· 8 min read

Embracing the Remote Work Lifestyle: My Journey and Lessons Learned

I've spent a big chunk of my developer career working remotely. This post summarizes my journey and the lessons learned along the way.

I have been working remotely since 2020, right after COVID-19 started to spread across the World. As I started working as a software developer in 2018, I spent more time working remotely than in an office.

Not only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but remote work has increased in popularity over the years. According to this Forbes article - As of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model and By 2025, 32.6 million Americans will work remote. Even with this growth, many jobs still don’t require physical presence but oblige workers to go to the offices.

In this article I’ll go through my experience as a remote worker, how I manage my work-life balance and some of the challenges I’ve overcome.

Transitioning to Remote Work

Although I started to work remotely due to the lockdowns that happened at the beginning of January 2020, it would end up happening anyway. During my last year working in an office, I had a burnout, and that led to a long sequence of days counting the time for me to leave the office.

It had nothing to do with colleagues or with the work itself. Looking back, the exact routine of waking up, getting ready, driving to work, spending all day working and driving back home in the evening is what got me that burnout - that and, obviously, my anxious background.

Since the majority of our company started to work remotely for the first time, at the same time, we initially struggled to get our workflow and communications in place. It was especially difficult for newcomers because they knew nothing about the projects they would be working on, their coworkers, the company culture, etc.

Setting Up Your Remote Workspace

Working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean working from home. But that’s my personal experience and where I’m basing my article.

When the lockdowns happened, I was living in a small house with one bedroom and one living/dining room. I had no space for my home office. I worked at the same table I ate my meals and anyone close to me knows that was my biggest challenge. Working from home makes it harder to separate work and personal life, let alone having to work at the same table you dine.

Fast forward 2 years and I’m now living in a house that has a dedicated space for my home office. People tend to overlook fancy items instead of focusing on creating a productive work environment. It’s the simple things that make your remote workspace special, such as having a dedicated space, investing in ergonomic furniture and minimizing clutter.

Yes, a RGB gaming keyboard is fun and stuff - but it won’t help you set up your work environment.

Managing Work-Life Balance

Managing work-life balance is probably the hardest thing to do when it comes to remote work.

Picture this: you go to an office, work your 9-5, and come back home. The commute to work is a boundary set to distinguish your work life from your personal life. That doesn’t happen when you’re working in a room next to where you slept. And that’s okay, as long as you know how to separate both things.

I had that struggle when I started working remotely. Endless nights coding, having lunch while at the computer, skipping meals. So I know how bad those habits can be and that you should set boundaries to avoid getting burnt out.

A few of the boundaries I’ve been setting are:

  • When I finish work or my family arrives home, I close my laptop and call it a day.
  • Taking at least a full hour away from the computer for lunch. It doesn’t mean I eat for an hour, but I can watch an episode, play with my dog or do house chores.
  • Keep my eating schedule somewhat rigid - meaning I won’t have lunch at noon today and at 3 pm tomorrow. Consistency is key.

No one is perfect and I’m far from it. But these boundaries help set the mood for the day so I can be productive when I’m actually working.

Communication and Collaboration

Working remotely allows teams to communicate asynchronously.

The problem is when they don’t communicate at all. It’s easy for each employee to get lost in his “own world” and forget to communicate with his colleagues. Whether a simple status message or asking a question, it’s super important to communicate fluently with your coworkers.

In my honest opinion, there’s no such thing as the best tool for asynchronous communication. We have Microsoft Teams, Slack, Discord (and maybe WhatsApp?) - each with its set of features that fit some specific use cases.

Above all tools and techniques, communicating as soon as you feel like it is the most important thing. And by this, I don’t mean to ask for immediate help every time you struggle with something. But you shouldn’t refrain from sending a message when you feel like it. Any time, to anyone. That’s the biggest perk of asynchronous communication.

Now go send that message you’ve been delaying for the past 3 days (but read this until the end!).

Overcoming Challenges

Besides the transition to remote work, learning how to manage the work-life balance and overcoming communication issues, other challenges may arise during remote work. Examples of that are:

  • Distractions at home: household chores, family members, pets, TV screens. All these are possible distractions that can quickly make your work day unproductive;
  • Isolation: although I haven’t experienced this personally, many remote workers complain they get lonely as a result of not having any face-to-face interaction;
  • Connectivity issues: yes, working from home normally means you’re relying on some crappy internet package you have for your household. I have a full chapter of stories related to connectivity issues with my provider;
  • Call fatigue: remote workers might experience this if they spend all day doing voice/video calls with colleagues or clients. Client meetings are harder to juggle, but please keep the meetings with your colleagues to a bare minimum.

If you’re going through any of these challenges, remember you’re not alone. More, it’s on you to overcome any challenge you might have.

Taking the examples above, overcoming distractions at home takes discipline and consistency. No one is perfect but having a schedule and setting your priorities straight is halfway through not falling for distractions. Isolation is the most personal challenge you can have. Everyone is different and deals with this kind of isolation differently. It’s not a problem for me, I love working at home, in silence or with my dog barking at the mailman.

I could keep on, but you get the point. For every challenge, it’s up to you to find a solution to overcome it.

Benefits of Remote Work

As with everything in life, remote work is not only filled with challenges and obstacles. On the contrary, it has many benefits, both for employers and employees.

Of all the benefits that can be discussed, the ones I’ve personally experienced are flexibility, productivity and geographical independence. We talked about flexibility already - I have more control over my schedule, enabling me to balance work with personal obligations, such as childcare, house chores or even hobbies.

Productivity is a very personal one. I know people who prefer to work in an open space office, with lots of crosstalk, colleagues passing by and several breaks for coffee, cigars, lunch, snacks, etc. And then there are people like me, who find their most productive selves working remotely at home, in silence and free from uncontrollable distractions. It’s just me and my laptop. Oh, and my dog!

Last but not least, geographical independence is a BIG benefit of remote work. By not being tied to an office, you can work (within reasonable time zones) anywhere in the world. As an employee, you expand the pool of options you have to find work. And as a company, you’re able to find talent anywhere in the world. This generates more competitiveness but also culturization and different perspectives.


There’s no doubt I’m a big preacher for remote work because, in my honest opinion, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. To me, the freedom and independence it gives me is unmatched compared to working in an office. Being geographically independent opened up many doors and allowed me to experience different work cultures and meet new people.

At the same time, I’m well aware remote work isn’t for everyone. It vastly depends on your goals, your personality and the type of environment you prefer to work with.

To finish this one off, if you’re curious about remote work but are afraid to make the full switch, ask your employer if you can try it for a week. Not everything will be perfect and need adjustments, but you can get a feel if it’s for you or not.

If you’ve been working remotely, what’s your experience been like? Any advice for newcomers?

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