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Cover image for 4 Steps I Took to Remote Working

4 Steps I Took to Remote Working

K
・3 min read

Cover image by amanda blake soule, on Flickr, cropped by me.

If you sat around a few years in an open office or cubicle or paid mad housing prices in big cities, you probably dreaming of working from home or at least not from the office.

I had this dream and let it become reality.

I think anecdotes like the following are highly individual so they may or may not apply to your situation. Also, sometimes the problem isn't the place of work, but the people you work with and the power dynamics and communication, so it may also be that remote work won't solve your issues.

That aside, I will tell you about how I became a remote worker.

1. I Quit my Job

You may get your boss to let you work from home, but more often than not companies that aren't remote first won't see it as a good sign if you request this.

Many companies have bad management and require their devs to be around or at least on call, so when you want to do remote, they only will give you a few days or even want to call you all the time.

As I said, this is mostly a problem of bad management, which needs to get support quickly. So if you think moving out will give you more peace, this isn't the case.

I left after a hard cruch time and did a sabbatical for one year. This isn't for everyone, and quite expensive, but it gave me peace of mind and I could think more about what I really wanted from life and work.

2. I got a Job at a Start-Up

Often smaller companies are more open to remote workers for many reasons. They don't have a product to start with so you could be the first dev and the only other dev you need to talk to is... well yourself from yesterday.

They also don't have much money, so they have to buy you with other things.

This got me into a full-time remote position rather quick after my sabbatical, but the company was dropping support requests on me rather heavily, like I said the management has to be really good to get remote work done without anyone hanging around on Skype or Slack 24/7.

3. I started Freelancing

This seems to be the most easy step and a rather viable for us developers right now. It could also be a first step, but it wasn't mine because I feared being self-employed.

Many clients won't even have office space for you to start with and depending on how you approach them, they will think you work in your own office like a normal person. Most of them don't care where or how you work, they just want to get things done.

4. I Questioned my Motives

I'm working remote for 3 years now and after the different things I did, I started to question my motives.

With some people it wasn't a question of where I was, but how they saw me. Even if I was hundreds of kilometers away, they called me all the time and didn't let me work in peace.

I learned that I cared about remote work, but this wasn't everything. I also learned that I cared about people thinking my time is worth something and that I'm not some random person they could stress when they want. I learned that I value structure and flexibility, problem oriented thinking and not working at a company with blame-culture.

Conclusion

Working remote may give you more freedom and peace, but it can't give you happiness if the office isn't the only problem in your life.

You have to think about the people you work with and help foster communication and problem oriented thinking.

If it's everyone for theirselves, you won't be happy working from home.

Discussion (5)

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lordrahl90 profile image
Alugbin Abiodun Olutola

Are options still open at your startup or do you have anyone or anywhere you can recommend???

I also like the idea of working comfortably, and spending close to 4 hours in traffic everyday does not make you productive in any way.

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booligoosh profile image
Ethan

Listen to podcasts while driving, it is a very productive use for time like this. There are loads of awesome developer podcasts out there!

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kayis profile image
K Author

no, I do my own thing now

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

How "good" at being remote-friendly was your startup? Were there any hiccups despite good intentions?

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kayis profile image
K Author

Not very.

I found it nice that we used Slack and Teamviewer and everything.

But now I think those are tools for people who like the idea of remote work, but fear it when the actually do it.

If you can't work async, you aren't really remote :/