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Working remotely from home for 6 months

Published 15 Feb 2015

I’ve been working remotely now for over 6 months with Monitor from home. Its been a tough but overall enjoyable time. Here are some points about my experience and some advice.

The good parts:

  • I’ve gone from novice to more than competent with Angular JS with majority of work to date been building an Angular web app that’s responsive.
  • Worked with iOS and Android, adding features to Monitor’s mobile apps.
  • Become very competent with building an API in .Net Web API.
  • I’m spending more time working on my Mac for app development, Windows 8's UI is pretty horrible.
  • I get to see my wife for lunch when she’s not working. Plus I’m always home for the kids.
  • My cooking skills have improved as I’m always home first to start cooking dinner.
  • I’m not wasting up to an hour each day on commuting. Not having to drive for 10 minutes to get to work like I did previously is a big stress reducer.

The hard parts:

  • Communication is hard when working remotely, even with all the tools available now for it. I find I need to have face to face visits every month and constantly strive to keep my team aware of my progress and issues I come across.
  • I work a lot more hours working remotely, often I’ll put the kids to bed and whip out to the garage for a couple of hours “just to get some things done” or spend an afternoon on the weekend working. It’s “normal” for me to do 50+ hour weeks simply cause I can.
  • Working remotely can be lonely. I find I need to do activities to socialise outside of work like social beach volleyball and meetups. Some weeks I never leave the suburb of where I live.
  • Work and home life separation is difficult, it’s too easy to work in the evenings.
  • I’m putting on weight very quickly as food is always at hand in the pantry. I may be walking to work, but the distance isn’t very far.

My tips:

  • Make a space where you can work alone without distractions, I’ve made part of our garage into my office.
  • Get into a routine, start at the same time everyday just like going to a normal job.
  • Make sure you get outside the house to do social activities at least once a week.
  • Fast unlimited internet is a must, I’m eyeing up all the current deals on offer for fibre they have come down in price the short time I’ve been working from home.
  • Over communicate is the best policy I'm finding. I'm constantly updating my team members on Skype and email.
  • Read these two books Remote: Office Not Required and The Year Without Pants: and the Future of Work.

Overall the experience has been great. It allows me to do a very challenging job thats rewarding in learning experiences from the comfort of my own home without the stress of a commute to work. On top of that I’m able to maximise my time with my family, which is priceless.

Front End Web Developer from Tauranga, New Zealand

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.