2 min read

On being a digital nomad

Why Digital Nomad/Remote Working Lifestyle?
  1. How people work is changing and with advancing technology, location is becoming less important. People are looking at alternative lifestyles, challenging status quo to work better and redefine what it is to have a good life.
  2. Travel the world, learn new things and experience new cultures. I am amazed that people have such different lifestyles once you get out of the 9 - 5 routine.
  3. Independence and freedom to live where ever you please.
  4. Good quality of life and great savings, because of global arbitrage.
  5. Augment immigration and work laws of different countries.
  6. Great collaboration tools and they can only get better.
Why not Digital Nomad/Remote Working Lifestyle?
  1. You don't have your coworkers next to you and associated concerns with being in sync with the vision, product and ideas discussed day to day.
  2. "Out of sight, out of mind" that you need to accept and proactively work with communicating transparently, effectively and constantly
  3. If you don't have the discipline to set work hours and stick to you it, its easy to fall into a holiday mood.
  4. Close friends and relationships take a hit. Most people you meet are there where you are only for a short term.

That being said, there are successful companies like Github, Buffer, Baremetrics, StackOverflow, 37 Signals that thrive being remote and its just the beginning to see how the culture scales in a decade.

What I have seen to work better being remote.
  • Get a coworking space. Don’t work from home. Create your own office. Coffee places are good - you can guarantee a good connection. The advantage of the coworking space is the community of potentially remote workers that you can connect with.
  • Take notes on all video calls,meetings and ideally email it to the team as a summary everyday or just for yourself so you know what you worked on. Its a daily summary of what you worked on.
  • Set the hours and days you want to work for the week beforehand and let your team know. Show yourself. Sync this with at least 4 hour everyday where the team all works together.
  • If you can’t meet a deadline, let the team know in advance. Way in advance if you are remote. Shit happens.
  • Often talk to your team about the challenges of being remote and how it can be solved. Ask the team to write things down in chat or any other medium to keep things noted down and async.
  • Tools
    • Slack for day to day questions and discussions.
    • Github for code and PR reviews
    • Trello for threaded long term conversations on features
    • I use Droplr for sharing screenshots
  • Give yourself the time for ad hoc meetings. Be online, ping your team members for a quick 10 minute call. Let them to be open for it too. This is the digital alternative to going to your coworkers desk.
  • I still think remote work works best if the immediate team you are working with is small, < 7 members. I also think being a developer remotely has specific advantages aligned for being remote.
  • Keep all communication transparent and threaded. Start talking, typing more :)
  • Say Good morning
  • It takes a couple of weeks to feel comfortable but you'll get there :)