Working remotely is a dream come true for many employees. Imagine working at the comfort of your home while drinking delicious coffee and wearing your favorite batman socks.
This is the reality of many, not only because the pandemic took over but because the remote working revolution has increased during these past years. In 2019 57% of the IT industry in the United States worked remotely. Imagine how that number increased this year with COVID-19.
As a remote developer, flexibility is one of the many benefits you’ll be experiencing working from home. But even though you love the brochure, most companies sell about the perks of working remotely, and you feel you have a solid skill-set; other aspects might get in your way, making it an unpleasant experience. But don’t worry, nobody is born knowing how to work remotely, so here are 6 tips you need to become an efficient developer in a remote setting.
Don’t Expect Working on Pajamas
In other words, take your job seriously. If you think working from home means working from your bed, with pajamas on while simultaneously playing Fortnite, you’re wrong. Let me tell you a secret from all successful remote companies: working remotely means taking your job seriously. You do have more flexibility, but you still need to make a schedule and stick to it. Try working hard at determining hours and then play hard if you want.
Be 100% committed to the company you are working for, proving that you are talented, but you care about your job. How to prove such a thing? Getting all your tasks done on time and caring about the small details. For example, although you don’t have your boss behind your back, make sure the work you deliver exceeds expectations.
Imagine this scenario: You start working for a company who’s websites have many error codes that need to be fixed. Instead of getting it right away with whatever impulse decisions came into your mind, analyze the problem, and solve it from the roots. Don’t just cover it with a band-aid.
Say Yes to Code Reviews
Most IT companies who work on a codebase shared with other developers, establish certain guidelines that help each member of the team understand the project’s structure. This means it’s expected for the members of the team to have code reviews. This way everyone maintains quality code by maintaining and reviewing the established guidelines. Also, this leads to making sure all developers truly make their best work.
Been open for others to review your code also means having a positive attitude and being open to criticism. Others might have ideas to improve your code, and that is perfect. Don’t take it personally! When reviewing someone else’s code, don’t be afraid to speak up and suggest methods and different approaches. One of the best things about being in a remote team is having diverse mindsets and ideas to solve problems.
Being a remote developer means flexibility. Most leaders, especially those experienced in managing remote devs, are not on your shoulders all the time. They give you a task and expect you to solve it in a determined due date. This is why the fact that you are a remote worker is awesome, you know what time you work at best. But it’s also a double-edged sword.
Flexibility is not leaving tasks for the last moment. It’s thinking in advance, prioritizing and taking time to do them conscientiously. I suggest you have an agenda (whether a virtual or physical one), where you write down your to-dos (prioritize them) and set up a schedule and stick to it, at whatever times that suit you best. If you like working at 4 am, go for it! But be consistent with your tasks.
Whether you are an experienced developer or a junior-level one, the advice goes for both: Keep learning. You might think you know a lot, or what you need to know, but the IT industry advances at full speed. And the status quo was never reached by people who think they knew everything. Take Steve Jobs as an example; he never stopped learning and challenging what was already established.
Take advantage of the many courses online, especially during these times where many of them are free! If you work with more developers, ask them things that interest you, and try to learn from them as much as you can.
Turn Your Camera On
Working remotely can be a challenge for many who aren’t used to working with their pets as coworkers. Some employees enjoy working without having annoying coworkers around or in a quiet environment. But still, it’s essential to connect with your boss and colleagues, and the best way to do this is by video calls but by turning your camera on!
By seeing all of your team with their camera on, there will be a stronger bond. Meetings are more productive and efficient than going to a Zoom call and not seeing the face you are talking to. It’s scary at first, but then you’ll get used to it, and you’ll enjoy having a virtual coffee with your team while planning your projects.
Know the people you work with
Make friends! When we analyze remote work at a deeper psychological level, unfortunately, many virtual employees feel isolated and lonely. On a Buffer Study, 1,900 remote workers were interviewed, 21% stated that isolation is their biggest struggle. And although it’s not a huge percentage, it’s still a problem. Imagine having all the expectations of coding at the comfort of your house but still feel lonely and left out.
Making friends with your colleagues, it’s a great way to engage even more with your work. The best part is that if you have trouble during a task, you’ll know they support you and help you out. Or if you are bored and want to clear your mind for a while, you have colleagues to talk to and send memes to.
Final Word: Ultimate Tip
The best tip I can give you to be a successful and efficient developer in a remote setting is this one: Love what you do. Passion thrives to success; it’s inevitable. But you still need to make your way through success by constantly learning and looking for new approaches to everything. Working remotely is awesome, and trust me on this, you’ll discover skills you didn’t think you had.
But still, companies are looking for remote devs who keep challenging themselves and work hard. If you stay on top of your tech skills, improve them, and follow these tips, you’ll succeed in a remote setting.
About the author: Sharon Koifman is obsessed with remote work. Sharon currently runs DistantJob, a remote staffing agency from Canada specializing in finding full-time remote developers.