What I've Learned Working Remotely

For years I've known about the concept of working remotely and had even managed people who worked remote in the early 2000's. I thought it was a great option, but not anything I would enjoy. I felt like I knew myself, I liked being in an office environment and the social aspect that comes with it. Turns out I was wrong. Five months ago, exactly, I accepted a new position working remote. It hasn't been near the obstacle to overcome as I thought it would be. Sure there are things I miss about being in the office, but there are some benefits as well.

What I've learned five months in:

  1. I was prepared for it because I have spent the better part of my career working with people not in the same building as me. Even when I worked in an office I spent as much time on the phone or in chats as I do now. Just because you are not in the office doesn't mean you can't feel like any other member of the team.
  2. Technology today is amazing. The tools allow you to interact with someone like they are in the same room and they will only continue to get better.
  3. Yes, I miss the ability to just stop by someones desk and have a quick conversation about a topic. However I have far fewer people just stopping by my desk. It really makes me more intentional about what I need to talk to people about and I believe I more efficient with my time working from home.
  4. I get ready for work and get dressed just like I used to. Feeling the separation from work and home is key. I get some people like working from home because they can just be on the couch in their sweats earning their paycheck. That is not me. I saw someone after work one day and they asked me if I typically dress like I was when I work from home. I said yes. Partly because those are the clothes I own, but those mental queues knowing I am at work are important.
  5. The commute is great. I never lived far from work, but I still save a half hour every day not having to be in a car. Only drawback was probably how annoyed my family got with my dad jokes about the commute and how bad traffic was on the way to the office.
  6. Working in IT there is always an element of working after hours. Projects or issues dictate times when you will have to put in extra time off hours. I really like being able to walk a few steps and being in my work environment and can quickly knock out an issue. The downside is it is very easy to just walk a few steps and be back in work mode and a quick 5 minute reply to an email can turn into checking my email and trying to answer a few small items when suddenly an hour later I'm still there. I'll keep working on finding that balance. 
The number one factor I discovered though, is you can work anywhere, adapt to any conditions if you really like the work you are doing and enjoy the people you work with. The job I am in is exactly the type of work I enjoy doing. The people are great to work with and the culture of the company matches my personal values. When you find that you will find ways to deal with the parts that aren't the greatest. No job is perfect, but if the important things are right then the little things don't bother you at all.


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