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Ways to make working remote work for you (datadoghq.com)
75 points by coyoteville on Sept 23, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 12 comments



I worked on a remote team for 18 months, and I think there is one more point the article could make.

10. Set an alarm for whatever time your workday ends and stick to it

Our team was made up of 8 people and we all worked remote. We all had the problem of starting work between 8-9 and finding that we were still working come 9PM.

For me, it was easy to loose track of time and not even realize how late it was. Setting an alarm for 5pm and leaving my office when it went off was key to a healthy work/life balance.

This doesn't mean you never work late. It just means you are purposeful about it. Sometimes I would "snooze" my alarm for a few extra minutes, or set a new one for an hour later if we really needed to meet a deadline.


OP and author here. That's a great point. Working in an office setting, it's easy to see the tide of co-workers retreating toward the end of the day. When you're working alone, there's no such signal.


I don't mean this as a criticism towards you personally, but I've heard this same sentiment about remote working and I just don't get it.

I could never see myself accidentally working until 9pm. I understand having a passion for programming/work, but aren't there other things in your life you would rather be doing, like seeing friends, going out for a bike ride, trying a new restaurant, having sex with your GF or wife, or cooking a nice meal? I really don't understand the obsession with work (especially if you're on a salary and don't get paid for the additional hours).


It is because you loose the "trigger" that it is time to leave. There are definitely things I would rather be doing, and I wouldn't say working late has to do with passion. My wife calls it "being in my own little world". I am focused on a task and forget what is around me.

It might have to do with our process. We would keep an open Skype call with everyone on it. Our microphones were on mute, but if you needed someone it was easy as pressing "unmute" and talking. So come 6pm if you still hear people talking and working, then the trigger of "people are leaving. it must be nearing 5" isn't there.


There's more to it than "passion for programming/work" or losing the notion of time that passes.

If you've teammates or clients who are a few timezones to the west of yours, then:

1. You only have so many things you can interact about in the couple of work hours you share with them (assuming any at all, when you're in Europe with Californian colleagues or clients), so it's occasionally tempting to work "just one more hour" to make sure a project moves forward.

2. You periodically get dragged into "this can't wait until tomorrow and you need to be here; no, seriously, you're needed and it can't wait until tomorrow!" types of discussions to sort out emergencies.


> I could never see myself accidentally working until 9pm.

I think this happens, amusingly, largely because of the efforts to which remote workers go to separate their personal and work lives.

If you shut yourself off from the world, don't be surprised when you're unaware what the world is doing. I've never made a hard distinction between my work and my real life and my life has never let me make the mistake of giving a company more of my time than they've earned.


It's real. I've done this, and feel guilty in the past because I've contributed to others' succumbing to this (esp. if they're in a more eastern timezone).

Also it's expectations management - how you manage your exceptions (for occasionally needing to stay available) will help define the rule.


I'll second the pomodoro technique, which is also talked about in Coursera's Learning How to Learn course as a means of battling procrastination and tough tasks. It's great for building momentum. I've been using it throughout 2016 and have found it SUPER effective at breaking out of funks.

I don't 'dress for work' but I do have rituals, specifically always having a healthy breakfast, meditating with music/lit candle for 20 mins before starting the day, and heading to the gym for a refresher in the middle of the day. The benefit of working from home is that you can create your own workspace so I'd say cherish that privilege and make it a space and routine that you want. Customize it to what feels comfortable and desirable.

Also I really can't emphasize getting outside and socializing. One of the negatives about working on your own is being inside your head too much whereby you unknowingly create blindspots and a distorted view. Try to find a meetup that meets regularly (once a week) because it'll help keep you social and may also instill a sense of urgency (i.e. "I have to finish this work now in order to make sure I can leave in the evening for that meetup."). My quality of life skyrocketed once I found two meetups that coalesced amazing individuals.


I enjoyed this. I especially like #5 ... weekly videochat sync ups are a nice idea.


I've been working remote for over 6 years :(


Three years and counting here, it's amazing and life-changing!


This is fantastic.




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