I have been a remote employee for almost 3 years. I am fortunate in that my employer supported me needing to move away from the city the headquarters is in for family reasons (wife got a better job elsewhere). That said, I don't have experience onboarding with a new company as a remote employee.
I currently live on the West Coast and work for a company on the East Coast. My day starts around 5:15 AM, and I'm at my desk by 6 AM. I work 6-2 to stay on the East Coast team's 9-5 schedule. It's actually really nice getting done with my work day that early. The grocery store and gym are less crowded, which makes those experiences much better IMO; and I have enough time to comfortably spend a couple hours after work contributing to open source projects.
I immediately noticed that my productivity increased when I started working from home. I don't get distracted that easily, but I can see how people could drift away from their desk and get distracted with something at home.
Communication with the team consists of instant messenger and video calls. This was a bit of a culture change in the beginning as it took a while for everyone to become comfortable talking through a webcam. With screen sharing capabilities, however, collaborating is almost just as good as having a brainstorming session in your coworker's cubical. Also, with modern software tools (GitLab, GitHub, JIRA, Confluence, Slack, etc.), the dynamic of doing code reviews or posting issues doesn't change.
The big downside for me has been the separation of work and home. I find myself wandering into my office after dinner to "just polish some code." Next thing I know it's midnight. Doing this probably won't go over well if you are living with your significant other.
If you have the option to work remotely, I highly recommend it. My two tips would be 1) to wake up in the morning with the mentality that you are "going to work" (shower, dress yourself, eat breakfast away from your workspace) and 2) make sure you leave your home for some part of the day (go for a long walk after work, go to the gym, meet up with friends, etc.). I'm embarrassed to say it, but, in the winter months, I've definitely not left my house for 3 days before.
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