I've been working remotely from Maui full time since 2007. My home
office is optimized for productivity.
Some Famous Authors on Telecommuting
Jeff Attwood (who started Stack Overflow) has a great article on this
topic, On Working
The reason remote development worked for us, in retrospect, wasn't
just shared love of code. I picked developers who I knew – I had
incontrovertible proof – were amazing programmers. I'm not saying
they're perfect, far from it, merely that they were top programmers by
any metric you'd care to measure. That's why they were able to work
remotely. Newbie programmers, or competent programmers who are phoning
it in, are absolutely not going to have the moxie necessary to get
things done remotely – at least, not without a pointy haired manager,
or grumpy old team lead, breathing down their neck. Don't even think
about working remotely with anyone who doesn't freakin' bleed ones and
zeros, and has a proven track record of getting things done.
Jason Freid and David Heinemeier Hansson (aka DHH) have an upcoming book
on the topic: Remote: Office Not
These are the guys that wrote
Here's a quote from that book:
It's crazy not to hire the best people just because they live far
away. Especially now that there's so much technology out there making
it easier to bring everyone together online.
Also, meet in person once in a while. You should see each other at
least every few months. We make sure our whole team gets together a
few times a year. These are great times to review progress, discuss
what's going right or wrong, plan for the future, and get reacquainted
with one another on a personal level.
The Ruby Rogues recently commented on telecommuting on episode: 108 RR
Ruby Trends, at 33:26, or
scroll down for the transcript. Here's a snippet, although I prefer
listening to the podcast (at 1.5x speed on my iPhone).
KATRINA: Thoughtbot also had a no-remote-work policy. And then, they
lost too many people. And then, when one of their other best guys was
going to move to Sweden, I think, he was like, “Okay. I’m quitting
because I’m moving to Sweden.” And they were like, “Maybe we should
rethink this.” [Chuckles]
Productivity Features of My Home Office
- FAST Internet. I've got 35/7 cable plus 7/1 DSL on a ZyXEL load
on a UPS. Even if the power goes out, it's likely I can still work
at nearly 100% with the network still running. And one person's
upload of a movie to youtube has no perceptible affect on the
network. Previously, with only DSL, one person's upload of a movie
would bring the network to a crawl.
- FAST computers with many large monitors
- A/C, not only to control the temperature (which can be important
in Hawaii), but also to block out any noise, such as when the
gardeners come to mow.
- A nice sound system. Depending on my mood, I may prefer
listening to Mozart, Moby, or the Rolling Stones on
Pandora when coding.
- Ergonomics: keyboard
really good chair, wireless mouse
- Microphone, pro-quality: Blue
- Multiple phone lines
coffee maker and Breville Tea
I use both of these every single day. The tea maker can turn you
into a tea lover of green tea, even if you didn't care much for
bagged green tea.
- When teleconferencing using the Yeti Mic, it's best to use the only
a speaker from the computer or monitor that is behind the mic. If
you have speakers around your office, and you use those, then you'll
get an echo effect on the microphone, which can be configured to
only take sound from the front.
If you've got any tips I missed, let me know!