The impact of working from home on developers
Working remotely is becoming an option for more people than ever, especially for developers. No office space, no daily commute, no set schedule. However, will you be able to connect with your co-workers and do you have the necessary self-discipline? This article goes over some of the pros and cons of working from home, as well as some personality types that excel at the job.
The phenomenon of remote work is hardly something new at this point. While it may seem recent in the grand scale of things, most people today have had at least some experience with it.
And it only promises to become more prominent in the future, judging by current estimates. For example, GoRemotely’s research shows us that the number of people working remotely increased by 7% between 2012 and 2016, and there’s little to stop that growth well into the upcoming years.
Working as a developer has hardly been an exception to this trend. But how does remote work impact the average developer? What does it take to flourish in that kind of work, and what are its upsides and downsides?
What remote working means for developers
In essence, working as a developer remotely means that you needn’t go to an office space to do your job. Instead, you have full freedom to choose from where you work on your projects. You can do it from home; you can do it from a shared office; you can do it from a café that you like – it’s up to you.
When it comes to when you are supposed to work, it will depend on the employer’s preference. You’ll often have no restrictions. Others might have you using some sort of tracking software, so that they can make sure you’re punching in and out at the time they want you to.
It’s a simple concept on paper, but actually doing it might not suit every developer equally well. So what kinds of people have the highest chances of thriving in remote work situations?
Qualities that you need when working from home
There are a few traits that guarantee a higher chance of success in remote work. In no particular order of importance, these are:
- Initiative – Some people don’t exactly enjoy being under the supervision of their superiors. The kind of person that has the initiative needed to start and come through with projects on their own will fare much better.
- Discipline – Starting something is great and all, but you have to finish it too. And that’s something you might find difficult in a non-working environment filled with wonderful distractions. The willpower to resist these and keep your eyes on the ball is key in remote work.
- Have a designated working area – If you want to be effective while working remotely, you’ll need a place that’s especially meant for work. It’s a simple matter of mental conditioning – when you’re there, you know you should be working and not procrastinating.
- Communicative – It might not sound intuitive, but being a talkative person goes a long way toward a comfortable remote career. A lot of companies that focus on a remote workforce prefer chattier employees. This is because they have an easier time bonding with colleagues despite physical obstacles (i.e., not working in the same room together)
Benefits of working from home
The perks that come with working remotely are quite considerable. Here are the main ones:
- You don’t have to commute. That saves you tons of time and stress.
- There’s no need for a dress code. Feel free to wear whatever you want (if you aren’t in public, that is).
- You’re in control of your own work pace. If there’s only a deadline to worry about, you can arrange your time as you see fit.
- Other activities become easier to fit into your schedule. Feel like going out when the weather is nice? Just get your work done in the evening.
- You can drastically reduce the number of distractions. If you know how to create an optimal working atmosphere for you, you’ll quickly see your productivity go through the roof.
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it? Well, before you start singing endless praises about remote work, maybe you should first read the next segment.
Pitfalls when working from home
As it turns out, remote work isn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies. Some flaws in the idea make it less than desirable for some people:
- It can be difficult to separate work from downtime.
- Creating a genuine bond with other team members is harder.
- Feelings of isolation and loneliness are a real risk.
- Poor time management can lead to crunch-like working hours.
Maintaining a work/life balance
So how do you balance the good and bad parts of remote work without losing your sanity? One of the most important things to maintain is a solid work ethic.
Set aside a certain amount of time for work and stick to it – it doesn’t matter when or how much, as long as it’s enough. Doing your work “whenever” will inevitably turn your social life into a disjointed mess.
It’s also crucial to have a space where you can commit to your projects. Some are at their best when working at home, others might seek out a place outside for improved productivity. Working at new environments from time to time also serves to keep things fresh for you.
But it isn’t all about work. Perhaps the most vital thing you can do as a remote worker is to reap the benefits of your position – freedom. You can travel, you can take up that hobby you’ve always wanted, you can work out – whatever it is, you’ll have much more time for it.
Working remotely is becoming an option for more people than ever. Whether or not it suits you personally, however, is something that only you can tell for sure.
While it does benefit the employee in terms of free time and more comfort, it also comes with its own baggage. Not everyone can cope with the feeling of working on a project alone or with the responsibility of clearly defining when it’s time to work and when it isn’t.
If you’re the kind of person to whom remote work appeals, then you’ll welcome it with open arms.