First out in this interview series, we have Rimas Mocevicius. Rimas is someone that I got to know from the London Kubernetes scene some time ago. He worked on Deis (before it got acquired by Microsoft) and is the co-creator of the popular Kubernetes packaging tool Helm. These days, Rimas works at JFrog and on their various Kubernetes tooling.

In this series, I am intending to interview people who work remotely about their habits and what they have learned over the years both about themselves and about what works and what doesn’t work in remote teams. I aspire to both interview individual contributors, as well as team leaders.

Without further ado, here is Rimas.

Can you tell me a bit more about yourself?

I am first and foremost a big open source fan. I like good food, coffee, tea and of course and I cannot say no to cheesecake and halva. I have a love for travels (both for work and pleasure).

How long have you been working remotely?

I have now been working remotely, for over four years.

Where are you based out of?

I’m currently based out of London, UK (a.k.a. Brexit nation)

Can you describe your home setup?

  • A large standing desk that can be adjusted for either standing or sitting. it allows chose when to sit or stand.
  • A big external screen for the MacBook, external keyboard and trackpad

A setup like this provides a great work space both in terms of ergonomics and productivity. By also having a docked laptop, it allows for easy travels, where you simply just bring the laptop without having to worry about syncing data.

What are some characteristics of a well functioning remote team?

Very good communication is key in a distributed team. It is important that everyone is on the same page, such that they can work on the relevant tasks in an asynchronous fashion.

In my case it is done mostly through Slack, with daily stand-ups as well as weekly meetings

How did remote work change or impact your life?

There are many benefits with working remotely. Not having to commute to work is a big plus, as it allows me to save a lot of time. It also allows me to spend more time with my family when I’m not traveling. Another perk is the ability to have flexible work hours, such that I can more efficiently schedule my days.

Other than your home base, what is your favorite place to work remotely from? I don’t have a favorite place to work remotely from, but I do end up traveling a lot. Much of my work is done on trains, airports and hotels, and in some cases on a beach somewhere.

What are some habits or rituals that you do to keeps you going?

One of the most important habits would be to always start and finish work at the same time, just like if you were going to a regular office. Without this, it’s easy to blur the line between work and personal time.

It’s also important to take breaks for tea/coffee and lunch. When working from home, it’s easy to just keep going all day, but the reality is you need those breaks to perform well.

For me, it’s important to exercise before work. It could be something simple like going for a walk in the morning. I also like to round off the day with a walk after work day too if possible.

It’s also important to not burn yourself out. If you have to stay late and work across time zones or for a deadline, it’s important to start a bit later the next day. If not, you’re going to create burn out eventually.

What are your favorite tools for collaboration?

My favorite tools right now include Slack, plain old email, Zoom, Git, and shared google docs.

Looking to learn more?

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