It has been one month since I started working fully remote, and I think I learned some things I can share.
I break the post down in good, bad and lessons learned:
There are plenty of good things I found out working fully remote. Being able of working full remote was one of the things that helped me deciding to accept the job, so, it is expected that I would like this more.
I magically have more time
This is the most important for me:
- I can have lunch with my wife every day;
- I can hit the gym either in the morning or in the end of the day - or both, why not;
- I can work on my personal stuff;
- I can study music, play videogames, etc;
- I don’t spend time in driving to work.
tl;dr: I have plenty of time!
Quality time with people that matter
I’m an introvert. I don’t enjoy being around a lot of people. I also don’t particularly enjoy talking with most people I know. It drains my energy.
Working remotely, I don’t have to do all that social awkwardness of “hi, good morning, how are you?” (we Brazilians do that way more than we should) and talk to people about whatever while having coffee and all that.
Since I don’t expend energy on that, I now have energy to chat more with my wife and friends.
I will have lunch with friends that are not from work and talk about other things than work.
I can disconnect for a while. That’s great!
I can work from whenever I want
I’m usually working from home, but I could work from whenever I want given that I have internet access. And that’s great!
I was able to think in one thing onle:
It’s hard to “stop working”
A little of that can be because I’m work in the operations team, so, if anything goes wrong, it doesn’t matter that much what time it is.
The timezones also don’t help much. I start working 4 hours earlier than part of the team - and consequently stop working 4 hours earlier as well.
If I don’t close slack, people will ping me after I already stopped working.
That may require some cultural change from me and from the rest of the team, but so far it has been manageable.
But either way, I rarely stop working in the time I should. I’m trying to force myself out by creating appointments for those times, e.g., go to the gym and etc. I think I’ll be able to pull that off, but for now, this has been the hardest part.
This I already posted on twitter, but anyway…
Don’t forget your friends
It’s always nice to chat with my friends and go with them to places to have drinks and etc.
In fact, just did that last week:
I think we all need a beer with friends sometimes. 😬
A good chair is key
Sitting in a bad chair the entire day isn’t good. It took me 2 days to go full mad and go out buy a better one.
I didn’t get anything gamer-style or that kind of thing, just a reasonable good office chair.
External monitor is good
I sometimes work on the laptop only for half a day or so, that’s probably ok.
Working like that everyday the entire day would not be good. I’m almost 2 meters tall, so I will be the entire day looking down, which will give back pain.
So I got an external monitor and mouse + keyboard.
It’s not the mouse and keyboard I wanted, but I’ll get those soon anyway.
Video conference apps never work well
It can be the internet connection of anyone, can be the computer of anyone, can be the app itself… I don’t know. What I know is that the more people participating in the same meeting, the greater the chance of it not working.
I eventually need to ask people later on slack to be sure if I really understood the audio durign the cracks or whatever.
Brazil’s bureaucracy is worse than I anticipated
Yeah, it was way worse.
My plan was:
- open a single-man company to receive the money;
- do a business health care plan for me and my wife;
- pay my taxes normally and just work.
From the start, opening the company was a pain. It took 1.5 month to get it into working state. I spent ~1.5k BRL to open it. The bureoucracy, it’s nonsense. I won’t even start.
The health care part was the worst. In Brazil, there is some stupid law in which a company must have 6 months to be able to get business health care.
This is one of the most stupid laws I ever seen. If I open a company and hire some employees in less than 6 months, they can’t have health care? WTF.
Also, of course, the regular health care is more expensive.
Pay the taxes is kind of easy, but I will have to go to the bank every month because for some stupid reason if I transfer the profits of my company from my company’s bank account to mine, it’s wrong. If I withdraw and deposit, it’s ok.
Oh, and about the taxes, it’s a lot of them, federal taxes, state taxes, city taxes, etc…
This topic could have a blog post of its own, but it’s probably not interesting for people outside Brazil, so I might as well do it in Portuguese.
So far so good!
Opening the company was painful, but that’s a one-time thing, so, less bad.
I’m not a people person, as people who know me already know, so working remotely for me is kind of easy. I can’t speak for you though. I tried that out by working some days remote first and seeing how it goes, maybe that’s a good trick.
Do you work remote? What are your lessons learned?