All this working remotely is going very well
So, we've crossed into month 5 of working remotely and things are going quite well. When we "left" the office in March, I expected this was a one, maybe two week long reaction to the Covid unknown. After I made a mad dash to grab my machine before they actually locked the doors, I knew things were getting serious.
That being said, we are just as busy as we were before, with plenty of projects to work on. There are site updates such as UI improvement, backend performance changes, refactoring code to make it more extensible, and lots of requested features. We have more than enough to easily carry us through the end of the year. In fact, we have more work than people.
I haven't been much for working from home, except during the holidays, and that's because so many other people are gone, there isn't a point in sitting in an empty office. But as things stand, we will remain working remotely through the end of the year at the earliest.
I'm certainly on board with that decision, not only from a safety standpoint, but because I don't think we have lost any productivity with the change in location. I work the same way as I did before, with the same machine and spending 90-95% of my time with my headphones on, working on tasks by myself. That only changed when I needed to attend the daily standup, or grooming session for new work.
Even when we were in the office, I would send Slack messages to the devs rather than getting up and walking over to them. Not because I couldn't or it would invoke their scorn, I simply didn't want to derail them while in the middle of coding.
As a team we've rolled out dozens of updates and improvements and have stuck with our two week deployment cadence. I've completed and made updates to my Katalon Regression Test Suite, which has also been used for each production deployment.
Taking all this into account, I have to admit, I prefer working remotely. Since there are no distractions of people walking around, talking on the phone, phones dinging and going off, I have long stretches where I focus on testing and coding. It's very easy to dig deep into a task and check off multiple items without breaking the "flow."
Further, I've gained two hours of personal time by not commuting. I use the extra time in the morning for my "Quarantine Summer Reading List." The time after work is for my exercise, which has been extremely beneficial both physically and mentally.
Working from home also makes for a pretty enjoyable day. We allow dogs in the office but my little "darling" doesn't always play well with others, so it's nice to have her sleeping on her little bed in front of my desk. I also get to have cheaper and healthier lunch options since I can cook right here. And I get to enjoy them on the deck, while I get some sun. I have my laptop close by while I read on the Kindle.
At this point, I'm leaning toward asking if working from home can be a permanent situation. I feel I'm getting more done under these conditions than in the office. Even taking training is easier since I don't self conscious about watching videos not strictly related to work.
The only glitches seem to be related to scheduling. The workday is still from 9-5, so meetings outside those hours since "it's the only time that's available" get declined. I use two separate machines, so unless arrangements have been made, that machine is off and I'm not available before 9:00 or after 5:30. Same for working over the weekend and trying to make up work that "slipped through the cracks." Just because people are home doesn't mean they are "available."
There are many attempts to double and even triple book time. Calendar etiquette and being organized is more crucial now than ever before. Scheduling two "critical" meetings at the same time is poor planning.
Those are minor complaints though.
I'm surprised things have escalated to the current levels, but for the foreseeable future, I will be working remotely, making the most of the time, and making a lot of progress.