Working Remote... Sometimes

I have the freedom to work remote, sometimes, and I really appreciate it. Over the past several years there has been a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of working remotely. There have been books written about it. There have been many discussions amongst managers and other higher ups about whether it will help or hurt productivity. I am going to just give my thoughts about working remote and why I appreciate being able to do it when needed.

I love to work. I love programming, interacting with my team, and delivering great software. Even though I love all these things, at the end of the day the reason I work is to make sure my home/personal life is as enjoyable as possible using the benefits from my job. That is the primary reason that I work. I understand this isn’t everyone’s motive for working, but it is mine.

Because of this reason anything that can help tip the scales towards the “life” side of work/life balance is greatly appreciated. Being able to work from home when needed has allowed me to be there for my wife and family at no cost to my employers. I more than fulfill my duties when I work from home, possibly because I feel like I have something to prove when working remotely.

When I work remote I feel like more of a “family man” and I enjoy that. I am available to change a diaper, burp a baby, or help pack the car for a trip for my wife and kids. Doing these sorts of things may sound like things that you shouldn’t do while you are “working”, but what I am not not doing is walking to Starbucks to get a coffee and playing video games with my co-workers like I do when I am in the office. I am not spending less time working, but I am spending time that I normally use to “blow off steam” at the office, with my family instead. This is valuable to me. Many times when working remote I actually spend more time working because the time I normally dedicate to a commute I now spend hacking away at some code.

There are downsides to working remote. I miss the time that I get with my co-workers and I think that having in person time with people is very valuable. It is difficult to get that time remotely, but it is not impossible. Having the strong relationships with others, which is easier to build in person, allows for better overall work performance. I also think that being able to overhear conversations that one would not hear remotely is valuable. I have witnessed many problems being solved by people who were not originally in a conversation overhearing something and adding value towards solving the problem.

I love being able to be at home for lunch with my family, being able to be at the house for the 8 hour window the cable company gives me, and getting interrupted less to get more focus work done when I am remote. I also value being in an office. I feel that a hybrid in office/remote scenario is a great option. 100% in either direction can work for sure but for me, being able to work from any location, including in office, is invaluable.