Working remotely (Part 2)

Posted on 2018-11-05

It has now been 48 days since the first part of this post, and 42 days since I moved into my current flat in Amsterdam. Time for me to write the promised follow-up and explain what has happened so far and how things have been going.

The Good

First of all, I am a lot happier in my personal life, moving was definitely the right decision for me in general, all work things aside. Having made the step into a remote agreement frees me up to move when- and wherever I want, as my employer does not care about from where I actually work at this point, apart from timezone-related concerns.

I also think that full control over my workspace can drastically improve my productivity, the main benefit being the lack of distractions.

Last time I mentioned that I would go back to London once a month. So far I am keeping to this schedule, and my first visit has been quite pleasant, even if a little stressful. But being able see my team members in person, catching up and meeting new hires allows us to stay more in touch. My only minor complaint is that travel is quite a hassle, especially at this rate, so I might try to turn down the frequency a bit.

The Bad

After the moving process, which included being legally homeless for a weekend in France, I was quite happy to be able to stay home for a bit, so I ended up working from my living room for a couple of weeks. In addition to that, coworking spaces are (to me) surprisingly expensive for what they are. 200€/mo. for something they call "a desk" but in reality is just a slot at a table, electricity, wifi and access to a kitchen with free coffee is quite a lot in my opinion. If I wanted an actual desk and office chair, ideally with a set of walls around it, I can expect to pay at least twice that. But after a while I started suffering from both cabin fever and loneliness, so I bit the bullet and subscribed to one. This also ended up being the right decision, because just the way I wrote the last time, I have a physical location I can go to to work, but it is purely optional.

In addition to potential extra costs and stress due to more traveling, some employers also seem to think that remote workers should by default earn less than the ones coming into the office. It is true that remote work in and of itself can be seen as a perk, but I also believe that correctly executed remote work is beneficial to everyone involved.

Closing Notes

If you want to go remote I recommend you do what I (we) did and get a remote working agreement that is signed by you and your employer. It should capture the terms of the remote work, such as work hours, visits, who pays for transport and how long much in advance a warning needs to be given for you to be called into the office.

The last point is quite important especially if you are expected to pay for transport (and possibly lodging) which can be much more expensive if booked spontaneously.