Scott W. Bradley

in which scottwb thinks out loud

Fork me on GitHub

The Joys of Working From Home

| Comments

I work in a team that is distributed around the country, where everyone works from their home offices. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not for everyone. First, you have to be seriously self-motivated. Personally, I get more done at home than I ever have at an office, because I get to choose when to be distracted and I’m good at staying focused. For some people, choosing when to be distracted is a curse. They choose to be distracted all the time. Facebook, twitter, bathroom, kitchen, twitter, kids, etc.

Still, some of those home distractions can plague even the most focused of us. One of the keys I’ve found to succesfully working from home is to have a dedicated work space. I am lucky enough to have an extra room to use as an office, and the family knows that when I’m in there, “Daddy’s at work”.

But sometimes that’s not enough…

Get Out

Even when the house is empty, no co-workers are interrupting you, and you have a clear path ahead of you, the familiarity of the home office can be a distraction in itself. Who’s that driving down my street? I should really fix that door. I wonder if there’s anything in the fridge. What time are the wife and kids coming home?

In times like these, I like to just get out and go work from somewhere else.

Everyone has wifi. Go to a coffee shop. Go to a pub. Go to the beach (hurray for MiFi!). Even though there is more noise and more movement, I find that sometimes just varying my surroundings can actually help me to focus. I block out the unfamiliar sounds. I expect the noise so I don’t key in on every little movement. I’ve done some of my best out-of-the-box thinking in these kinds of environemnts.

This actually turns into a great perk of the distrbuted team environment. I can go work from the coffee-shop-with-a-view and it makes no difference to my co-workers. I’m still on Skype and email. I’m still checking in code and answering questions.

Far Far Away

So, if I can work from a coffee shop overlooking Lake Washington…what’s the difference if I make it Lake Chelan? Or Miami Beach for that matter?

In July, I worked for 4 days from a remote part of the Olympic Peninsula. In March, to get away from the terrible Seattle weather, I worked for almost a month from South Florida. Add to that the fact that my team likes to travel to get together, and “work from home” actually becomes “work from everywhere”.

I rather enjoy that lifestyle. The bulk of my time I’m cranking away in my home office where I am extremely productive. But every now and then, at just the right intervals, I go somewhere else to mix it up. I’ve even started collecting photos of all these places. It makes for a fun reminder of one of the reasons why I like this job and working in a distributed team.

Join Me, Won’t You?

And now for the shameless plug. My team at Validas is ready to grow. The beauty of this is that we can recruit from anywhere - no moving expenses. Just a generous budget to deck out your home/mobile setup with the latest tech goodies, paid internet and mobile communications, and away we go.

So, if you’re a seasoned architect/engineer, who fits our job description and wants to thrive in this work/life style, send us your résumé today. We’d love to talk to you!