Postmortem on working from Nebraska

I have spent the last three weeks working from Lincoln Nebraska, where my wife is in school. In fact, I am typing this from my plane back home. I decided that it might be interesting to talk about my experiences working remotely.

First, I would like to thank Microsoft for the opportunity to work remotely. I feel very very privileged to be given the chance. I know that few employers would be so understanding. I am very grateful for getting to see my wife for three straight weeks. It has been great. That said, spending half your time living apart from your wife isn't easy. Furthermore, aside from the fact that I have more flexibility over which NPR station to stream content from, I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that Seattle offers a living environment that is more to my liking.

Best parts:

  • I love the commute.
  • I love the fact that I can drink my breakfast coffee while at work.
  • I love having my refrigerator and stove at work – lunch has never tasted so good.
  • I love working when no one else is awake (Nebraska is on central time).
  • I was more productive. Probably because lunch took little time, I didn't have a commute, and I had fewer distractions.
  • Call forwarding worked well once I figured out how to enable it. People would call me without realizing what state I was in.
  • To anyone who doesn't know - remote desktop kicks ass


Not-so-great parts:

  • It is hard to hear people in meetings. I guess speech recognition is hard for humans too.
  • I miss 3:00 coffee. All of the debugger developers go to the cafeteria at 3:00 for a hot caffeinated beverage. For me, this means good chit-chat and a reasonable latte. In Nebraska there was no chit-chat and my espresso tasted fine, but somehow wasn't as good. Unfortunately the rest of the country hasn't yet realized that the correct number of coffee shops is one per block…
  • Can't TS into the console of Win 2k. This was only a problem once.
  • It is hard to pull yourself away from work in the evening. Come 4 PM Pacific, there is a lot going on at Microsoft.



  • Be careful not to get too sucked into work before you are done with morning activities. One of the first days that I worked remotely I forgot to take a shower.
  • I have worked remotely twice so far -- once for two weeks and once for three. After two weeks I didn't want to come back. After three weeks I didn't want to leave my wife, but I felt like seeing people at work would be good. I don't think I would recommend any longer.
  • My cable modem service has worked out well.
  • Complete with a 7200 RPM drive, my laptop can build the debugger faster then my dev box.
  • Getting my Virtual PC and my actual PC to have authenticated communication has been hard. I found it easier to use computers that are sitting in Redmond.


Thing to consider:

  • Next time I am going to try and hookup a second monitor to my laptop. Anyone played with multimon on a laptop?