February 08, 2021

Notes on remote work

I was recently surveyed by my workplace on my perception of working remotely since the state of California implemented a stay-at-home order and our office began working full-time from home.

I thought deeply about my responses to the survey, and wanted to shared them publicly:

Please list a few positive things about working remotely.

  • Commuting time is freed up to be more physically healthy, e.g. exercising instead of sitting in a carseat. In my case that is 2 hours a day (1 hour each way) so I’ve taken up running and have lost 20 pounds of bodyweight.
  • Employees have adopted more permanent and public forms of communication in order to document decision-making (e.g. more Google Docs which is great)–this has huge benefits for the scalability of employees and the business, I hope it only increases

Please list a few challenges you encounter working remotely.

  • Number 1: it is trickier to put psychological boundaries around my working hours. There is no clear physical context switch before or after working hours–the side effect of this is that I’m left more fatigued by work concerns than when working in the office, which is a drag on my productivity and mental health.
  • Higher likelihood of miscommunication due to text & video-conferencing being less reliable media than in-person.
  • Harder to communicate and signal emotional state
  • I sense that people are more likely to avoid tough conversations, for fear of miscommunicating
  • I believe that I’ve met fewer coworkers & developed shallower relationships with them than I would have in person

What do you currently miss most about working in the office?

  • Face time with my manager or other leaders
  • Collaborating face-to-face with my coworkers
  • Meeting new people

Briefly explain how and why your productivity has been affected.

I witness fewer & less context-rich instances of what the business values in working remote.

Knowing what the business, management, and customers’ value is harder to discern remotely.

Are there any tools that you feel are missing at <employer>? Please be specific and list their names.

Assistance with home internet connectivity–if I don’t have internet-connectivity I cannot do my job.

If you want people working from home, help them (and pay for) setting up a reliable home internet.

The WFH bus