I’ve been working remotely for the past three years and I found that people’s immediate reaction is, “lucky you”. Yes, working remotely is nice for an array of reasons but it also comes with some drawbacks.
I initially didn’t think I would love working from home as much as I do because I was so used to working in an office setting. When I was hired I thought I would come into our physical office location a few times a week to work instead of working from home Monday thru Friday. This quickly changed as I got used to not having to commute, wearing my pajamas during working hours, and starting my mornings later. It’s so freeing to work in your pajamas opposed to wearing constricting work apparel. I’m able to wake up later since I don’t have to get dolled up to go into the office—and let me just say, those extra hours of sleep are a game changer! Over are the days of two hour commutes to the office fighting traffic and erratic drivers. Now I get to start my mornings later and with less stress!
Although I love working remotely I found a few drawbacks over the years. Since I don’t physically see my coworkers on a daily basis I have found that I need to over-communicate with my team. Simple messages like “thank you” and “working on it” go a long way. Over-communicating allows my department to make sure everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises. With that you have to be mindful of your tone when communicating via email. Taking time to re-read and potentially rephrase emails assures that no one feels attacked. As Marketing Assistant I find myself proofing dozens of emails a week. When forming a response I try to add a compliment before diving into my list of edits. Doing so softens the blow to the person who is receiving the email. But after you build a good relationship with your co-workers, it won’t be necessary to put your edits into a “nice sandwich” for them.
Since working from home, I find that I rarely leave the house during the week and it often becomes lonely. To counteract this I go to the gym and take my dog on long walks through the neighborhood. My company also encourages us to attend local meetups, conferences, and speaking engagements. TechWell conferences is a great opportunity to reconnect with my co-workers and software community.
You may feel disconnected to your team when working remotely but a good way to negate this is having daily or weekly stand-ups. This allows you to communicate with your team the items you are working on and blockers you may have. Utilizing your camera during meetings can also assist your team to feel closer. Although it may be awkward at first, this ensures everyone is paying attention and are engaged during the meeting. Plus, you feel like you really “met” with them. Communicating daily on Slack also helps me feel connected with my co-workers. My company has several non-work related channels that allow us to share personal interests and grow camaraderie.
Overall, I have found working remotely to be amazing and couldn’t imagine working in an office setting again. If you want a change of pace, more freedom, and less stress then working from home may be the answer!