Remote Working - Get out of the house!

Last year I moved to Germany and was lucky enough to continue working here at OnePageCRM.

It was my first time working remotely, I learned a lot from this experience and would like to share some of the important points that I discovered about productivity and what it is like to work away from the office.

I’ll break this post up into a few smaller ones and try to hit on a different point each time, so as to keep it short and interesting.

When I first started working from Germany I thought it would be great to work from home, I would have no commute, I could get those extra few minutes in bed, I wouldn’t have to spend anything eating out for lunch, as soon as work was over I would already be home and ready to take full advantage of my evening. What’s not to like! I tried this for about a week and I think it’s safe to say I quickly realised it was not for me.

On the first day of working from home I actually was quite productive, having a the apartment to myself gave me complete peace and quiet to work away and I was able to dedicate the whole day to working on my project. When lunchtime came I was able to grab a quick sandwich from the kitchen and get straight back to it, I loved the idea of getting so much work done in such a short space of time. As the day was drawing to a close I found myself in the middle of a task that I wanted to finish, I thought I would just work an extra hour and it would be the same as the commuting time I would usually spend anyway. This hour doubled into about two hours without me realising it and pretty soon I was completely drained. I was delighted to have gotten done as much work as I did but it wasn’t long before I was passed out asleep.

I figured a day or two like this would always happen but as the week wore on I found it happened nearly everyday. I found it increasingly hard to just stop at the end of the day, when you’re in an office environment you’re watching everyone else leave and go home, it’s easier to pack it up for the day. I also found it really difficult to switch off even when I had pulled myself away from work, my home was now my office and it was increasingly difficult not to think about work whenever I would see the laptop sitting on the kitchen table.

As well as finding it difficult to switch off and when to call a stop to the working day, working from home is also quite a lonely experience. In the OnePageCRM office in Galway there is always something happening, people are chatting and sharing stories and as it is located in the heart of the college there is always a buzz in the air. Working from home I could go the entire day without speaking to anyone, this was really bad for my overall morale and began to drive me a bit mad!

After about a week of working from home I decided that I had had enough, I needed to get out of the house. I investigated co-working spaces and found a spot called betahaus It had a lively cafe with free WiFi as well as plenty of tables and power outlets. It was completely free to come in and work from here too. The cafe was always brimming with people, the majority of whom were either software developers or graphic designers, they too were mostly working remotely but still wanted somewhere to go, to work and to meet people. I split my time working between here and another co-working spot called FabLab Berlin. This was by far the best decision I made when working remotely, it gave me somewhere to go in the morning, somewhere where I could concentrate on work, meet new people and make friends. Most importantly it gave me back my home, my apartment was no longer a work place but somewhere I could relax after work.

Now this is not to say that I never work from home anymore, but I restrict it to maximum one day a week. I also have a small coffee table that I put on top of my kitchen table to make a sort of standing desk and I always use this when working from home, this way unless the coffee table is on top of the kitchen table I can forget about work. I always make sure to take a walk for lunch or meet someone at a cafe, spending all day alone is not good.

I’ll be back again with another insight on how I found the transition of working an office to working remotely in a foreign country.

Have you ever worked remotely? From home or from a co-working space? I’d love to hear your experience with it in the comments below.

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John Maguire

Senior Software Engineer mostly working in the DevOps world. Loves sport, especially GAA and Aussie rules, can often be spotted running in the mountains.