Working Remotely — Reality Check

I recently started a new position, working remotely 100% for the DXtera Institute, a non-profit startup. While this position offers me a great opportunity to learn (a ton of) new things and tackle new challenges, I was also very interested in the work-remote aspect. Before I took the position, I had been reading up about the challenges and benefits of remote work, and I wasn’t quite sure how I would manage not being in an office. As many have said in other blogs and articles, at first glance it seems wonderful, but the reality can be different, especially in the long-term. Here is what I’ve noticed in the first month:

  • Project management with a remote team is difficult — I have the utmost respect for our PMs. It’s difficult to have team meetings without a whiteboard, and when some folks connect via phone or can’t see a screenshare, not everyone is on the same page. Plus, Internet connections still drop sometimes.
  • I’ve been working on campus, and it’s nice to at least see other people. I may start working from home more frequently, but I’m not sure if I will feel too isolated. I do see my manager face-to-face once a week, which is great.
  • It’s nice to have an office where you can drop off your stuff, lunch, etc. It’s weird having to pack up all of my “office stuff” when I just need to use the bathroom.
  • Similarly, the ergonomics on laptops are horrible, especially with standard desk and chair heights. Computer-specific office setups are much better. I’ve been using a portable laptop stand / mouse / keyboard, which are amazing.
  • I do feel more productive and in control of my time, though it’s still too early for me to tell how much my “productivity” helps the bottom line.

I’m curious to see how working remotely feels as I do it for a longer period of time. Right now just enjoying it while ramping up on Java and other new technologies!