Reflections on being a remote software developer
Breaking the myth
Working from anywhere you would like from: be it in your home, up in the mountains and the list can go on. Definitely sounds like a dream job for most developers.
Unfortunately, many companies require developers to commute every day to office. Why? They’re afraid of lack of productivity. But can developers be productive in other places than a head office?
Prepare your seatbelts.
Yes, they do.
I’m working as a remote developer for over a year. I’ve never felt more productive than during this period.
In one of the companies that I used to work for, I was required to work on site. There were a dozen of factors that distracted me due to the open space. These distractions cost me a lot of energy, and I was spending a lot of time to collect my thoughts over and over again.
“How do you do it? How can you focus on your work while being at home?“ — a question that I receive from lot of my friends.
The answer is you can’t work remotely if you’re not a self motivated person. The majority of developers are self motivated people.
But can working remotely have minuses since it’s a dream job?
Prepare your seatbelts again.
Yes, it can.
Swift example that applies to me: missing my colleagues. Due to the distance between the office and the place I live, I can’t visit my colleagues very often, which is unfortunate. But let’s dig deeper into the pros & cons of working remotely as a developer. Along with the cons, I will also share some tips on developing habits that can help you overcome them.
The bad ones
1) Meet and discuss with people only behind displays
We’re human beings.
No matter how introverted you are, you can’t live in a virtual reality. We need to keep a work/life balance by interacting with others.
Habit: I’m going out for lunch every day.
Working from the comfort of your home can become a pitfall as well. Imagine the following scenario: you’re sitting at your computer wearing your pajamas and behind you is the sofa.
Habit: I don’t work wearing my pajamas. I dress up as I would normally do if I were to work in a company’s office. 3 of 5 mornings I end up ironing shirts.
From time to time you need quick responses. Being remote, you can’t get answers as fast as on site.
Habit (that IMO must be practiced by most of developers): I’m as responsive as possible. Doing so, I hope will encourage my colleagues to do the same.
4) Inside Jokes
You might not understand some of the jokes of your colleagues.
Worst case scenario, you’re the subject of some of those jokes you don’t quite understand.
But let’s end on an optimistic note.
The good ones
Developers will perform highly in places where they can’t be distracted and where deep focus can be achieved.
2) Save time
How does it sound to have around 1.5h-2h extra each day?
That’s 10h per week, 40h per month 480h per year.
You do the maths.
3) Push your limits
Working remotely might push the ‘limits’ of developers higher.
It’s easier to bother the colleague next to you by asking a question than is to type it.
You’re gonna think twice about a question before typing it.
The advantage I see here is that developers might focus more on finding answers.
Ideally our schedule is from 9am to 5pm.
Unfortunately, this schedule will vary many times. And you don’t want to enter the office at 3pm.
Just imagine you boss’s face and the pressure that will be on you that day. Besides this, you don’t want to leave the company’s office at 11pm.
As a conclusion, working remotely brings a lot of benefits for both companies and developers. I agree there are minuses too, but they can’t compare to the pluses.
Companies should understand that not allowing developers to work remotely will cost them a lot of money.
Companies that don’t allow developers to work remotely don’t trust their employees. If a company doesn’t trust its employees, it has a big problem.
📢 To all the companies: understand your developers and allow them to work remotely.