Please introduce yourself briefly to our community.
Hi Remote Workers! My name is Rosa Dolson, I’m a remote software engineer. Currently, I’m based out of Bozeman, Montana in the United States. When I’m not behind my computer, I’m usually snuggling my sweet golden retriever, Tucker, or somewhere outside camping, hiking, or riding four wheelers.
What are your main reasons for joining Remote Workers?
The Remote Workers community is full of inspiring individuals that share enthusiasm for remote tech-based careers and nomadic lifestyles. I was naturally drawn to their passion and wanted to be a part of it!
When, how and why did you start working remotely?
My experience with remote work started when I attended my first coding bootcamp around two years ago. Four months later, I was hired by a company that operates on a completely remote basis, and I’ve been working for them ever since. I didn’t start my software development journey expecting to be working remotely, but I am very appreciative that it worked out that way.
Where do you usually work from?
Typically, I work from home. But being remote allows for a lot of variety, and sometimes I chose to work from a coffee shop for the afternoon, or the front seat of a moving vehicle when I am traveling.
What kind of hours do you keep for work?
At this point in time, I work ten hours a day Monday through Thursday. I start my day at 7:00AM and end at 5:00PM. The project I am currently working on is a co-op with a separate company located on the east coast, so with the time difference, this was most ideal schedule.
Do you also travel while working remotely? What are your favourite cities?
Traveling is one of my favorite things about working remotely! I have some exciting trips coming up in the next couple of years, and I’m really looking forward to them! I’m not the biggest fan of cities in general, but some places I do really love are Utah, Oregon, and northern California. And of course, you can’t get much better than Montana in my opinion.
In your opinion, what are the biggest benefits & biggest challenges of working remotely?
I think the biggest benefit is the flexibility it allows, whether that’s giving you the opportunity to travel and work all around the world, or just working from your bed when you feel sick.
The biggest challenges of working remotely are communication in the workplace and technology issues. It’s really easy to fall behind when your internet isn’t working or your computer breaks, and it can be really difficult to maintain a consistent flow of communication between coworkers (which is a necessary part of making progress on a fast-paced project).
Are there any tools do you use on daily basis?
The tools I use on a daily basis for work are Slack, Zoom, GitLab, and Jira. I also use Google Calendar to keep track of work events and meetings. For my personal projects, I like using Trello, though more frequently I find myself just writing notes on paper or in my phone to keep track of what I need to be doing.
How do you stay motivated and focused during the day?
Staying motivated while working from home is not always the easiest, there are a lot of distractions. I find that I am the most productive when I make sure I have a set to-do list, sit in a quiet spot, and keep my phone turned off. When I find myself getting sidetracked, I like to get up and take a short break in order to refocus, grab a snack, move to a different workspace, and then return to work again.
How do you make sure you switch off from work?
I find it’s the easiest to unplug when I’ve been as productive as possible throughout the day, ideally checking off all the daily tasks on my list. Something about that sense of accomplishment makes it much easier to switch out of work-mode and relax.
On the less productive days, it’s more of a struggle because I feel more obligated to compensate for not getting as many things finished. Those are the days I find I can get burnt out trying to work a lot of extra hours, so I usually have to be very time conscious. When the end of the day rolls around, I force myself to physically close my laptop and do something else like go to the gym, cook dinner, or play fetch with the dog.
What advice would you give remote beginners that are planning & looking how to start working remotely?
Learn to self motivate, and hold yourself accountable for the work you’re doing (or not doing). Build a portfolio for whatever field you’re trying to get into, and get in contact with as many people in that same line of work as you can. Networking is an awesome way to find work and make friends!
Has your remote job impacted your life outside of work?
Yes, I think it has. It has opened up a lot of opportunities for travel and has allowed me to maintain a much more relaxed lifestyle (If I want to stay in sweats all day, you better believe I’m going to). It has also allowed me to home cook all of my meals, so no more skipping breakfast or buying drive-through lunches (saving money, and staying healthier!).
How do you cope with feeling lonely while working remotely?
I try to maintain as much contact with my co-workers as I can during the day. I communicate with my team via Slack, we have a standup meeting call every single morning, and also the occasional video call or screen share to work through code problems.
Also, I spend a lot of time with friends and family. One of my friends who lives nearby is also a remote software developer, so we work together almost daily.
Would you ever consider returning to a traditional job?
Giving up this lifestyle would be really difficult, so I think I would only return to a traditional job if I had no other options.