Some thoughts on remote working

One nice thing about working remotely free from the constraints of a 9-5 office, is that if your schedule allows it, you can always work a little later and fit in a run during the day, at a time that suits you.

The danger of not planning your day

My role involves much interaction with my colleagues, and clients, often in multiple time zones, and if I don't plan my day out properly and end up reacting to every email that comes in immediately, my productivity and quality of work suffers.

Solution: Obviously there will be cases where one has to drop everything in an emergency, but I like trying to structure my day, and usually write down a list of 3+ things that I'm going to get done that day. I usually check email first thing in the morning, and try to archive/delete things that aren't relevant to me, before turning off email notifications if I can, and checking at designated times during the day.

Things that I need to action, I'll often pop a quick reply to, and add to my backlog list of tasks. Most email is never super urgent, and if it is you'll often find that people call you in an emergency.

The lure of chores

Working at home, there will always be a rare occasion where you have to let a tradesman in to do something, but I generally pretend that when I'm working I'm not at home, so not available for any household chores. It's easy to accept requests of 'can you just do...' from your partner who sees you being at home, but these can add up and impact your day, so generally I'm not available for the most part for anything, so I can focus on work.

Lack of social interaction

I'm a pretty social person, and sometimes miss the day-to-day banter of an office.

Solution: I try and make sure I both make it up to see my team for some face-to-face time several times a year, and use really good online tools like Squiggle, Hangouts and Chat, and also go out to local geek events to get my networking/social fix.

Is remote right for you?

Remote working is more suited to jobs that are knowledge/internet based - obviously some types of jobs just wouldn't work remotely. Working at home on your own definitely takes discipline, but if you can think of and address the challenges it poses, then it offers tremendous flexibility and potential, both in location and quality of life.

It's definitely not for everyone however, and while I think being co-located with your team can sometimes be better for communication, given the right tools, attitude and approach you can really make it work.

Some thoughts on remote working