How did you initially respond to working remotely?
When I found out that we could work remotely, I was really happy. It meant that I could not only work from home, but from Spain as well. I like to head back often to visit my family, but this can be tricky at the weekend. Now I can travel and work, meaning I can stay in Spain longer, which has made my life a lot easier.
I didn’t have any concerns about remote working, apart from us getting together as a team. Sometimes, towards the beginning, I would come to the office and be the only one there, as others were working remotely. Now, we are finding ways for people to get together and stay in touch. The communication is more efficient, which demands that you are more reliable. If there is a meeting, we have to agree the time and make sure that we attend.
How has working from home benefitted you?
Since I started working from home, I’ve been ill less often. I cycle to work, as it’s the quickest and cheapest option, and public transport will often make me late. In previous years I cycled to work in the winter through snow, but now, working from home, I find that I am resting my body more. Our old office was also very cold, and I always needed a heater near me. I think that because I come from Spain, it is difficult to get used to the British weather.
In terms of my financial situation, remote working has made travelling back to Spain much more accessible. Before, I could only go back at the weekend and the flights were costly, especially as it is in Barcelona, which is very popular. Now I can travel in the week, which is much cheaper.
What did you find challenging, and how did you overcome those challenges?
The biggest challenge when working from home has been in my personal life, as I share a small apartment with my partner. She sometimes works from home too, but her schedule is far more changeable. Sometimes, she will want to take lunch, but I am too focused on work, so won’t take mine until later in the afternoon. However, our different schedules also mean we get to see each other more.
I still feel I need to work on separating my personal life from my work life. When you work remotely, it’s easy to forget to switch off. There’s no office to leave, so some days, if I’m struggling with something, I’ll find myself working until midnight. I’ll then go to bed, and after having had a rest, find the solution early the next day. My top tip for anyone looking to work out-of-office is that it’s essential to be more efficient with your time, and separate your work and personal life.
What tools do you use to aid remote working?
I am using the same tools that we were already using, such as Microsoft Teams and email. I also push to have more documentation on our intranet. I could be working on something today and then forget how I have done it; this is the same for everyone in the team. Now we’re all working remotely, the SMLWRLD intranet has been invaluable when making sure everything is well documented. Teams is great for communication, but I find the intranet better for finding information. I am also making use of push planner to organise my schedule and be more efficient with where information is located.
What advice would you give other remote workers?
Remote working is a personal experience in terms of how you manage your workload, and as a developer I am used to working by myself. Even though I will be collaborating with other developers, we are all doing our own work. I think that it is important to pay more attention to the tools that we have, such as emails and planning tools. Personally, I have also found it useful to update my status regarding when I am working on Microsoft Teams, so that all my colleagues are aware.