Andy Van Slaars

Andy Van Slaars

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On remote work

I’ve spent half of my career in tech working from home and wanted to capture some of the stuff that has worked for me and some of the stuff that has been a challenge. Tips, tricks, insights, whatever.

I find that a schedule helps. It’s easy to fall into bad patterns if you’re not careful, so I like I get up in the morning, shower, get some coffee, and aim to be at my desk by 8:30am

I start work dressed like I would dress to leave the house. I wear casual clothing, but I am not wearing a robe, or sweatpants all day.

I am not great about lunch breaks, this is something I need to work on but I do stop work at the end of the day as a general rule. I leave my desk and close the office door between 5:00 and 5:30. That’s not to say I never spend outside work time in my office, I do, but it’s usually limited to working on my own stuff, like egghead courses, writing, or rebuilding my blog over and over again 😅.

On the rare occasions that I get stuck in rush hour traffic, I’m reminded of the hours I would spend just sitting in my car on either end of the work day. It’s a nice reminder that I’d much rather not have a commute. That being said, I do occasionally miss the decompression time I used to get between work and home. I would listen to podcasts, audio books, or just crank some music and zone out before going into family mode. Now, I close the office door at 5:00 and I’m home. No decompression time, just right into family time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far better than the alternative, but it’s one of those things that takes some getting used to if you’re shifting from office work and a commute to full time remote work.

For me, one of the keys of successfully working remotely is making sure the team has a remote first mindset. This is a given when an entire team/company is remote, but can be a challenge when not all team members are. For companies with office based team members, I’ve found that companies with multiple office locations do this better than companies with a single location. The office-bound workers in the single location tend to have more conversations outside of scheduled meetings and aren’t always great about making sure decisions are communicated to the rest of the team. There is a level of assumed understanding that might work in cases where everybody is collocated, but from my experience working in the office with everybody, those assumptions fail people just as often when everybody is sharing a roof. All this is to say that when you have a mix of collocated and remote folks, effort has to be put into ensuring that the entire team is included in important conversations and decisions.