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Lessons From Working Remotely as a Software Developer

Farzin Ahmed
Apr 11, 2019 · 4 min read

Hootsuite has been moving towards becoming a truly global company and one of the features of that is building asynchronous work environments. Working remotely has many benefits, but unless a team is optimized to work remotely, there needs to be some structure in place to accommodate a remote teammate.

“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” — Sir Richard Branson, Virgin America

Earlier this year, I decided I wanted to work remotely for a week for personal reasons. My team is located in Vancouver and usually does not work remotely for long stretches of time and therefore are not habituated to communicating across long distances and time zones. Under these circumstances, working with a 14 hour time difference proved to be an interesting challenge. Before I left, I took some steps to smooth out the process. Here is what I tried

Pre-plan your work (if you can)

Have a designated person to sync with everyday

Communicate more often

When I returned, we talked about my week of remote work during our sprint retrospective. Here are the lessons we learned from this experience

Have better descriptions on issues

If you’re working on a big issue, update issues to show progress

Take minutes on face to face meetings

Overall there were a lot of lessons learned from working remotely. I love the flexibility of working remotely while on vacation. I think it is important enough to continue iterating on the process of becoming better at communicating asynchronously. Do you work remotely? What does your team do to promote a remote working culture? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or reach out to me through email.

Farzin Ahmed is a junior software developer on the Engage team at Hootsuite. She is passionate about improving developer productivity and building efficient teams. When she’s not building software, she likes to hike, paint and play the guitar. Connect with her through LinkedIn!

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