(I wrote this post over a month ago but failed to realize it never actually published. In light of current events, I’m pushing this again)

I’ve been working remote for nearly 5 years and two companies now. There’s a set of questions/comments I seem to get pretty frequently.

  • “Do you work from coffee shops?” No, I have a very nice desk setup and being away from it really throws me off. I do need to get better at this though because I need a backup plan. Sometimes you wake up and discover your water is going to be off for an entire day to fix decaying public infrastructure so working from your house isn’t the best option. This is one of the downsides of working from home: you are ultimately responsible for the space in addition to getting your work done.

  • “What kind of chair/desk do you have?” I have an Uplift Desk. I’ll freely admit I don’t use the standing feature very often but I do like being able to adjust the height when I need it. I also have a keyboard tray which I really like. I bought a used Steelcase Leap from an office furniture reseller at a large discount. I can’t recommend getting a proper office chair enough if you plan to work from home more than occasionally. The few times I have had to use kitchen chairs have been absolutely miserable.

  • “What kind of space do you work in?” The place I currently has a room with a door that is dedicated as my office space. This works really well because I can shut the door as needed. The place I lived previously was a 2br condo and my work space was shared with the guest bed and my spouse’s gaming machine. This worked well enough but I prefer having a dedicated space. If your workspace is shared with someone else, communication and coordination is key.

  • “You must save a lot of money” Yes and no. I certainly save on transportation costs since I don’t commute. I also don’t buy clothes for work nearly as much. Working from home can be more expensive than you might think simply because you are covering things that you may take for granted. When I first started working from home, I was shocked how much more frequently I was having to buy toilet paper and tissues. You will almost certainly end up wanting to print the occasional document so you either end up paying for a printer or finding somewhere to print. You have to cover all your own office supplies (pens, tape etc.). None of this is necessarily a huge expense but it can add up.

  • “Do you get lonely?” Not particularly. I tend towards introversion so not being around of a lot of people is my preferred setup. It makes it easier to plan when I do want to be around people. I do try to make sure I get out of the house at least once a day (go to the store, go for a walk etc.) just for a change of scenery.

  • “Is it hard for you to stop working?” No harder than it was when I was in an office. Remote work doesn’t change who you are so if you overwork while in an office you’re still going to want to overwork while remote. If I’m working on something, I’ll want to keep going until I get to a good stopping point. If I’m at a stopping point a little early, I might just stop. Good managers will let you manage your own time as long as you are meeting expectations. Making sure I have a specific “work” area does help to make sure I’m done for the day.

  • “Do you think you’ll ever go back to working in an office?” I wouldn’t rule it out under the right circumstances. Being remote has allowed me to do things like move thousands of miles (twice) I probably wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. But that flexibility can come with other trade offs where I might miss out on other in-office only opportunities. I’m happy where I am today but we’ll see where life takes me. If an office opened where I live I’d be very excited!