A remote software engineer job is so much more than just coding.
This is part seven in a series about how we work at Bunny Studio. We’re a remote company, so we’re based all over the world. We live different lives and come from different cultures, so our ways of working are unique. This is a place where we talk about the challenges of working remotely, as well as share our experiences.
Want to learn how to work remotely? We don’t have all the answers, but here’s how each of us makes it work for us.
But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
How long have you worked remotely?
I don’t know how to answer that question. [laughs] Bunny Studio is the first fully remote company I’ve worked for, in that our culture puts remote working first. All of us can work from wherever we want or need to. I’ve worked here since June 2018.
Is Bunny Studio the first remote company you’ve worked for?
I’ve worked as a freelancer before, and then for a company based in Malta. So I’m used to working from home but, like I mentioned, Bunny Studio is the first fully-remote company I’ve worked for.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I wake up at around 9am and start work pretty soon after that. The first thing I do is check my calendar and list out what I need to get done — like, is it going to be a long or short day? At 11am my time, the whole engineering team gets together in a video call to update each other on their tasks for that day, ask each other questions, that sort of thing.
After that meeting, I keep working and then have a lunch break at around 1pm. After that, it’s back to work, although if I need to run errands I’m free to do that. I need to keep my team informed if I’m going to be away from my computer, of course, but I’m free to manage my time responsibly. Communication is key in all workplaces, but especially if you work remotely so you need to make sure you stay responsive throughout the day.
I usually work until 7pm or 8pm, depending on the day. If I had to run errands in the afternoon or if it was a really busy day, I might end around 9pm. It’s a schedule that works well for me — there’s time to do my work and time keep my personal life going, too.
What does your workspace look like?
Well, I do most of my work at home. About one day a week or so, I’ll work from a coworking space, but I prefer my little office here. My wife works from home too, so we have two big tables in our office, one for each of us. On my table, I’ve got a massive monitor (I’m an engineer, what can I say?), speakers so I can listen to music, two headsets (one wired, one wireless)… basically everything I need to work well.
Music is very important to me. I listen to it while I work and I play guitar in my free time. My guitars, an acoustic and an electric, hang on the wall in my office. Right in front of me, so I can look at them while I work and dream of playing. I like to be surrounded by things that bring me joy. It calms me and helps me work.
How does working remotely benefit you?
I have the freedom to manage my time and look after myself now. Which is amazing! I’ve taken up tennis, for example. As long as I structure my time correctly, and keep my teammates informed, I have the ability to do the things I enjoy. I mean, if I have friends coming to town, I can take a couple hours off, go to the zoo with them, then come back and finish my work later. I mean, I’m joking, I’ve haven’t gone to the zoo in ages but if I wanted to I could. Basically, I have a lot of freedom. With that freedom comes responsibility, of course, but it’s definitely worth it.
What challenges do you face when working remotely?
I don’t feel alone, but fighting loneliness is definitely a challenge. Because I have daily contact with my team, and other meetings on the regular, I don’t have time to feel alone. This is definitely unique to Bunny Studio and something that makes us the best remote company to work for. We make it a priority to connect with each other on a daily basis, so that no one feels isolated.
Another challenge is keeping yourself focused. I struggle with this… sometimes I just want to play my guitar! A thing that helps, though, is our company-wide, voluntary Headspace subscription. Every weekday, I take a short break in the afternoon to meditate. And it has been so helpful! I don’t have brain fog in the afternoons now. Daily meditation has bettered my mind, definitely, and bettered my work.
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about making the change to remote work?
Never stop practicing and improving your skills. In order to get a remote software engineer job at a good company, you need good tech skills. Obviously. But you need other skills too. Communication skills are super important, as are English language skills. Most remote companies work in English, after all.
The most important thing, though, is how you treat people. Treat everyone, absolutely everyone, with respect. Be open minded about other people’s cultures, religions, ways of life. If you’re not an open minded, respectful, empathetic, courteous person… you’ll find it hard to work remotely. You’re going to meet so many different types of people on this path. Be respectful. That’s the most important thing.
Did your life change when you started working remotely? If so, how?
Yeah, definitely. From just a financial perspective, things have gotten much easier. I don’t need to commute to work, so I save money that way. I also make my own food, so I don’t spend money on eating at cafes for lunch. I’ve gotten healthier overall, especially since that with my flexible work schedule, I have more time to exercise. I can live further away from the center of town too, so my rent is cheaper. All in all, working remotely is a smart financial and health decision, although I didn’t expect that when I started.
Thanks so much! Anything else you’d like to add?
How to work remotely will depend on you. Some people like working in the morning, some in the afternoon. Some people can only work from home, other people need to leave the house and go to a co-working space. Everyone is different. What we have in common, though, is a high level of respect for everyone — our colleagues, of course, but also humanity in general. We’re an empathetic bunch. So here’s my main advice, my top tips on how to succeed in a remote software engineer job: don’t be rude, don’t gossip, always be honest and keep all your doors open. If something is bothering you, talk about it calmly and do your best to come up with a workable solution. That’s the best advice I can give you.
Interview conducted by Emmy Tither.