How I see remote working

Posted by Antonio Jesús on October 31, 2017

I'm currently looking for a remote job and from time to time I found an interesting company/project which I'm not sure if they are open to remote or not. In order to explain myself how my vision of remote working is or how it would be perfect for me, I'll write this as sometimes I struggle myself trying to explain it in a few lines in an email or cover letter. I hope this would help me with that.

There are tons of resources about the benefits of remote working so this post won't be about that, but if you haven't done it yet, I would recommend you to read this book: Remote

How much time I want to work from home?

I wrote on these emails something like "I don't want 100% but a 70% remote time". So what do I want to do in the remaining 30%? This time includes how we meet each other. If I'm going to join a new team, I would like to meet them and to know how they think or their personality which I think is important for later so this person isn't just a digital face in your video conference tool. Being there, if they own an office, will help me to understand the product and codebase, their vision and to clarify expectations. This can last a month or even more if necessary.

It's important to me to keep in contact with the rest of your team or the people you talk daily so being all together one week every 3 months sounds good to me. Some companies organize these all together trips which help with that too. Maybe there is an important release that week or something like that. A hackathon is perfect too. For me, it's important that you have someone, let's say your team lead, that once per month organize a video call with you just to see how things are going.

How do you treat a remote developer?

Don't treat a remote developer as a lone wolf, who is in charge of the projects nobody wants. If your company is going to open a position within a team, then the whole team should work as if they were all remoters even if they work at the office. You can even start allowing them to have some days per week working from home, I'm pretty sure they will appreciate it. But more important is that every decision/discussion is done via video call and your remote worker isn't just someone who hears the last bits of what was decided.

Some companies, to not say most of them, just want remote workers to save money. That's not the way. If you just want cheap developers, you'll have the quality that you pay for. I'm not saying that you should pay the Silicon Valley salary to someone in Spain, some companies offer a competitive salary based in your location and cost of living.

Now that you have some remote workers, spend that money on them on having a good and comfortable equipment at home and on having some in person meetings from time to time. Spending that money on beers, toys at the office or team events for people who usually see each other everyday doesn't worth as much as you think.

If your company is thinking about going remote, one way to start is to allow it to a developer that wants to stay at your company but for any reason can't live where you have the office. Losing years of knowledge, someone who already knows the team and the money you will spend on hiring/training a newcomer is a terrible mistake.