In Kinsey Durham’s new life, she’s getting used to a more flexible and focused daily routine. Her secret? Kinsey left her old in-office job to become a fully-remote software engineer at DigitalOcean! As we learned about her her day-to-day, we realized that remote work is no longer such a controversial idea. In fact, when companies embrace it, it can even increase the productivity of individual contributors.
Reclaiming the day
Each morning, Kinsey wakes up and has the flexibility to structure her day. She usually takes her dog on a walk, makes a cup of black coffee, then immediately starts coding. Kinsey’s home in Denver is two hours ahead of the DigitalOcean HQ in New York City, so she often chooses to start her day early to align her work schedule with the rest of her team.
“Now my commute is walking across the hallway instead of driving downtown. It takes away the stress of my morning, and lets me work on my schedule.”
Making space for work at home
Kinsey's home office is in the guest room. It includes a devoted desk, an external monitor, an office chair, and plenty of natural light. The separated office space helps her create a distinction between work and home.
“I don’t sit on my bed or my couch while I work. I go to my home office and sit in the chair. I know when I’m in there it’s time to work.”
Not the typical 9-5
Kinsey’s team synchronizes with a daily stand-up meeting and a weekly sprint planning meetings over a video call. Other than that, Kinsey has flexibility throughout the day, and there are no strict working hours.
A Pomodoro timer is one of Kinsey’s favorite tools. The timer is set up for 25 minutes of work, and 5 minutes of rest. She repeats these cycles throughout the day to maintain focus. Even doing something like laundry for a few minutes during a break helps her think through problems and figure out how to move forward.
As a naturally social person, Kinsey likes how easy it is to stay connected with her team. DigitalOcean adds Zoom video call links to every meeting so remote employees can join from anywhere. When she needs help, she does video calls to pair with co-workers or asks for advice on Slack. She often gets pointed to the well-documented internal code base at DigitalOcean.
“I feel connected to my team and the company. My co-workers seem more diverse compared to other companies where I’ve been. I think that’s because of the flexibility and the work-life balance you get with a remote culture. “
Reclaiming social time
Once Kinsey started working from home, she found her free time again. She does what she wants on the weekend because she has more time to get things done at home during the week.
“I can do things after work again! I’m not just sitting in traffic at the end of the day and then rushing home to take care of my dog.”
The future of work
Remote work still seems like an alternative lifestyle to most people. However, 43% of US employees already do it for at least part of their work week. The supposed downsides of remote workers, such as less structured days and not enough managerial oversight, become benefits for makers who need long periods of uninterrupted time to complete work.
Kinsey’s ease of transitioning to a remote job stands out. When companies build remote into their workflows, location no longer becomes such a big factor in working or hiring.
More about Kinsey Durham:
Kinsey is an engineer at DigitalOcean working remotely in Denver, CO. Previously, she was a software engineer at GoSpotCheck, Galvanize and thoughtbot. She also teaches students from around the globe how to write code through a program called Bloc. She has spoken at software engineering conferences all over the world and in the US. She co-founded a non-profit called Kubmo in 2013 that teaches and builds technology curriculum for women’s empowerment programs around the world. She also helps run the Scholar and Guide Program for Ruby Central conferences. In her free time, she enjoys fly fishing and adventuring in Colorado’s outdoors with her dog, Harleigh.
Recommended reading from Kinsey: