As a software engineer at DeepStream (previously I was a developer at Tradeshift – a B2B network with unicorn status). I like a lot of things: coding, blockchain, listening to relaxing music whilst coding and, yes… remote working.

In fact, I love remote working. 

So whilst the rest of the world is screaming about the changes inflicted on them in adopting a remote working environment, I would like to tell you why, for me, it is fantastic. 

I’d like to share how I feel about remote work, how I think we can all make it work better for us now and how we can apply these lessons in the future as well – even for those who will be forced to return to the office. 

working from home software engineer remote

Will people start missing the commute from bed, to the coffee machine, to their home office in the living room? 

Bear in mind that there are basically an infinite number of other ways we can make remote work productive and healthy, and I encourage everyone to share their experiences and ideas. 

Probably for the first time in history, we can all relate to an issue and we can help each other to get the best of this situation.

I wouldn’t go into the classic “pros and cons” of remote working – there are tons of articles on this subject, each with a different bias. And no silver bullet works for everyone. Every individual or company is unique and, naturally, what works for some may not work for others. 

downsides working from homeThis time people had no choice… we somehow woke up one day, all in the same global pandemic boat, in the middle of the ocean. 

But there is no need to panic. Remote working is a blessing, as I have learnt myself – and to my benefit – over my career so far in the tech world. Let’s rationalise this, and look at 3 important factors to consider in order to make remote work a success.

remote work software engineer

We somehow woke up one day, all in the same global pandemic boat, in the middle of the ocean. Here are some recommendations to make the most of a bad situation #remotework Click To Tweet

Technology

I think we can all agree that the situation would have been much worse if this pandemic had happened 20 years ago. But we now have the technology to make everything easier. We can work, communicate, work out, order random things, play, watch any movie, all from the comfort of our living rooms. 

There is a big shift that many people working with traditional on-premise software in offices were not really that aware of… all decent software experiences are now on “the cloud”… i.e. we can do all of these things using just our browser. How awesome is that? 

remote working party softwareThe late Internet Explorer would be proud. 

Lightweight and fast software products are our best tools; we can even work using a smartphone, on the road or in remote areas. The DeepStream application is the perfect example – you can do complex tendering using nothing but your secure web browser on your phone or laptop. We are empowered to do everything online, faster and more efficiently. 

Oddly enough, many  people probably didn’t realise how far we had come and how much we can improve our productivity by just looking around for new technologies. This change, forced upon the world, has given everyone the opportunity to see for themselves how cool cloud technology is for enterprise uses. At first I found it odd, but then it made perfect sense, as to why DeepStream has seen such high growth in the past month from new users. .

Socialising

In the days of social distancing, how do we socialize?

social distancing work Remotely, of course. Keeping in touch with loved ones, colleagues, business partners etc. is important, now more than ever. 

Socialising, without face to face presence? Not such a new concept for me…

Technology offers impressive solutions to this problem. Even if a video conference is not the same as meeting in person, once you get over the initial fiddly issues it actually delivers in a way that many did not expect. Communication does not need to be airborne… Zoom and Google Hangouts also work! 

At DeepStream, now that everybody is working remotely, I get to see everyone for coffee each morning! We introduced a “Catch-up and coffee”, to keep in touch and talk about random things (our CEO Jack cannot stop talking about new virtual paradigms). One evening we even had a super fun traditional british pub quiz get together  on Zoom… which ended up turning into a rave and one of our team (will not say who!) ended up falling asleep on the call!!

remote pub quiz deepstream
In other words, working from home has actually brought us together as a team, by creating more socialising opportunities for everyone wherever they are situated geographically.

Health and mindfulness 

It’s easy to fall into bad habits when we are forced into a more static way of living: eat unhealthy food, work out less, don’t consider our mental health etc. It’s important to be aware of these dangers and proactively adapt our previous lifestyle to the new restrictions – and even build new healthy habits. This is one of the things I really had to learn when I started always working remotely. 

For example, we can use the previous commute time to cook, work out, meditate, learn something new or just relax. It’s easier said than done, but taking baby steps and being consistent helps a lot. Each day, you can add something healthy in your routine – but don’t get too ambitious from the start, it will be difficult to maintain. 

A cool experiment we are doing at DeepStream is using a Slack “workout bot” that gives random instructions every hour or so directed at each team member… getting to do things like jumping jacks and press-ups throughout the day… both healthy and fun! 

working out slack startup

Has the pandemic fast forwarded the future?

The future looks bright. The silver lining of this pandemic is that it shifted our views on remote work and productivity.

The silver lining of this pandemic is that it shifted our views on remote work and productivity. Click To Tweet

This difficult situation will make us stronger and more resilient, we just need to take it as an opportunity to rethink the way we work, we communicate, we prioritise things and we produce value. We can find solutions to our problems everywhere, they have been around all this time, we just took things for granted and forgot to explore in the search for productivity. 

I truly believe crises, even though painful, will help us improve in the long term. Stay safe!