3 Months of Remote Work

Three months have passed since I left the office and started working remotely (+1000 km), in this post I share the “pros and cons” of my short experience, even though across the Internet many people already covered this topic extensively.

Whitesmith has been “remote friendly” since first day I joined, more recently the company is trying to become a “remote first” business, as described in a recent blog post. What this means is that remote workers should be treated as first class citizens and the company’s processes should assume that all employees are working remotely. This mindset gave me the possibility to move farther away for a while.

The first thing that I’ve done was to rent a table in the nearest co-working space, because staying all 24/7 in the same house is not my thing. It was a good decision, this way is possible to meet and interact with new people from different backgrounds regularly and I have a spot where I can focus without too many distractions.

Regarding the job related issues, the asynchronous nature of remote work is both its biggest strength and at the same time its biggest drawback. I say this because all the liberty and flexibility comes with a cost, which is the lack of a fast feedback loop and that instant discussion on the spot that settles everything down, without the need for more message round trips or checking my peer’s availability for a quick video call.

On the social side, one aspect that I noticed (and already expected before embracing this new experience) was a small detachment of whats going on in the office. Slack is more active than ever but is not the same as the “water cooler”, plus new people are constantly joining in. Without a physical presence it is hard to get to know the newcomers.

Even though there are these rough edges, I’m really enjoying working remotely. In 2016 I will try a few new strategies to overcome the above obstacles, such as:

  • Improve my written communication skills
  • Avoid slack for long running discussions and prefer more structured platforms
  • Organize some on-line activities/events
  • Work on small projects with the new teammates

Lets see how it goes in the next few months.

By Gonçalo Valério

Software developer and owner of this blog. More in the "about" page.