Shem, taking first steps into web development: "Remote work is more streamlined, modern and accessible"

Published by Laura Braškė
On December 04, 2019
Hello, Koa Brook! May you present yourself in a few words?
I'm a customer support professional with a technical emphasis, currently looking for my first step into front-end web development. In my spare time I code games and websites and love to write and walk.
You can check out my site, http://ShemTheDev.com for my portfolio. I also blog a little bit on http://Dev.To/ShemTheDev.
(Note: Koa Brook is my pen name for writing, Shem is my real name)

What were the advantages in your personal life to go full remote?
Working remotely allows me to focus more on my work without outside distractions in a zen-like trance where productivity just flows simply and easily. I like to walk a lot so working remote gives me opportunities to walk during my breaks or before work, sometimes even taking a long walk to somewhere peaceful before clocking in for the day. The possibilities are endless though-- making appointments and plans is much easier when you're remote, especially when you have flexible hours. I also enjoy that there's no "bridge" between being at work and doing my own thing which makes both more productive in my experience. I should also say that I despise having a commute and remote work is the perfect cure for that!

What are the tools you use with your customers?
Internally Slack is the go-to. As a support professional I use Intercom, Telegram and occasionally Zoom or Hangouts Meet to communicate with external customers.

When working remotely, do you prefer to work from home, a co-working space or other spaces?
I work at home 90% of the time. It's very productive for me. Occasionally I'll hit a coffee shop or tea room depending on where I am but I've yet to visit a co-working space. I'd like to give it a try sometime. Everyone keeps telling to go to Bali.

Would you ever go back to office work and hours?
Traditional work has to be on the table for me in a pinch and I'd take an office job if it was a high-quality offer, but NEVER over a matching (or even lesser) remote offer. I'd also never apply for office work if I was in a secure remote position, even to change roles. It's a complicated topic to me but in summary: in a pinch, I would consider it.

It's also far easier to apply for and interview for remote work- no travel, no arbitrary suit and tie required... Even the applications are more streamlined and sometimes even fun these days. A recent traditional office job I applied for had an online form that took me over two hours to fill out even though I provided a CV! On the contrary I applied for four remote positions with bespoke cover letters in under two hours and had a follow-up from two within a week. Everything about remote work is more streamlined, modern and accessible and I find it almost unnecessary to apply for local jobs.

Still, remote work isn't without its challenges. I find I have to make a big effort to socialize locally because I can easily not leave my house for days while working remote. It requires a lot more discipline to work constantly and uphold trust within your team than working in an office.

Is there something crazy you've already done thanks to working remotely?
I'm pretty boring, but my favourite thing is breakfast. I've had some amazing breakfasts working remotely. Log in, throw a steak on the grill... you get the idea! 

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