Before diving into our Remote Working Special, I would love to share a special memory of mine with you.
One year ago today, I was in Thailand, swimming in the pool of a hotel in Koh Phi Phi. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious and because it wasn’t in high season, the hotel cost around ~15€ per night (that’s gotta work out less than half of my nightly rent rate in Barcelona).
At the time, I was so happy and wished I could stay longer. There was a good internet connection (I was listening Spotify from the pool), and I had a desk in my room with a comfortable chair. When my holiday had finished, I just had to open my computer, type
git pull and start working. But unfortunately, my boss would only pay me if I was working from the office.
When I returned to Barcelona a week later, I quit my job and started working as a remote engineer for Mobile Jazz. Now, one year later, I would like to dedicate this special DevCraft issue to the Mobile Jazz team for making this possible and also for investing their time and money into spreading remote work culture.
In this special issue, we have collected the tools and resources that help us work remotely, we hope you find them useful.
Welcome to DevCraft #22! (Our 23rd Issue)
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These days you just can’t work without a decent internet connection. Whether you’re using a sim card and a cell network, or sharing a DSL connection with 15 people, these tools can help you to optimize your connection.
TripMode is a must have! When working on a data-limited connection, you probably won’t want Google Drive to start synchronizing. TripMode allows you to restrict data usage down to specific applications.
Depending on your location, you may find some of the webs content to be restricted. Using a VPN can allow you to bypass this.
This is a comprehensive wiki with information on a huge amount of of carriers around the world. Very useful if you’re planning to work on a trip.
The Roost is a lightweight and practical stand, famous between remote workers who suffer from back pains.
WiFi networks can easily suffer from congestion. Meaning you may have problems with video calls, even in a co-working space with a good connection. Take an ethernet cable to be the person with the highest priority packets on the network.
Multi-Plug Adapter, Cable Extension and Electricity Adapter
We have tested so many communication platforms over the past few years: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, HipChat and more. While each has its pros and cons, our tools of choice are Slack for messaging and Hangouts for video call.
If you demand more from video calling, you can give Zoom a try. It has a bunch of extra cool features such as sharing your smartphone screen, your audio card and even control of your mouse and keyboard.
Appear In is ultra quick, simple video calls. No sign-up required, just a simple link to share with someone.
If you work remotely, you’ll know how important good planning and organization is.
We use Asana because it can adapt to any work flow you may have. It’s free plan is also brilliant, but don’t be worried about scalability, at Mobile Jazz, we have more than 20 people using it (not counting our clients) and it works perfectly.
Whether inspiration strikes at 6am or 10pm, no one will stop you from working. Counting the hours you work collects extremely useful data. From reviewing productivity, for future estimations and billing your clients, Harvest is perfect for tracking time.
Toggl is another time tracker, similar to Harvest, but we feel it’s better for smaller teams or freelancers. Both tools have great native and mobile applications.
The Art (or Discipline) of Remote Working
If you’re working remotely, you have to understand that your workmates may not be working on the same piece as you right now. Or maybe an interrupting video call isn’t the right platform to ask an irrelevant question. Organizing the entire company around asynchronous communication is really important, and GitLab have written all about it in their handbook.
Buffer was one of the first companies to advocate remote working. Their blog, Buffer Open, is full of fantastic resources on remote working, check it out.
Everyone is talking about how cool remotely working is, but nobody talks about it’s dark side: it gets lonely sometimes. Sometimes you can even feel disconnected from your own team and if you have impostor syndrome, things are not going to be easy for you. Here’s some help from fellow remote workers, with practical tips to help you during dark days.
No matter if you are working from a home office or from a co-working space in South-East Asia, if you spend long periods of time sitting, your back will suffer. Likewise, if the environment is not the right, you’ll find it difficult to concentrate.
If you are curious about remote work and want to learn more, here are the best books on the subject.
A book from Basecamp founders DHH and Jason Fried explaining the benefits and challenges of remote working. An enlightening must-read for every remote worker.
Another book from a remote company’s founder: Scott Berkun of Automattic – the mother of WordPress. This book describes the challenges WordPress faced while developing a 300+ people remote business.
For the Nomads
When you travel on holiday, you live in a bubble in which you only need to cover your basic human needs (a lot of food, margaritas, sun protection…). However, when your travel takes months instead of weeks, these tricks and tools may just help you in your day-to-day life.
Whether you need a snack, a haircut or to find a place to work from, Foursquare will become a valuable friend.
A free and easy to use currency exchange app. More accurate and faster than using your brain’s CPU.
Don’t waste your time in a foreign country browsing YouTube. Go outside, meet the locals and use Downie to download videos to watch later at the airport.
If you’re in nomad mode, reduce your budget for restaurants and parties and use the money to get good insurance. A simple sprained ankle can pose a huge problem if you don’t have access to an adequate doctor.
Before traveling, make sure you can get hold of the foreign currency without paying ridiculous commission. It’s also very handy if your bank has 24/7 phone and online support.
Still don’t have a remote job?
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A curated list of awesome remote working resources.
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If you’re a remote worker who usually works from home, don’t forget to put extra effort into socializing.