Working Remote is Awesome

This March I began a new job at SkyKick. SkyKick is a world-class startup and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of their team, and that's in no small part due to that they've trusted me to work remotely from my house in metro Detroit.

At SkyKick, I spent my first two weeks at the office in Seattle, to make onboarding go smoothly. Then I flew back home to DTW with my new work laptop in hand.

Working remote took some getting used to. I was uncomfortable without having anywhere to go on my first remote day so I took a picture of my desk with a "thumbs-up" in front of my phone and posted it to Slack.

Three months in, I'm emphatically happy with this working arrangement.

I believe that as it becomes more 'normal' to work from wherever, the stigma around it will fade away.

The rest of this post details some of my remote experience so far.

Be intentional about talking to people.

Just like back in the days of Barrens chat, my communications are now entirely through typed text, some colorful avatars, and occasional voice chat.

That means if you want to talk to someone, you gotta talk to them! You can't idly hang out in the kitchen drinking coffee hoping that the person you wanted to speak with strolls by, just so you don't have to feel like you're bothering them at their desk.

Send messages! Ask people how they are! Schedule 1-on-1s! Put the onus of "Can't talk right now, I'm busy" on the other person - you have no idea how busy they are because you can't look over their shoulder.

Distractions

I live with my wife and three children. my school-age kids are home for the summer. The house is a bit chaotic day-to-day, and programming is a job where you frequently need to quietly focus on something.

Fortunately I'm not the first to encounter this issue, and strategies for handling work-at-home have been well discussed.

The most important to me has been the headset headphones. I bought a (used) Steelseries Arctis Pro with GameDAC and I couldn't be happier with the purchase.

Writing skills

Most of my working communication is now written. I think it's just as important for a software engineer working remote to practice writing along with programming.

My favorite book on the subject of writing is On Writing Well By William Zinsser. It's a great book both for technical advice and inspiration to write well. I'm not setting out to be a writer by trade, but I came out with a greater respect for the craft after reading this book.

Links talking about Remote Work

People are talking lots about remote work. Here's a list of links I collected over the last few months:

Jessica Stevens @ Fast Company: Why Remote Work Isn't Going Away Anytime soon

Sarah Sunday @ 8thlight: Remote Team Workflows

Quuu: Remote working – Bringing Sanity to Mind & Lessons Worth Learning

Upside.fm: The “Future of Work” is Here… So Why Aren’t More Companies Remote-first?

This blog is a nice love letter from a guy working successfully in a co-working space: Chris Salzman: On Workantile's 10th Birthday

Julia Evans has written several posts on the subject of working Remotely for Stripe: