I've been doing at least part of my job remotely since 2004. In 2011, I started working 100% remote and moved 750 miles away from my employer to Kansas City in the middle of 2012. Throughout the years I've faced several challenges to remote working. Thankfully I have also seen great tools developed to solve many of those challenges.
The biggest challenge through the years has been communication. Email was originally the go-to method of providing and obtaining the information needed to do the job. It was reliable and easy to attach documents to, but was relatively slow and for some reason, properly using "Reply All" is not something that can be taught. Either you get it or you don't. I then started using Google Hangouts, but have finally landed on Slack. Slack allows separation of topics and, probably most importantly, the ability to tune my notifications so I'm only interrupted when I want to be.
Connectivity has also gotten exponentially better as the years have passed. It used to be that a few megabits of connectivity at home and far less than that was the best I could do using cell providers. I've had gigabit connections now in my home for about 2 years and LTE cell coverage provides great speeds nearly everywhere - even when you're on a trip, get stranded by the side of the road, and have to take an unexpected emergency call! (See photographic evidence above...)
Relating with coworkers is another thing that is difficult to do when you can't see or talk to them on a regular basis. At the job I had prior to Code Koalas, every one of us was remote. On the rare times that we got together, that time was usually limited to a long lunch or a Christmas party. When I started at Code Koalas, I was working a few days a week in the office and working remotely for the remainder. I've since moved to a different state, and those few days spent in the office turned out to be paramount to my success. I built real relationships with my coworkers that I can use when communicating on Slack or on the phone with them. I'm fortunate enough to come back to Kansas City and work for a week in the office quarterly. I never thought I'd look forward to that time as much as I do. It's great to meet new hires, rekindle friendships and just remind people that you really are more than a robot on the other end of a Slack conversation.
Innovations and improvements in connectivity and communication have made remote work far easier than it was in 2004. Being outside of the office enables me to get more work done and easily isolate myself when needed. While I definitely like being around my coworkers, I would have a really hard time ever giving up the ability to work remotely at least a few days a week.
Want to talk about how we can work together?
Ryan can help