How working remotely changed my life

Sketches of a wave, book, lamp, apple, and TV

I’ve been lucky enough to have been working remotely for Remote the past six months. I thought I should write about my experience so far, while I still have fresh thoughts on how my life was when I was working in an office.

Personal life

In my very first week, I noticed a big improvement in my productivity, which made me feel extremely fulfilled. Fewer distractions lead to more time being focused and in the zone.

Working remotely and having a home office allowed me to have a lot more free personal time. The time I previously spent commuting, I can now spend on the things I love such as surfing and fencing. I had to stop practicing fencing 5 years ago because I couldn’t conciliate being a high-performance athlete with my academic and professional life. Now thanks to this new lifestyle I was able to return and start competing again.

One aspect that I truly enjoy about this new life is the improvement in my diet. I started eating healthier and it brought visible changes to my body and wellbeing since now I have more time and ease to cook healthier. It also allowed me to save some more $$ since I would spend a considerable amount of my payroll going out to lunch.

Common concerns on remote work

Friends that work in an office shared some concerns about working remotely. They worry about the following things.

  1. Social Interaction - In what concerns the lack of social interaction, I found it isn’t necessarily a consequence of working remotely. When I feel like I need to hang out with others I schedule working with some friends at some nice place with good internet or simply make a Zoom call with my colleagues. Also, besides work, my colleagues and I even play Dungeons & Dragons over Zoom once a week.
  2. Self Discipline - I believe this is not linked to remote work, but each person’s personality. For some people, it’s easier to create and maintain work routines, for others not so much but it’s essential to establish an environment in which we can be focused on our tasks. For instance, I know I have trouble focusing on some coffee shops with a lot of noise and movement so I try to avoid those places.
  3. Coaching/Mentoring - This also depends on the company and your manager but if the company you’re working on has well-defined procedures this won’t be a problem. I’m always looking forward and eager to learn and there are many ways to do so. Some are specific to my profession as a software developer such as Merge Requests reviews, others are more general, such as making a quick Zoom call that even allow us to do pair programming or spend some time reading about a topic on websites like Medium or Dev.to.

Company perks

At Remote we get unlimited (paid) vacation days, which are great for when you’re feeling unwell, need to take care of your beloved ones, or for some reason can’t set your mind into work.

We also have flexible working hours which is really valuable for me because I really enjoy working at night, I feel like it’s more calm and relaxing.

One of the pillars of remote work is async communication and that for me is a game-changer. The quality and speed of my work are directly proportional to my understanding of the product as a whole. I’m not only talking about product features and how they should work but also about decisions regarding why does it work the way it does.

I suggest you read Marcelo’s blogpost ”You should be working asynchronously” to fully understand how async communication can help you to improve your work.

If you would like to know more about Remote please read our public handbook.

Conclusion

When I decided to join Remote, I had doubts about how working remotely could impact my personal and professional life. After 6 months, I can say with certainty that it was one of the most meaningful and positive changes in my life.

If you are thinking about working remotely and you still have some questions, let us know in the comment section below or reach out on twitter!

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