Working remotely for almost over 2 years now, I just want to share my experience in this article for people with or without children who are wondering whether to work from home or from the office.
Benefits of the home office
You don’t spend all of your time in front of the monitor
I guess we all know that. When you are in the office, you are obliged to stay there and when you have been at your place for very long, you probably don’t have that initial pressure on you and you can do your tasks easily with the knowledge about the project that you already gathered. This means you have more free time so you can write a blog post or even go out for a short walk just to clear your mind.
You can visit new places
I would say that is the best part of it. I have moved to work from different places several times and it is great. You can see different cities while working from the cafe or from the park. We often go to my wife’s place at the sea and this works really well as I am not limited to the place I work from.
We also bought a camper and now we are really free to go anywhere before the kids start to go to school. And it is really nice to work out from a place in the nature.
Spend more time with your kids
Some people would argue if this is good or bad. But if you have a baby, then you can easily help your wife with the things around the newborn.
Doing side projects
I personally don’t have time to do it but a lot of my colleagues do it. They decide that they won’t spend the free time that they have outside but instead working on another projects.
Having your own company
You get to know the laws of your country more and how they will apply to you in this new adventure. Now you realize that you are a boss of your own and it gives you motivation to continue like that, to develop and grow. And it is all up to you.
You start to be more self motivated
You have to be more self motivated. Or you will be back to the office in few months. Remote work is all about motivation – to learn more things, to be more focused, to prioritize stuff based on their value. Now it is a bit harder to learn new stuff as you lack the communication with your colleagues, that’s why you may need to read more articles and do more side projects. Same is with the prioritization. Doing the dishes will have to wait until you get that screen done.
Negatives regarding home office
You can get easily distracted
Well, you are at home. Why not chill for a bit, watch the news for 20 mins and get back to work? And then suddenly those 20 mins turn out to be 2 hours in which you have watched TV, had a quick snack, a coffee, a call to a friend or two and suddenly the clock is your enemy now.
Discussions online lack the proactivity
The problem is that you have a question regarding some business rule in your program. You ask it in the channel. No answer for hours. Then you realize you are alone.
This has happened quite often for me. People are just not watching channels or groups or messages. They may be away or they probably don’t care helping you. This is where online communication tools suck a bit. If you were in the office, you would go to your colleague, pinch him and ask him about few stuff. And you would learn a new thing in matter of minutes. Remotely – well, the story is a bit different.
Working after dedicated work hours
It happens and I would say that it happens really often. You don’t manage to get everything done in time or there is this nasty bug which takes you hours of debugging and then you end up spending your whole evening fixing stuff. And yeah, your wife isn’t really happy and the kids are not too. So better try to keep the schedule tight and don’t spend your time doing useless stuff when you have work to do.
Jumping to the fridge becomes a regular task
Weight regulation becomes a nasty task. Staying at home prevents you from walking to the office or going out for a walk with you colleagues. You have to have physical activity as part of your daily schedule now and not as part of your work life routine. And if you don’t do it – going to the fridge becomes a really hard to control task.
Having children at home can become craziness
If you are a parent – you already now this. Staying at home with 1 kid (or worse – 2) during the COVID pandemic is a nightmare especially if you are a man. Without even controlling yourself, you can end up in situations of trying to relax the baby or the kid, helping out by making a lunch for the kids or something else. This isn’t necessarily bad but if you are a person who needs some time to focus on your work in front of the PC – then you better have a separate room for that.
Small children want attention, they don’t understand that you are doing work in front of your laptop. I very often end up with the 5 year old standing next to me watching in the monitor while I am coding something. It is not bad but it gets you out of your focus. The positive of this is that you are helping your wife/girlfriend with the daily routine but it is also good from time to time to not see each other for a bit 😀
So a thing to keep in mind is – if you have kids and they cannot attend kindergarten, take a look for the nearest coworking space. It is always useful.
It is hard to find a remote job
Once you get used to it and you like it (I don’t expect that everyone will like it) it is really hard to give it up. I have attended several job interviews and the thought of going back to the office really draws me back. And the problem is that finding remote work is really hard right now, especially during these COVID-19 times. It is a bit of a narcotic I would say, get used to it and then you cannot just go back.
And I would really prefer to see my baby’s face more often than the faces of some colleagues. I sometimes stop and think what it would be to be at the office while my daughter would be at home and I really don’t enjoy the idea. I wouldn’t be a more active part in her life, even taking her outside for a 15-20 mins walk feels more satisfactory than spending 20 mins playing table football with colleagues. Isn’t life about that? Trying to reduce the time spent at work by introducing automation and invest this time into a meaningful relationship with your family and friends.