There Are No Snow Days When You Work Remote

Jennifer Wadella

Jennifer Wadella


  • 9-5 Remote Angular Consultant
  • Nonprofit Founder/Director
  • International Speaker
  • Kombucha brewin' crazy plant lady

This talk may contain strong language, harsh truths, and serious passion.

You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.

Some of us are more prepared than others

Check on the Extroverts in your life, They're Not OK

I have needs

Remote Survival Guide

  • Implement personal success strategies
  • Protect yourself from employer transition chaos
  • Practice Self Care

Strategies to be an effective remote worker.

Strategy 1

Create a Productive Environment

Establish an Office Area

Your Office

Maintain a clean office environment.

Pimp Your Office\'

Follow a Dress Code

work from home wardrobe

Get dressed every day.

Strategy 2

Establish & Maintain Boundaries

kids interupting meeting

Boundary: Maintain Office Hours

Start and end your day at consistent times. At the end of the work day LEAVE YOUR DAMN DESK!

Boundary: Take a Lunch Break

Eat your food, go for a walk, browse reddit. Breaks are good!

Boundary: Explain Boundaries to Family/friends

  • Use a closed door if possible.
  • Have a very visual indication of when you are working and not to be interrupted.
  • Have a special code word or phrase (for when you want to scream "I'M WORKING RIGHT NOW")

Boundary: Become a Timezone Pro

Just because you can meet doesn't mean you should

How to add a secondary timezone to Google Calendar | Outlook

Strategy 3

Avoid "remote traps"

Trap: Not Showering

Shower. Every. Day.

Trap: Doing Chores

Don't do them during your office hours. They will suck you work hours and corrupt your attention span.

Trap: Slack, social media, and other distractions

Use website blockers or tools -

Trap - working from bed

Strategy 4

Be "Visible" in the company

Check in with your Team

Make Others Aware of Your Progress

Let others know when you're be AFK

TLDR; Be Transparent

Get Comfortable Asking for Help

Contribute to Team Culture

Strategy 5

Engage With Your Local Tech Community


User Groups

Find a group in your area.

Find Mentoring Opportunities

Survive Employer Transition to Remote

You can only be as successful as your environment will allow.

Likely Remote Company Struggles

  1. Shifting to Remote Meetings
  2. Managing expectations
  3. Having clear and always-available task management
  4. Effective communication
  5. Having appropriate performance evaluation systems in place

Meetings ....

Should always be on the calendar.

Should always include necessary join links, numbers, and access codes to call in.

Should be password protected.

Meetings ....

Should be scheduled in consideration of workers in different timezones.

Up Your Calendar-Fu

Managing Expectations

cats on video call

Expectations to Discuss

  • In office hours
  • Preferred communication medium
  • Video call protocol
  • Home environment control
  • Child care constraints

Clear and always-available task management

As a remote worker, I should be able to get online any time, any where and be able to view my workload AND have the documentation necessary to execute on my job.

  • Github?
  • Trello?
  • Jira?
  • Doesn't matter.

Task management system just needs to allow for autonomous employees to pick up work as needed and communicate ticket progress to team.

Tasks ....

  • Have clearly outlined requirements
  • Have steps for completion
  • Have priorities or due dates

Effective Communication

A company that sucks at communicating in person will EXCEPTIONALLY SUCK in a remote environment.

Communication Considerations

Is company-wide information being relayed?

What tools are used for daily communication?

Is the team being made aware of goals, progress, and changes?

What happens when you have a blocker from someone who is AFK?

Slack != documentation

Slack != documentation

Slack != documentation

There should be documentation around

  • Environment setup
  • Build processes
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Company code standards
  • Migrations, environment changes, etc

TL;DR Documentation should be available to help workers execute as autonomously as possible.

Having appropriate performance evaluation systems in place

Bullshit metrics meme

Non-remote companies often use "butt-in-seat" as a crutch to evaluate

Evaluation considerations

Who is setting eval metrics?

What is the technical expertise of management?

What metrics are currently in place?

How is performance judged?

How do you prove you’re worth your paycheck?

I'm not sure who needs to hear this, but 'we support remote, we just all sit in a Google Hangout all day all the time' is *NOT* supporting remote, it's supporting your managerial insecurity over what people are doing.

REMINDER: You can only be as successful as your environment will allow.

Companies with remote workers will have their management practices successes and failures magnified immensely.


Recommend tools, solutions, and policy drafts.

Practice Self Care

Further Resources

Remote Work Job Listings


corgi head tilt

Slides available at:

@likeOMGitsFEDAY #nosnowdays #Thunderplains