Is Remote Work Right For Me?

What to consider before accepting a remote data science position

Posted on August 24, 2020

Is a remote data science job a good fit?

Remote working has been on the upswing in the past years. According to Flexjobs, remote working has grown by a whopping 44% just in the past five years, and 91% in the last decade. More recently with the advent of Covid-19, remote working has become the dominant work environment for data scientists, analysts, and engineers for the time being. Moreover, the infrastructure to set up remote working has grown ever more prevalent with tools such as Slack, Zoom, and WebEx. Here are a few things to consider before applying or joining a remote working position.

Company Experience with Remote Working Environments

Despite its increasing prevalence, remote working is still new for most data science teams. In particular, the sudden unexpected transition from the office to the home due to Covid-19 has upended long established routines. Hence, many teams are just now experimenting with remote working tools, communication, and expectations. Moreover, the sudden transition to a new form of working in highly stressful time period filled with great uncertainty may adversely impact how management and staff view remote working. Therefore, caution may be advised prior to joining a team that has not had remote working history. Often, data science teams have already had some flexible work environments that facilitated part-time working from home. Fully remote and part-time remote teams have the experience, infrastructure, and communication tools skills developed to accommodate new remote data scientists.

Personality Fit

Remote working has significant benefits such as no commutes, work flexibility, and more time with family. Employees often report higher productivity and satisfaction in their home environment. However, it is not always a right fit for everyone. Some people miss the office space social connectivity. Others feel there is less communication between employees and management. Some people report being easily distracted at home especially if they live in shared accommodations. Finally, some people like a defined separation between the home and work setting. Therefore, it may be wise to try out remote working a few days a week to assess compatibility before taking the plunge to a fully remote environment.

Remote Working Tips

Remote working has significant advantages over the traditional office working environment. It is advisable to set up a dedicated office space within your home. Ideally, the office space has all the right material, high speed internet connectivity, and is a distraction free zone. In addition, it is advisable to develop metrics to track work progress for employees and management. For those who crave social interactions, there are dedicated office spaces, cafes, and lounges to work from in a shared space. In addition, reach out to your coworkers online and keep in close contact. Close relationships are often developed between teammates in an online setting. Make sure to remember that teammates maybe in different time zones or scattered across the globe. Finally, take an occasional break to leave your house!