Ben Dodson

Freelance iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV Developer

Working Remotely

I was recently asked by to take part in a new Q&A section about remote workers. You can read the full Q&A on their website but I’ve put some of their questions and my answers below:

What advice would you give someone considering going remote?

Discipline. It takes a lot of discipline to work remotely as you’ll find that it is very easy to put off a piece of work when you’re sitting at home. There are no firewalls stopping you from accessing Facebook and Twitter, the Xbox might be sat saying “just one more game”, and before you know it a month has passed and you’ve done nothing.

How do you avoid becoming distracted when working remotely?

I have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that I bought for working in an open-plan office but they work at home for me as the act of putting them on puts me into “work mode”. The only problem was that if the doorbell went (sidenote: great advantage of working from home is you never miss an Amazon delivery) I wouldn’t hear it; I fixed that by hooking it up to a Philips Hue lightbulb on my desk so I get a visual alert.

Do you have a dedicated home office?

I do have a dedicated room for work. I have a small desk with a 5k iMac and an external 1080p monitor in portrait mode (I find this better for webpages and iPhone simulators). Apart from the computer, my desk only has space for my tea and water and a Blue Yeti microphone I use for podcasting and Skype. I have lots of bookshelves (mainly full of LEGO) and a small orchid by the window.

What’s the hardest part about working with a traditional team while you’re remote? How do you overcome it?

I find the hardest thing is that traditional teams will want to have meetings all the time. They also want you to pop into the office fairly frequently for reasons unknown to me. I’m pretty good at telling prospective clients that I only work remotely and that I don’t do daily catch up calls; I get a good handle for the project and then do a week or two of work before sending over a build for feedback.

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