Common misconceptions about working remotely in tech—and why they’re wrong
According to Stack Overflow’s 2017 Developer Survey, more than half of developers say remote work options are a top priority when looking for a new role.
Yet, if you’ve never held a flexible or work-from-home job, you might have doubts about whether working remotely is a good idea. Maybe you’ve seen one too many sounds-too-good-to-be-true online job listings. Or maybe you’re just so used to going into an office that it’s hard to imagine doing anything else.
We get it. Making the switch to remote work can be daunting. Let’s dig into a few common concerns:
1. You won’t really be part of a team
Engineering teams that collaborate remotely are becoming more and more common (skip down to #3 for some examples). Businesses are realizing that it’s not a smart hiring move to limit their search for talent just to Silicon Valley or other tech hubs — the best developers really are located all over the world. And over the past decade or so, technology that makes working from anywhere just as easy as working in an office has become readily accessible, which means teamwork doesn’t suffer.
Pro tip: Look for companies that are “remote first” or “100% remote,” meaning the company has a work-from-anywhere policy where all or most team members work remotely. That way, communication and processes will be optimized to benefit teams spread across multiple locations. On the other hand, if you’re just one of just a few folks who work from home, there’s the risk that in-office teammates might be prioritized, leaving you feeling like you’re not an equal member of the team. When everyone is working remotely, that levels the playing field.
2. Time zone differences make collaboration difficult
When many dev teams — both remote and co-located — are using online communication and project management tools like Slack, JIRA, or Trello, collaboration practices often look very similar for both types of teams. Technology has made remote collaboration just as easy, if not easier, than being in an office together.
One difference is that remote collaboration tends to be more asynchronous — it’s quite likely that a teammate might be working while you’re sleeping, or vice versa. That’s why it’s especially important for remote development teams to have clear communication about work hours and availability.
Pro tip: A tool like Spacetime makes scheduling meetings across time zones or seeing when a teammate is available quick and easy.
3. Remote jobs aren’t legitimate or aren’t as good an opportunity as traditional office jobs
In every industry, there’s the good and the bad — the same goes for remote developer jobs. While there might be some individuals or questionable businesses looking to take advantage of people willing to work remotely, it’s a mistake to characterize every remote job as a scam.
In fact, many established companies and growing startups alike are turning to remote hiring or even a fully distributed structure as a smart business strategy. Some well-respected names in the tech and software industries that have embraced remote work include Automattic, Fog Creek Software, Basecamp, and GitHub, among others. Businesses like these realize that many of the best candidates are looking for the flexibility and work-life balance that remote positions offer.
Pro tip: Do your research. Many remote-first companies emphasize that aspect of their organization in job listings or on their website—if remote work isn’t a focus in a company’s communications, then it may not be in practice either. Remote companies also tend to be upfront about compensation, expectations for availability, and collaboration practices. Use resources like Remote.co (where businesses—including Crossover!—share their remote work philosophies and practices) to get an insider’s look at companies of interest.
Working remotely at Crossover
Here at Crossover, we also work as a 100% remote team and have members in more than 100 countries and 2,000 cities around the globe. For us, a distributed structure means the ability to work with talented teammates around the world. It also means the flexibility to work wherever you want — whether that’s at your home office or on the move, checking off your travel bucket list.
We believe that just like computing and software have moved to the cloud, jobs — particularly high-skill jobs — have too. As a result, knowledge workers like developers now have the ability to perform any job function from any location.
“Being that I do passionately believe that all high-skill jobs go to the cloud, the amazing effect that actually ends up creating is that [location becomes] less and less relevant. It doesn’t really matter where in the world you are; you should have the opportunity to have a high-paying, high-skill job.”