remote working, when you finish your tasks you are DONE. I've had many relaxing 4 hour days.


How did you guys start working remotely? Or did you work remotely from the beginning?

I would like to try but I see it difficult for a company to hire someone remotely who has never worked remotely. Catch-22 anyone?


Sure it's hard, but the alternative of being back in a physical office for long stretches is unthinkable for those of us who've been doing it for a while.


Funny. I work at a company that has two work-from-home days. Those two days are, hands down, the most productive days my team has all week.


Have you thought it might be because of the planning and preparation done on the other 3 days?

It is like the person who skips a meeting to be 'more productive' and then has to go around bothering everyone to understand the decisions made in said meeting.


No, it's because we can code for long periods of time without getting interrupted.


I forgot which company it was or where I heard of this, but they would be remote and do a group video chat together the whole time while working.


The only issue I ever had working remotely was when my (now ex) wife thought I was talking to her while in a conference call.

"I know it's going to be tight, but we'll make it fit".


Is the link down? I get a blank page.




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