Remote Working – 3 Year Retrospective

A number of people have recently written about remote & distributed teams (including my friend and colleague Avleen), some of them advocating the benefits of a remote-friendly and distributed culture, some arguing against.

It’s been a little over three years since I joined Etsy as a remote employee, so I thought I’d write a little about my experiences of remote working, both the good and bad, by way of throwing a dash of real-life experience into the mixing pot of the “remote or not” discussion.

Before I dive in though, I should probably give a little context to my working situation, as various factors will come in to play as I work through this retrospective.

I currently work from home in a small town in the south-east of the UK for the Etsy operations team as a Staff Operations Engineer. We’re a heavily distributed team with people spanning 4 time zones, although I’m currently the only person outside the US, which means my work day is between 5 and 7 hours ahead of the rest of my team.

This is the only job I’ve ever had where I worked remotely,  and I should probably add the disclaimer up-front that I’m somewhat biased in favour of remote working.

The Good

Now that we’ve gotten the disclaimers, caveats and background info out of the way, let’s start off by taking a look at what I consider the positive aspects of remote working.


One of the stand-out positives of working remotely for me has been the impact it’s had on my productivity. My natural tendency is to avoid crowded and noise places, so being out of the typical busy office environment and able to get some peace and quiet on a regular basis has made me far more productive and relaxed.

The fact that I’m 5 hours ahead of the rest of my team has also turned out to be a benefit to my productivity here too – because I’m usually the only person on the team at work until 2PM or so in the UK, my entire morning is a block of time without any interruptions where I can get through tons of work. I’m also a morning person, so my brain is freshest when I start work.

The other nice thing here is that when the rest of the team get to work in the afternoon UK time, I can spend the afternoon on other parts of my job like mentoring more junior team members, planning, attending meetings, collaborative work etc etc. Although it might not be to everybody’s tastes, I’ve really come to value having those few hours in the morning to buckle down and get work done – I also find it makes it easier to balance the different demands of my role. As it happens, I’m actually using those productive hours to write this blogpost :p

Quality of Life

Another positive of working from home I’ve found particularly beneficial is the improvements it has made to my quality of life. Rather than waxing lyrical about this for too long, I’m going to highlight a few specific examples that I’ve come to particularly value.

  • No Commute. I often joke that a bad commute for me is having to walk around a clothes dryer on the way to my desk, but there’s a serious point to make here – rather than spend 2 hours a day commuting as I did when working in London, I have a 10 second walk to my desk. This also gives me an extra 2 hours a day to play with….in my case, I literally do *play* with this time – see the next bullet.
  • Quality Mornings.  I define quality mornings as the extra time I get to spend with my wife in the mornings due to working from home. Since I’m a morning person and my wife is most definitely not,  while she’s getting ready for work I can take care of making coffee, breakfast and her lunch, then we sit down and have breakfast together. Once she’s left for work I still have roughly an hour until I start, so I play Xbox for a while to get my brain into gear. Don’t laugh, it works for me :D
  • Flexibility. Another major plus point to remote working is the flexibility that it affords – I’m always at home to receive deliveries. Car needs to go to the garage? No worries, I can pop by. Wife needs to attend a courthouse with bad parking? (She’s a paralegal, not a criminal ;) ) I can take a few minutes to drop her off. Individually, these are all very small things, but the cumulative effect makes the trials and tribulations of daily adulting much easier to deal with
  • Freedom of Location. One of the most tangible benefits to working from home (or remotely from a co-working space) is the fact that you no longer have to live in or near a major tech hub like New York, San Francisco or London which makes life a *lot* cheaper. In fact (tax and immigration rules allowing) it doesn’t really matter *where* you live, as long as you have decently fast internet. When I started at Etsy I was still living in London, but since then I’ve moved back to Scotland for a year, and then on to my current home. My wife and I are now considering a move to Europe to be closer to her family, and I cannot overstate how much less stressful this is thanks to the fact that my job can move with us.

The Bad

Of course, remote working isn’t all unicorns and rainbows – there are negatives too, and some aspects of remote life that make things more difficult than working in an office. To balance things out, let’s take a look through what I’ve struggled with or found difficult.

Cabin Fever

The fact that your home and your office are in the same physical building can often lead to cabin fever in varying degrees. In my case I don’t find this too problematic due to my aforementioned tendency to naturally avoid crowded and noisy places, but there are occasions where I just need to get outside of these four walls.

There are various strategies to alleviating this problem however, largely involving braving the outside world and the harsh glare of the day-star. Here are a few tips and tricks I make use of to make sure I don’t get too stir crazy:

  • Walk to the shops. We buy our groceries from a small supermarket a short distance a way, and rather than doing a large weekly shop I’ll walk there maybe two or three times a week to do a smaller shop, just to get out of the house and stretch my legs a bit.
  • Exercise at lunchtime. Since you work from home and don’t have to commute anywhere, where possible why not try going for a walk or exercising at lunchtime. In my case, my gym is walking distance from home so I make a point of going there at lunch to break up the work day and get some fresh air.
  • Seperation of space. Don’t work from the couch in front of the TV. Set aside a space where “work” lives so that you have some sort of physical separation between work time and play time. In my case, living in a fairly small flat, I don’t have a separate room for my office, but rather have a corner of the living room set aside. Although still in the same physical location, I find being able to leave my desk at the end of the day hugely beneficial.

Which, as it happens, brings me on to another aspect of working life that’s made harder by working from home…

Stopping Work

When you work and live in the same place, actually stopping work at the end of the day gets harder. There’s always the temptation to quickly check your emails, or IRC, or just follow up on that one thing. In my case, the timezones of my team mean that they’re all working until around 11PM UK time, which exacerbates this problem.

One of the toughest parts of my particular working situation, and that which I’ve had to be the most disciplined about, is stopping work at 6PM and not starting again until the next day.

I would almost describe my approach to this problem as slightly militaristic in fact, and I’m often to be found recommending the tricks I’ve learned to other colleagues who are in danger of over-working themselves:

  • No work email on my phone. I’m lucky enough that I work in a fairly large Ops team where I’m not solely responsible for on-call etc…this means that, especially since most of my team are at work when I’m not, there is no good reason for me to have my work email on my phone. It’s just adding temptation to check my work email while I’m relaxing after work – learning to accept that everybody else is on top of things and that I’m actually allowed to not be at work took some learning, and it’s something I try to be very careful to remember.
  • When you leave your desk, leave your desk. At 6PM every night, I stop working unless I’m in the middle of something vitally urgent. I don’t attend meetings after this time, I don’t reply to emails, I don’t check IRC. Although my desk is in the living room and hence never more than 10 feet or so away, I am very strict with myself about downing tools at the end of the day and not going back to my desk until the next morning. Again, not being a solo Ops person helps a lot here – knowing my team has my back makes this mainly a matter of mental discipline on my part.
  • Timezones are a thing. Again unique to my particular work situation, my team are at work roughly between 2PM and 11PM UK time. They don’t turn up for work at 9AM my time (4AM in NY), so why should I be at work at 11PM? This is again a mental discipline thing – I force myself to stop working when I’m supposed to. Work life balance is crucial to get right.


The negative aspect of remote working you’ll most often read about when people are arguing against it is that of communication. When you have people working across physical locations, timezones and even countries, communication gets harder. People aren’t able to gather around the water cooler, it’s easy for people to feel left out if they’re the one who isn’t in the office, and including remotes in meetings and discussions can often be tricky.

I’m going to be completely honest here, many of these points are valid and are indeed things that a remote-friendly culture will most likely struggle with. I would argue, however, that none of these things are insurmountable. While I’m not going to claim that Etsy is perfect and that we never have communications issues and that I never get pissed off with video conferencing systems, there *are* a number of things we do which help a lot here.

  •  Move communications online. At Etsy, the main venue for communication amongst the Ops team is IRC. True, we do have this a little easier than most since more of the Ops team is remote than in NY, but I still maintain it’s not that hard for teams to adjust to. Whether IRC, Slack, HipChat or something else, if you’re going to be adding remote workers to your team you’re going to need to move communication to a remote friendly venue. This also serves to ameliorate the “water cooler” problem. If the watercooler is actually the #watercooler IRC channel, your remotes are just as included as everybody else is.
  • Over Communicate. It’s often very easy to assume that everybody on your team knows what you’re working on, or maybe that the thing you just did is too trivial to mention – in many cases, especially when working with remote colleagues, this is not the case. At Etsy we try to if anything *over* communicate what we’re working on, changes we’ve made, tools we’ve come up with etc to both make sure that everybody’s included in both discussions, and that people are able to get praised when they do cool stuff. I’m not gonna lie, everybody likes to be praised, and if that doesn’t happen unless somebody’s looking at what you did over your shoulder, it’s very easy to make remotes feel left out.
  • Invest in Video Conferencing. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, if you only do *one* thing in this section, invest in decent video conferencing. When you have remote employees, *every* meeting they are in will necessitate a video conference. If it takes 20 mins out of every meeting to get people dialled in, it frankly sucks. Similarly, if you can’t see or hear the people at the other end of the call, it makes you feel excluded and not part of the meeting. In the 3 years I’ve been at Etsy I’ve seen significant investment and improvement in our video conferencing setup, and let me tell you it makes life as a remote a *lot* easier.

Sub-standard Treatment

I wasn’t completely sure what to call this section, but I think the title I chose works – one of the difficulties of being remote is that when you’re out of the office is that you’re often treated very differently to office-based colleagues.

I’m going to assume that many of you reading this blogpost will be in some way involved in the tech industry. We all know about the perks generally offered by tech companies, don’t we. Free meals, subsidised gym memberships, ping pong tables, all that jazz. If you’re a remote sitting in your own house, you’re often excluded from that. So it’s very very important to make remotes feel that they’re treated just as well as anybody else.

This is something that, to be honest, Etsy wasn’t that great at some aspects of when I started  – I’ve seen a lot of improvement in how Etsy handles these things as we’ve hired increasing numbers of remote employees, and in all honestly it makes me feel a lot more valued by the company as a whole, rather than just by my team.

So what exactly can you do to help your remotes feel like they’re not being excluded from nice desks and happy fun times?

  • Let Your Remotes Expense! If people in your offices have nice ergonomic chairs and height adjustable desks, why not let your remotes do the same? In the case of the Etsy Ops team, for example, we’re able to expense the same chairs that folks in the office get, the same external displays, and our company benefits package allows for stuff like letting remotes claim back Gym membership costs and other benefits to bring them roughly in parity with office-based employees. When I started, we didn’t even *have* a benefits package in the UK part of the company, so this is something that has improved hugely – and makes me feel more valued as a result!
  • Bring your Remotes to the Office. Make it easy for your remotes to travel to the office every so often to hang out with everybody. Let them expense flights, hotels and food when they’re in town. Seriously. Regardless of how much you like working from home, assuming you like the people you work with it’s always gonna be nice to go and hang out with them. In my case, it’s also pretty cool to get to go to America, it’s something I’d never done before starting this job!

So that covers the good things about working remotely, and the things that aren’t so great.

So Can Everybody Work Remotely?

But Jon,  I hear you ask, does this mean that with a little elbow grease everybody can work remotely and everything will be amazing?

I would argue here that the answer is “maybe”. For remote working to work well, you need people who actually like working remotely, and a company prepared to support it. Both are equally important, and if one part is missing, then the whole thing falls apart.

On a personal level, you have to be prepared to deal with spending a lot of time in your home, and even with the best team in the world there will be a lot less inter-personal interaction than you’d get in an office. If you’re the kind of person who thrives on being in a group of people and in a busy environment, you may find remote working a bit of a shock to the system, and one you may not like.

On a company wide level, you have to be prepared to invest in supporting your remote employees and making them feel equally valued to those in your offices. From a paperwork perspective, it’s pretty trivial to tell people that they can work from home, but if you don’t invest in the remote experience you’re offering them, you can easily end up with excluded and unhappy employees.

Hopefully the points I’ve raised above and my own experiences at Etsy have helped to shed some light on what it’s like to be a remote worker…in my case, I freaking love working from home and have often said I honestly don’t know if I’d want to go back to an office environment.

In closing, if you want to work remotely or to have remote employees, it basically boils down to this.

Be prepared to work at it, and be awesome to each other. Remote working can be an amazingly empowering and positive experience, but it doesn’t come for free. Effort in, results out – from both company and employees.

34 thoughts on “Remote Working – 3 Year Retrospective”

    1. Hi Scott – a bit of everything really. Anecdotally, we use and have good cameras and proper multiple-mic setup in most of the major meeting rooms in the NY office. We actually have a dedicated AV team now too.

      1. I work for a startup that has team remote and local, and what you said is really on the mark from my perspective. I was wondering if you could share some of the technical information about your AV setup?

    2. I also work for a company whose engineering team is fully remote. We used to use Google Hangouts for our video, but I highly suggest you DO NOT do that. It is hard to be the price, but the quality is usually suspect, and anyone who has to use it will begin to dread those times.

      We have since moved on to a combination of HipChat for 1:1 video (which we are also using for general text chatting), and for group video. The latter is a pretty solid service, including some nice recording options.

  1. I agree with your article. For me, the biggest benefits are commuting and salary. I don’t have to be limited by local companies and salaries and also don’t have to commute and lose my nerves while doing that (can’t really stand poor drivers).

    The biggest issue for me is getting my point over to the other part of the world through the Internet. Sometimes, there is a small misunderstanding that develops into something larger if not dealt with soon enough.

    All in all, I love working remotely and won’t ever switch back to commuting-type of work.

  2. As I have heard, remote working doesn’t mean you will work from home only. Going to co-working space is great idea to get various ambiance and refresh our souls, as social creatures. And remote working is a bit hard for extrovert people.

    Thanks for sharing. Would like to read more about your experience about remote working.

    1. Exactly this, we belong to a co-working space in Burlington, VT we can all visit. Since we’re unique in that we work remotely, but we’re all from the same state.

  3. Thanks Jon for the great article.
    Working remotely has its own pros and cons which you have covered very nicely.
    When one is at home for most of the day, keeping a healthy routine is very important for long-term, going to the gym, interacting with people, etc.

  4. This describes my experiences working from home pretty closely. I’ve been remote with Mozilla for almost 8 years now and I’ve had some ups and downs but thoroughly enjoyed it. Working at a very-geo-distributed company on a very distributed team is a pretty key part, as it forces everyone to overcommunicate and not rely on watercooler conversations. We’ve also been using Vidyo for the past few years and I’ve been pretty happy with it.

    My biggest downsides have been things you mentioned–ensuring my work/life balance doesn’t swing to far in favor of work, which I’ve done by making a home office and then setting working hours and staying out of it outside of them, as well as getting myself out of the house (which I’m still working on). I do exercise daily either at the gym or going for a run, which helps a bit, but I’m still pretty low on non-kid-or-spouse social contact (we moved to live near family a few years ago and I haven’t built up a social network as much as I’d like).

    Timezones are definitely tricky. I’m east coast US so I get a little bit of that (especially being an early riser) but I know it’s way worse in Europe and Asia. That’s something that any geodistributed company has to deal with eventually, although most seem to just default to “comfortable for Pacific time and everyone else can suck it up”.

  5. Hi Jon,

    Curious what video conferencing tools have you found to be the best? Do you guys do any daily standup meetings? If so, have you found them to be challenging?

    We struggled with this when our company went remote and we’re now building a tool to facilitate online standups:

  6. Thank you for your thoughts on this. I’ve read some different books from Amazon on remote workers, and your post is the first thing I’ve read that’s like reading something I’d wrote myself; spot on, in many ways exactly my experience.

  7. Jon,

    Thank you for your post. I found the timing of your post funny as I just wrote a similar post several days ago. I think you make a really good point to invest in video conferencing. This is a MUST even for people working in different offices let alone at home.

    I think the best point of your article is sub standard treatment. It is an easy oversight for a company to not give the same perks to remote employees as in office employees. The company saves money when people work remote so it is nice to see some of that savings invested back into the employee instead of the company simply pocketing it.

    Thanks again for the post!

  8. I met some people from Etsy engineering years ago at a devops conference, they were great, but at the time were only looking for NYC folks. Who could I talk to about available remote positions? I’ve worked remotely before for 2 years, and agree with most of your assessments above! I’ve long admired Etsy’s openness with ideas/software, and sharing what they learn, they’ve been on my short list to look into for some time. Thanks!

    1. It’s best to apply for any positions which interest you and specify remote-only at the time – it varies from manager to manager how many remote folks they’re looking for.

  9. That sounds like an awesome setup. I’ve been working remote for about 4 months now, and semi-remote for about a year and a half. And I’m setting up for another year of remote work (though I wished I had known Etsy is hiring remote, I would have applied!).

    There are definitely a lot of points that I agree with you on. I’d love to add onto it:

    1. I found that working longer hours but with more frequent breaks is a great idea. I work 6:30 to 4:30 which gives me an extra hour to go work out AND have lunch

    2. Communication can always be a problem. But, like you, I found ways to deal with it. At my last job, we used to send around funny emails and have long “watercooler” threads (within the team only, of course). I’m currently using Hipchat and even Github becomes a communications platform. All of those are really great avenues.

    3. Working odd hours does have that side-effect where I get message 30 minutes to 1 hour after I’m off work. I try to address those right away the next day.

  10. Great article! In my case, I think one of the challenges with working remotely are if the person has a disability. I’m hard of hearing so being directly in front of someone while they’re saying something versus trying to make out what’s being said in a Skype call can be a difficult task. I haven’t seen any other remote articles ever mention points like these – wondering if a case like mine is just that unique or just hardly brought up?

    I love the no commute and quality mornings points. For me, that may also include quality evenings. In the mornings I can cash in on extra sleep or a better breakfast and in the evening, get dinner started earlier. It feels a lot easier to get ready for dinner when working remotely rather than coming from a long day of work and walking in from a commute, the last thing you want to do more work e.g. cooking. But it’s hard to complain if you’ve never left the house instead.

    Thanks for sharing. :-)

  11. Great article. We have a huge remote crew and I am always looking for great tools that are working well for others. Was curious if you or someone in your main office would be willing to have a video meeting about things that have and have not worked. We just gained an office in the UK and it would be great to just pick someone’s mind about this further. Let me know.

  12. Great tips Jon!

    Another issue which is related to Cabin Fever is “depression” due to isolation.

    Some remote workers might get the feeling of sadness whenever their colleagues post pictures of them going out, having fun in the office etc… plus the substandard treatment.

    This can affect morale in the long run that might eventually affect productivity. I wrote an article about this subject on my blog:

    In the article, I pointed out that employers should empower communication; aside from business, they should have a conversation about their remote workers’ lives and well-being.

  13. I did remote working for two years, and found out the hard way it did not work for me.
    The interesting thing is that the small details which bit me where not necessarily the ones I expected, so I thought I’d share my experience. If someone can avoid repeating the same mistakes, all the better.

    The good:

    I was expecting communication problems within the team, not being there during lunchtimes and coffeebreaks etc etc, and despite the adsl provider doing his best to prevent it, I managed to keep the relationship in good condition with both the company and the customers. I was working in a consultant role btw, so my work was already based on loose sync with team mates, and I relied on my colleagues for social interaction and information sharing rather more than for working together on specific projects.

    The bad:

    The countryside myth: turns out I like living in big cities. I don’t care that much about cost of life: when I move to a costly place, I ask for a consequent salary (having no kids can also help keeping your costs down ;-). When I was home-working, I was back in a small town. Not being able to pop out of the door and find a decent movie, exhibition or restaurant was quite a letdown. In the small town you need to carefully plan your cultural life.

    Commuting is good! Or rather: I had commuted for 7 years before, and I hated it. But then, when living in the big city, I used to go to work by bike, riding along a nice canal for half an hour each way. That one hour a day was in fact not wasted time at all, as it provided some daily exercise (mandatory for geeks), and also the time for my brain to switch from work-mode to rest-of-life-mode. Going without a pause from work to dinner meant that I would behave like a zombie during dinner, listening to my spouse with a blank stare while my mind was still absorbed with coding problems. Guess how much she liked it?

    Turning into a night predator: unlike the original poster, I was still on the same timezone as colleagues and customers. Which meant the best time for me to do real-stuff (aka coding) was during evenings. Which meant I would easily go to sleep a bit later every day, and wake up always a bit later as well, unless there were early confcalls (but then I tried hard to avoid those). After one month of this silly pattern, I was working daily from 10pm to 3am, and sleeping in short bursts during the day. I was work-productive, but my social life was really hampered.

    Always being in the house: it turns out my spouse was not used to having my around the place all day (being a teacher, she would come home about lunch time, and was used to have the place all for herself during the afternoon), and actually resented it. She felt it was her duty to cook lunch for me, even when I told her I could cook for myself or go for sandwiches, but the added burden of having to cook actually stressed her out. She also was stressed by the fact that, despite being in the house, I would not always be available all the time for quick help (aka the “no, I can not go down to the grocer for milk right now, I’m in a conf call” problem), while I was stressed by the fact that she would interrupt me a lot.
    This might have solved easily by havinga separate room labelled as office and keeping the door closed, or maybe even hiring a room close to where we lived but outside the house, but it had not occurred to me that it would be a problem.

    To make a long story short: I guess I was too lazy/complacent. Working from home is not a magical thing, there are many good things about it and some bad. Be prepared to change your habits, and go at it with military-grade discipline if you want it to succeed.

  14. Hi,

    very nice article. I was a remote student for the last 3 years and I always felt very comfortable with this – not doing so much for the study but having nice time at the desk, reading news, trying things and getting hands-on with all programming languages, tools, etc.

    Now I’m getting to be a remote worker in the next month and I just miss a thing (or better: I wonder how you did this):

    How do you separate private from work stuff? So I see, you play Xbox in the morning, you can bring the car to the garage and so on (I exactly know what you mean!) – but how do you motivate yourself to really do your work? For me, at home office there is a lot of distraction. Private phone, private mails (let’s call it “private problems”). My girlfriend (she’s nurse and so she doesn’t have these typical 9 to 5 job) has some free days in the week as a compensation for her night and weekend workdays. So just ignoring her and doing the work, if she wants to go to the cinema? ;)

    You know what I mean? It’s really hard to track time and to really distinguish for example between private tech news I read for my own interest and searching for solutions/inovations on work stuff.

    Do you have some advice for me how to handle this?

    1. Unfortunately the answer to that comes down to discipline and practice. I deal with a lot of the same distractions as my wife studies from home a couple of days a week.

      In my case, it helps that I really like my job and work with a great team who help to keep me motivated. If the work was boring, motivation would be a lot harder.

      If anything, I’d recommend writing down a fairly strict daily schedule for yourself to start with, but actually sticking to it is something that only you can do :p

  15. Thanks for sharing!

    I’m based in Berlin, Europe and work remotely for a company in San Francisco for a little over two years now. Your article pretty much sums up my experience as well. Remote work has a lot of benefits to it, but it also has its challenges.

    Besides the things you’ve mentioned, the one thing that I’ve learned throughout my remote work life is that it helps to shake things up every once in a while. Didn’t leave the house for several days? Get out of the house and spend the day working from a coffee shop or your next university’s library. Having difficulties to disconnect from work after your working hours? Get out of the house and meet people or try establishing a ritual, like doing some experimental cooking at 7 PM every day.

    It’s also a good idea to add some buffer time before and after working hours, like you already do. Picking up work literally a few minutes after getting out of bed is poisonous. Taking a shower, making coffee and breakfast while listening to the news is mandatory in my daily routine – even if I don’t plan to leave the house that day.
    The same applies to clocking out. If I’ve spent the day working from some other place I usually just walk back home, even if it takes me 1 1/2 hours. And if I was working from home, I power off my computer, cook a decent meal, have dinner and then spend time with my loved ones, my hobbies, or on my projects.

    Also, I think that one of the more important skill that every remote worker needs to have in his/her skill book is self-awareness. It’ll help you to overcome difficulties, ranging from the ones mentioned earlier to coping with imposter syndrom. And, like almost everything in life, self-awareness needs to be trained.

  16. Hello Jon! Nice post :D We started out company about 1 hour flight from each other and have ever been remote since (Only for a few months part of our team has been in the same office) four years now. I feel that your post covers almost everything an employee needs to know about this and I totally agree that companies need to invest on this but sometime’s it hard to do it depending on the type of company you run. But I do believe all companies should provide this type of work scenario more and more from now on, specially if they wanna retain people on their teams. In Argentina, where I currently live, there’s a lot of people quitting just to get to explore life in Europe or other countries and I believe if companies would be more flexible they could retain such talent by adopting remote workers.

  17. Like other commenters: Thanks for an interesting blog post that largely matches my experience too. Some people are asking about tools, we use Google Hangout a bit, but I prefer at least for 1:1 chats. Better quality and less hassle with getting it to work in various browsers.

    I have another approach than you to the end-of-day/timezone problem. I’ve stuffed all my meetings on Mondays so my Monday evening is permanently booked (1:1s, team meetings, etc) , but it also means that I don’t have random meetings in the middle of dinner time for me on other days of the week. I’m also explicit about doing errands in the middle of the day, both so I get to see the daystar a bit, but also so my days don’t grow longer and longer. Having a dog to walk helps a lot.

  18. Great post, Jon! It sounds like you’ve done a great job of optimizing your work day. Admittedly, there’s been many times where I head to Google to research something work related and somehow end up on Youtube or Facebook and only realize what’s happened 10 minutes later. It’s amazing that you’re able to stay disciplined throughout the day.

    After working from home for a few years I discovered a good trick to be more productive – inviting someone to cowork from my home office. I find that whenever there’s someone else working in the same room I am suddenly much more productive. Being around other people that are getting work done helps me stay focused, productive and offers that soft accountability that is missing when I’m working on my own. I usually do this 1, maybe 2 days during some weeks. But it helps a ton with productivity and also alleviates cabin fever. Having someone to chat with during small breaks is great.

    As a result of that experience we’ve begun working on A coworking community for people who work from home. Essentially we want to provide remote workers a platform to meet others like them nearby and a place to find a new space to work from (a change of scenery). Anyway, we’re in beta at the moment so any feedback or ideas on how it could be useful to you all would be very welcomed. FYI – it’s only available to users in the US at the moment.

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