My Rules for Remote Work

So I actuallly had a really hard time working remotely for the first few months, typically working long hours for little billable work. Eventually my wife and I realized that it wasn’t sustainable and we had to come up with a better strategy for handling the work life balance. What follows is the product of trying many different things, to separate the messiness of having my job and my office exist in the same physical location.

There’s a bunch of little things I could add to this list, but for me these are the major ones I have to get right or the whole thing falls apart

  1. Communicate early and often You are so easily forgotten when remote, whether it’s on purpose or accident. Send lots of emails and slack messages throughout the day, even if they totally aren’t necessary. Most people’s thought of remote is “when I’m sick or lazy, I just say I’m working from home and take a day off”, by over-communicating you make them realize your situation is different
  2. Set clear start and stop times When it’s your start time, sit down and open your laptop. When it’s your stop time, close your laptop and walk away. Every time. It’s too easy for work time to slowly bleed into life time, then you end up working 12 hour days with only 4 hours of output to show for it
  3. Have a place to ‘focus’ Everyone has different boundaries when it comes to normal work, but make sure you have an area that everyone understands you aren’t to be bothered unless the house is burning down. Doesn’t mean you don’t work where ever is comfy, just have a place you instinctually go that tells yourself and others “stuff just got real, I have to be heads down for a bit”
  4. Make office visits fun When you are in the office all the time, any small disagreements or hurt feelings can be settled over time. When you are remote, resentment harbors unchecked until your next visit. Do everything you can to make it a fun experience whenever you come to town. I like to get coffee/ice cream/etc, but it can be anything. You want people to look forward to the next time you are in office
  5. Never speak poorly about being remote To most people, working remote seems like a huge perk (and it is). If you bad mouth it, it harbors resentment kind of like a rich person complaining about their Ferarri. Even something like “man it’s hard to focus with my dog/spouse/kids/etc” said offhand can paint people’s thoughts of your situation