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    You need a fast internet connection

    This is a common misconception; you don’t need a fast internet connection. What you need is a reliable internet connection.

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      Yes and no.

      Strictly as a developer - probably not.

      As someone wielding docker images and vagrant boxes all day, maybe yes.

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        Although far from ideal, someone with reliable internet might be able to pull that off by using 3rd-party hosting w/ Gigabit Ethernet and TB data plan for the downloads, builds, and releases. Just sync up the lighter stuff, such as source files or outputs, to their machine. This way, a person in a poorly-connected area could get a high-paying job despite those bandwidth requirements with the tax being equivalent to another Internet bill. Maybe cheaper.

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          Sure, if I have to choose between convenience and advocating/just paying for a beefy dedicated server that allows me to do my work, there’s usually ways around.

          I’m just saying that I’d been sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs at times, even with 50Mbit down.

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          As someone wielding docker images and vagrant boxes all day, maybe yes.

          This has been a big issue of mine but it really got solved by CI, most notably gitlabci which is just brilliant! The ci workers do all of the image magic for you; not sure about vagrant boxes though, I’ve been fortunate enough to not be exposed to that yet.

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          You need a fast and reliable internet connection, and one doesn’t guarantee the other. Teleconfing on a slow internet connection is pretty bad, too.

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            No, it’s perfectly possible to work remotely on a slow connection. I’ve worked from home for a year on ~15mbps down and ~1.5mbps up. It’s fast enough for the occasional video conferencing. Most team chat is over text, which has pretty low bandwidth requirements.

            I’m not quibbling with the reliability part, and I have a backup 4G mobile access point for backup, on call, and to avoid trusting cafe WiFi.

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            Not humble bragging, but I worked for ~six months on a 3/1mbps throttled 4g connection, and since upgraded to an amazing 5/1mbps directional 4g (wimax’ish) connection. I voice dialed into conference calls when on the 4g as I was also limited to 8GB of data a month and didn’t want to waste it on the call. Welcome to rural Canada.

            For 95% of things this was perfectly fine, latency is generally far more important than throughput. Nick’s suggestion of a hosted VM would totally cover most of the remaining 5%, though I managed without by spinning up a pod in our Kubernetes cluster when I needed to do anything heavy against the cluster, which is faster than even the best connection.

            As to the greater question of remote working, it’s more than simply asking dumb questions. You need to ask them and be comfortable with not knowing if people thought they were actually dumb, as you don’t get to gauge peoples reaction as well. The isolation can also lead to rather acute imposter syndrome.

            Also I totally agree as to the work/life split that others have voiced, I get changed after work, and I don’t use my work laptop after work.

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            I’m glad there are finally blog posts that mention working remotely isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It takes a lot of effort to balance home/work life, avoid distraction, and communicate with your coworkers.

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              I’ve worked for five years remotely and I wouldn’t do it again.

              Yes, you need discipline, avoid distraction and have a clear separation between home/work, but the dealbreaker for me is how much less efficient/more isolating remote working is.

              Isolating from the “having conversations” perspective. A mind-boggling amount of progress is an outcome of having random conversations and random discussions with people in an office, or attending the right meeting or the right devJF or the right event. It’s also the sad reason why large companies spend so much on flying people around countries.

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                I’ve pretty much only worked remotely for the past 7 years and it is awfully isolating. I’d disagree with you on efficiency though - on few occasions where I’d go visit the office I’d spend like 10 hours there and would have 3 hours of real work done. Remote work does display burnout better though.

                So I think that if you’re in a rut you’ll do less work remotely but otherwise you’ll be much more efficient. Honestly I cant imagine working in a office. The days are so short already and the inefficiency of the whole culture would drive me mad.

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                  I think that main issue with remote work (which I do, and love) is that all kinds of things that are implicit in an onsite office need to be communicated differently. The obvious example is whether or not someone is busy, but other things like who is chatting with who, is there a big meeting going on, and after meeting chit chat. All kinds of signals physical proximity provides simply aren’t there in a remote environment.

                  Both remote and onsite work and work and have different strengths, in my experience.

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                  I agree on the conversations, its one of the things i miss from office work but it certainly seems that depends on personality type. There are people who hate that part the most and find it distracting.

                  Another thing I just remembered: you also effectively need an extra room in your house/apt/etc to dedicate to work. Depending on where you live, going from N rooms to N+1 can be a very expensive proposition.

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                This is a problem when you are on site as well. Remote work may exacerbates it, but it’s still something you need to learn if you are in the same room as your team.

                edit: almost every problem I see attributed to remote work is a problem that also exists locally and is more noticeable or given a name when the team is remote.

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                  This is a good article and focuses on the “you” side of remote work, but what I’ve found to be equally (profoundly?) important: Are THEY ready to support remote workers?

                  The key is strong cultural norms around how communication is conducted. If the company’s culture doesn’t STRICTLY enforce the “Any hallway/desk conversations MUST be echoed in E-mail or chat” meme, then remote work becomes much MUCH more difficult.

                  I’ve worked at orgs (mind, just a few) that did this very well, and many (including my current org) that don’t do it AT ALL leaving anyone WFH largely disconnected and flailing for scraps in chat and constantly playing catch-up.

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                    In my experience, learning to get used to asking dumb questions in public (and the skill of being able to know what you want to ask) was also a big part of attaining success during internships. In a 3-4 month time span, there’s not a ton of time to get acclimatized to all of the nuances of who on the team knows what, so the most time-effective way of getting all the knowledge I needed was to put myself out there early and ask whatever stupid questions I needed to early on. It was initially very difficult, especially when having to ask a question to someone else in person. However, I have been fortunate enough to be placed on teams where people in general don’t mind receiving basic questions, which really helped me get over the sense of embarrassment and just focus on being able to retrieve the answers and get unstuck.

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                      learning to get used to asking dumb questions in public

                      Of all the times people I’ve been in a meeting or a one-to-one conversation and someone’s said “can I ask a dumb question” and I’ve thought the following question was actually dumb… hardly ever? People who think they’re asking dumb questions very rarely are.

                      I’d really hope that your experience is more common than it seems like you think it is. The idea that interns are being put on teams where people don’t have time for their questions just kinda makes me sad. We were all beginners once.


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                      Been working remotely for years now. I strongly prefer it, and would ask for a 15-20% greater salary if required to work in-office. Avoiding 180 minutes of daily, soul-sucking commuting (and all the other attendant perks of remote work) just means that much to me. Admittedly, keeping two-way commute time under 30 minutes total might make a given job acceptable to me, but that makes my job searching net very, very small, especially when compared to searching for remote work.

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                        In the Slack era this is crucial for all kinds of work, not just remote. This post sums up the question, IMO. It should be asked during interviews.

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                          Oh yeah, I am very ready to ask dumb public questions. Actually that’s one of my specialty. IMO, talking everything in public channel are the best way to advertise my contributions and keep myself away from useless politics.

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                            I believe that the converse of, “Are you comfortable asking a dumb question in public?” is, “Are there precisely structured communication flags set in place for assigned tasks and procedures in the case that assignees are not familiar with the environment.”

                            If you’re managing a remote worker, or working with other remote team mates, one protocol for dealing with unknowns could be Slack / chat, where anyone could feel free to interrupt anyone else at any time or at set intervals. However another protocol could be a list of assigned activities - perhaps a Trello or GSheets, with tasks and assignees, and a way to, “flag” any particular item for review for what unknowns may come up.

                            Unknowns are inevitable. We all engage in knowledge work, and it is incumbent upon the managing party as well as the working party to be able to come up with a system that manages the flow of that knowledge.

                            I use this type of system myself because not everyone can be available at all times for every given question on Slack, and then questions get missed…so there needs to be a way to flag and clear flags, and remote workers need to be able to clearly understand that they absolutely can feel free and open to say, “I don’t know,” or “Can you confirm this?”