It has officially been one year since my life changed in a big way. It’s been one year since I last “went to work.”

And the idea of that somehow seems wrong, I feel sometimes as though I’m cheating the system. When I need to get started in the morning, I make some coffee and walk over to my desk. It shouldn’t be this easy should it? But it is, and my quality of life has increased tremendously.

That’s not to say that working remotely is for everyone. It definitely comes with its own set of challenges. But for a certain group of people (myself included), it is a major benefit. And I think the type of person that enjoys working remotely is often the type of person that is well suited for it.

In order to work remotely you have to be able to manage your time well. You have to be able to turn on laser focus to work through your tasks, knowing that there isn’t a manager around the corner to press you about it. But for the type of person who excels in a remote environment, that managerial pressure was always a huge hindrance.

My development knowledge exploded when I first started working remotely. Not because the tasks changed, they were the same. But because I didn’t have the pressure of people looking over my shoulder all the time, I suddenly gained the freedom to research further into what I was doing without fear of looking like I was wasting time. I feel comfortable watching a 10 minute youtube overview about some new API I need to integrate. That’s certainly not to say my previous in-office managers would have ever disapproved of that, far from it. It was a self imposed restriction, but a restriction nonetheless.

Working remotely changed my approach to tasks. Before I would immediately rush into an assigned task without considering it. Now I look at the big picture, the context, and I am a much better programmer and team member because of it. Further, when I start working on a task, I can actually get it completed in a reasonable time frame without interruption. In office environments, you always have a certain ‘tyranny of the urgent’. Managers tap you on the shoulder about ideas for features or bugs that need fixing. It’s amazing how much time those interruptions add up to, and how much context switching overhead is added. I don’t miss this.

No, I don’t get to go to lunch with my colleagues, or happy hour after work. I very much miss that, but it is a small trade considering the huge advantages I’ve discovered.

Remote working changed my outlook on programming and made me a better developer. I don’t know if I can ever go back.