It has now been two full years of working entirely remotely as a software developer in my full-time job in a Global Fortune 500 company.
In this post, I want to look back into my expectations before starting to work remotely full time, how my expectations have come to fruition, and how working remotely is in reality.
Remote work expectations
Before the pandemic started, I was already working part-time remotely, and I transitioned into working remotely full time.
Depending on the circumstances, I would work anywhere from 1 to 3 days per week remotely without exceptions.
Working remotely was a great way to escape the distractions and constant interruptions when working at the office.
It is essential to get a distraction-free working environment when solving complex problems when writing code, and unfortunately, office space isn’t always like that.
After two years of working full-time remotely, I can say that having the option of working at the office and working remotely is probably the best scenario.
Being forced to work either at the office or remotely does both have their downsides.
I have now moved out about three hours away from our office after knowing that most of my day job work will be remotely done.
My spouse and I bought our first home in a smaller city from a pretty remote location next to a beautiful lake.
Honestly, I didn’t think I would miss the office as much as I seem to miss it these days. I’ve always enjoyed working on my own and love working in a distraction-free environment, but after all, I seem to miss the day-to-day hassle of the office space.
Remote work pros and cons
Right out of the gate, when it comes to the pros and cons of working remotely, let’s state the obvious.
No commute is probably the most significant benefit of working remotely. I usually start my workday around 8 AM, and I have my alarm set at 7 AM.
During my one hour of free time after waking up, I enjoy a slow and quiet morning before opening up my laptop and getting into the work mindset.
Usually, I spend some time outside with my dogs, enjoy a good breakfast, and maybe browse some news online, and that is pretty much it.
As a downside to working remotely, I would say that it is not that easy to always get into the working mindset, even though I believe in quite strict routines, especially during the mornings.
Loneliness is also a significant downside of remote work. Isolation to your own world with nothing but your laptop can sometimes make you feel like you are going crazy and walls are falling over.
I’m not a huge fan of remote meetings, but I think that the world is still learning and adjusting to the remote working environment and how to set up and go about meetings online.
Overall, I like working remotely and love the freedom to choose my working hours, habits, and clothes and not worry about constant distractions that happen at the office.
There are still other distractions at home, and there is very little to no serendipity during workdays.
Breaks and exercise
Another significant aspect of working remotely compared to working at the office is the lack of unnoticed movement and everyday exercise such as walking around the office, walking to commute, walking to pick up lunch, etc.
It’s very easy to become utterly passive during remote workdays, and it might take some conscious efforts to stay active throughout the day. I try to take regular breaks as much as possible and keep active during breaks by doing some minor household chores, taking dogs outside for some fresh air, cleaning out the driveway, doing some dishes, making lunch, doing snow work, etc.
It doesn’t hurt to do some actual workouts and stretches, either. Sometimes my dedicated workspace starts to look like a home gym. I’ve gathered quite a list of home workout equipment for my house. My favorite piece of equipment is the Gravity Fitness Portable Pull-up rack, which allows me to do different bodyweight exercises.
After such activity breaks, I feel like I’m much more charged to get back into solving problems and get some more work done.
Remote work setup
With remote work also comes the freedom and the responsibility to set up your work environment and make sure that you follow proper ergonomics guidelines and can focus on your work and get stuff done.
I’ve tried all kinds of setups to find what would best suit me and make me most productive throughout the workday.
I even tried working on the floor for quite some time.
Lately, I haven’t worked on the floor, but I don’t see that I will never do so again in the future. Instead, I’ve set up my workspace to best suit for standing at the moment.
While working remotely, I’ve also spent quite a few pennies on different tools and gadgets to help me be more productive and make my workspace more comfortable for my liking.
You can also find a post in my blog about my top 9 home office equipment for increased productivity.
I’ve found that the best scenario when it comes to remote work setup is to have the ability to mix things up as much as possible. This means that it’s essential to have a specific room or a dedicated workspace strictly for working and nothing else. It’s also good to have the ability to move away from this dedicated workspace from time to time to other rooms and spaces when you feel like it.
Remote work tips
After two years of working remotely, my top tips for anyone who seeks advice on working remotely or is just getting started with remote work would be:
- strict work schedule
- dedicated workspace
- good ergonomics
- taking breaks
- stay hydrated
While the world is still adjusting to the extreme work from home and remote work movement, you can already get ahead of the curve by experimenting on your own with the best practices that work for you specifically.
I hope you found this blog post helpful or insightful while getting ready for your next remote workday!