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Viktoria Bors-Pajuste
Viktoria Bors-Pajuste

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Navigating the Challenges of Remote Work as a Junior Developer

As a junior developer working remotely for a company headquartered in another country, I've been enjoying the flexibility and autonomy of working from home for the past 4 months. However, there are certain drawbacks to remote work that I've been experiencing.

  1. Difficulty in communication with colleagues
    As a junior developer, it's important for me to receive guidance from my colleagues. However, working from home makes it more challenging to communicate effectively, especially through chat. This can make it difficult to understand new tasks and can lead to delays in getting answers to my questions. Even when I do ask questions, I sometimes don't get the answers right away and this can cause frustration. I often find myself waiting for hours for a response which can be disheartening. It is important as a junior developer to have a clear understanding of the tasks given, but it seems that working remotely is making that a bit harder.

  2. Miscommunication
    Even when I do receive answers to my questions, I sometimes realize that my approach or assumptions about a task were incorrect. This can be frustrating, especially when I feel like my ideas aren't being taken into consideration. This is not only frustrating for me, but it can also lead to wasted time and effort. I understand that as a junior developer, I may not have all the answers, but I believe that my ideas and approach should be taken into account as well.

  3. Lack of social interaction
    Another big drawback of working from home is the lack of social interaction. I don't have anyone to talk to during breaks or have a coffee with, which can make work feel lonely and isolating. This is something that I did not expect to be a problem, but it is definitely something that I am feeling now that I have been working remotely for a few months. I am an introverted person and I enjoy working alone, but I never imagined how lonely it would be to work from home all day. I miss the social interaction that I had when I was working in an office, the small talk and the coffee breaks.

  4. Overworking
    Because I don't have the same social distractions as I would in an office, I find myself becoming absorbed in my work and losing track of time. I'm afraid this could lead to burnout if I don't take steps to change it. I am guilty of staying in front of my computer for hours, sometimes even forgetting to take a break, and this is not healthy for anyone. I have noticed that I have been working way harder and more than I should be, and I am afraid that this will lead to a burnout soon.

  5. Negative impact on mental and physical health
    The lack of breaks and overworking is also taking a toll on my mental and physical health. I'm experiencing back and leg pain, and I can't stop thinking about work even when I'm not on the clock. This is something that I never expected to happen, but it is happening, and it's not good. I have been neglecting my physical and mental health, and that is not something that I want to continue doing.

Working remotely has its advantages, but it also has its drawbacks. As a junior developer, I am still trying to navigate through this new way of working and it can be challenging at times.

I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to force myself to take breaks and work in a more relaxed way before I burn out.

Top comments (2)

dev5tev profile image

Hey Viktoria,

Know you feel.
I can help on some of those items above (but not others) as someone who has worked from home over 20 years (in non-IT roles).

It can be isolating and also if you are operating in an asynchronous way with others (mismatching timezones), or just a low contact environment, it can play havoc with you. You can burn yourself out, so you are right to be wary of it.

4. Overworking
Its easy to sink yourself too far into what you are working on without distractions.

Suggestion: Create some distractions as a pattern interrupt.

  • Timers and alarms work well.
  • Fitbit/Smart watch that vibrates is good too.
  • Chunk up your time using something like the Pomodora technique. 45mins on, 15mins off.
  • You can get Pomodora timers on your computer too.
  • The challenge will be if you start habitually ignoring or turning them off. If you start doing that, then change up the alarms. Even better put one in another room so you have to walk out of the room to shut it up.

5. Negative impact on mental and physical health
Yep, that can happen too. Anxiety, depression, isolation, seen it with a team I have worked with and managed fully remote as well.

Suggestion: Work Set Hours.

  • Make it clear to yourself of your start and finish times
  • Make sure others know about them.
  • Use app/website blockers to stop you from working after a certain period of time. And also from stopping your from starting too early.
  • Most extreme I knew was a guy that had a PC connected to a powerboard behind his desk on a timer, and his desk was bolted to the wall so he couldn't get behind it. At 6pm every night, it just cut the power. If he hadn't finished his work, well he had then 😁

Suggestion: Do physical stuff, get out of your head & away from keyboard.

  • Mini breaks to clean out the dishwasher, then later on to pack it. Or whatever around the house stuff is small and not a grind. i.e. Water plants.
  • Get out of the house if you don't need to be at the keyboard. I have designed things on paper in park benches, made calls going for walks.
  • Get a hobby/social/sporting commitment where you need to go somewhere after work. I am not a gym person, but walk frequently with a friend (guilt factor works in my favour).

Basically, your work structures have disappeared. You have to engineer your own structures to support you. It's not about personal discipline, it about your environment.

Hope this helps.

viktoriabors profile image
Viktoria Bors-Pajuste

Thank you for your detailed and helpful suggestions. I appreciate your experience working from home for over 20 years and understand the challenges that come with it. Your tips on creating distractions, setting work hours, and taking care of mental and physical health are valuable and I will definitely consider implementing them. I will use timers and alarms to break up my work time. I will also make sure to take mini breaks to do physical tasks and get out of the house, and find hobbies or social activities that will take me away from the keyboard after work. I agree that it's important to engineer your own structures to support yourself in a remote work environment, and I will work on doing that. Thank you for your support and advice.

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