My Thoughts On Remote Working, AKA Working From Home

remote working desk setup

I am an advocate for remote working flexibility in companies where it makes sense. I think there are huge benefits for both employers and employees when it comes down to offering this style of working. Here is why I think that this is the case:

Quality of life improvements

Remote workers get more free time in a typical working day where they work from home. No commute to worry about means that they can spend more time with family in the morning before work, or the evening after work.

Alternatively, they get more personal time to do things that they would like to do, but couldn’t really do if they were otherwise commuting.

I personally spend time early in the morning or in the evenings after work sharing it between family time and personal time. For example here are some of the activities I like to use the extra time for:

  • Helping with kids breakfast time
  • School readiness / transport
  • Meditation
  • Spend 30 minutes working on personal projects
  • Go to the gym or go for a quick run

Employers benefit from the positive effects that remote working has on employees

In my experience and opinion, remote workers that don’t have to deal with the monotonous cycle of commuting every day to their jobs tend to approach their work with extra enthusiasm and drive.

Employers benefit from more efficient and energetic employees.

In my case I personally don’t mind throwing in an extra hour or two of work on top of my usual hours when I work remotely. A typical commute for me in and out of work would take around 3 to 4 hours.

If I find myself making good headway on a project and want to continue the momentum I’ve picked up during the day to get good work done, I’ll gladly spend extra time after hours to do so. I count the time spent less commuting as credit toward extra overtime.

Balancing remote work and on-site work

Of course too much one thing can have its drawbacks. My personal preference is a bias of more remote work in a typical work week than on-site work.

I think having 1 or 2 days or work on-site during a work week is plenty to balance things out.

There are definite benefits to seeing colleagues in person and having those face to face conversations. Pairing work is also good to get done in person.

When I’m on-site, I will make extra effort to:

  • Catch up with colleagues in the mornings
  • Grab a coffee or two with colleagues for personal or work related conversations at random break intervals during the day, or between meetings
  • Go out for lunch with team members
  • See if there is work we can pair on – e.g. pair programming or problem solving

In addition to the above, I also try to plan my on-site work days to coincide with days where there are meetings scheduled. For example, sprint planning or retrospective meetings.

Potentially More Desk Space

Working from home can give you a potentially better workspace. As long as you have the room, you can deck your area out to your liking.

Here is a post about my Jarvis Standing Desk and workspace configuration.

In summary

I think there are some clear benefits to working remotely. These mainly come in the form of the positive effects on employee lives being passed on to their work and outlook on their work.

VMware vExpert for 2013

This is a bit of a delayed reaction to the vExpert 2013 announcements late last month, but I have been very busy and didn’t have time to finish posting the below on the day…

I woke up this morning to a flurry of tweets announcing the vExpert 2013 nominations. I was honoured to have received this title for a second year running now. Four of my colleagues at Xtravirt also received the title, as did 25 or so fellow London VMUG members. In total there were 500 or so people that received this title for 2013, out of 850 applicants. Congratulations to all who were nominated this year around!

Along with the flurry of activity on twitter came the inevitable blog posts. Two of my favourite so far are from @dawoo and @rimmergram.

Jane’s post rang true for me as one topic she covered was the perceived negativity to the announcements from some. I had also noticed a little bit of negativity from others on twitter around the announcements and the greater number of vExperts this year. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions. For me, I was just honoured to be able to keep the title for a second year around. This means I was able to keep at my quest for sharing knowledge in 2012 – my main platform being this blog.

Going slightly off topic, I did a look up on Google Analytics the other day, and has been running for 5 years now! In that time it has received almost 300 000 page views.It started off as a really old version of WordPress running on a humble Dell Optiplex PC at one of my previous abodes, running on top of a VMware Server 2.0 VM (uBuntu Server with Apache, mySQL and PHP). After 6 months of PC issues and website outages, I decided to go the hosted route. It is a great feeling to know that many people have benefited from the content of my blog, and I hope to continue this trend throughout 2013.

For those interested, the official VMware vExpert 2013 announcement blog post and list of people awarded can be found here.

Update – where have I been?

It has been a nearly two months since I last posted blog updated in a regular fashion, which is kind of unusual for me. Unfortunately for the blog, I have had a lot going on, and blogging has had to take a hit. There is a good reason for that though, my wife and I recently purchased our first property, so we have been busy with the move, but also with completely renovating it.

We have done all of the renovation work ourselves and so far are quite proud of what we have managed to achieve!   Much more to do though, but hopefully there will be more blogging in the near future!

Here is a start to finish progress log of one room we have managed to renovate…


vExpert spotlight


The vExpert title is given out to those who have provided a significant contribution to the VMware community over the previous year. Individuals lucky enough to be awarded this title may receive it for a number of different reasons. For the 2012 title, there were three paths possible to become a vExpert.

  • Evangelist path
  • Customer path
  • VPN (VMware Partner Network) path

Having created and run over the last four and half years or so, providing content to the community around VMware, automation, and scripting (as well as a couple of small little utilities), I was lucky enough to receive the title on the evangelist path this year.

Gregg Robertson (from has kindly been helping out with organising and publishing the vExpert spotlight entries. After finally managing to find a bit of time, I managed to get my entry together a few weeks ago and submitted it. It has just been posted up on the VMware VMTN blog:



UK VMware User Group (UKVMUG)


Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend the UKVMUG, hosted at the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham.


Wednesday (14/11/2012)

Travelling up early Wednesday evening, I made it to the venue at about 18h45 – just in time for the Veeam sponsored vCurry evening. Here I met up with a few fellow bloggers and local London VMUG members, such as, Jane RimmerJeremy BowmanDarren Woollard, Julian Wood, Steve Bruck, Stu McHugh, and Jonathan Medd amongst others! An excellent vCurry was had along with a drink or two. After that it was back to the hotel in preparation for the UKVMUG the following day.


Thursday (15/11/2012)

Registration started at 08h00 with all attendees receiving a welcome pack and VMUG lanyard with their details. Breakfast and teas/coffees were served and everyone had a bit of time to chat before Alaric Davies (of the London VMUG team) opened the proceedings. After this, Joe Baguley did the opening keynote. His keynote was interesting, and generally well received, keeping everyone riveted as far as I could tell.


Proceedings were slightly delayed and led to Alaric asking if attendees wouldn’t mind forfeiting the first coffee break – much to the dismay of most, including Simon Long 😀

Throughout the rest of the day, I managed to attend the following sessions:

  • Nimble Storage | Stress-Free Data Protection for VMware and VDI
  • Alan Renouf and William Lam | Practical Automation for Everyone
  • Mike Laverick | Building my vCloud Director Home Lab
  • Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman | Deep-Dive Discussion Group


In-between sessions I managed to chat with Automation gurus William Lam, Alan Renouf and Jonathan Medd. Apart from demoing a small little iOS app I have been working on (for my company Xtravirt),  I bounced some ideas off of Jonathan regarding a small mini-project I have been working on to automate vSphere lab environment deployment. I got some useful advice here, especially with regard to deploying vCenter unattended (thanks Jonathan!) It was also great to meet William Lam in person and have a brief chat about the VMware MOB (which I find extremely useful for a project I am currently working on).

I was also interviewed by Steve Bruck for the vNews podcast – they were interested in chatting about vMetrics – so I managed to get a small plug in for my WordPress plugin there.


Finally the closing keynote by Scott Lowe was held, entitled “Staying Sharp and Relevant in IT”. This was an excellent session and provided some great insight, ideas and thoughts into learning new technologies or employing techniques to help study new areas for today’s IT pro.


After the event was over, Jane Rimmer from the London VMUG team was very kind to invite Darren and I to a small dinner gathering at a nearby restaurant. This was perfect for me as I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic for my drive back home (120 miles or so). We had an excellent dinner and chat with the likes of Jane Rimmer, Simon Gallagher, Alaric Davies, Hans De Leenheer, some ladies from the US VMUG team, and last but not least, Scott Lowe.


All in all the event was a success.

Just for fun, I decided to create pie/donut chart representing the number of #UKVMUGYAY hashtagged tweets vs #UKVMUGBOO (good vs bad) – note that some of the “boo” tweets did seem to be playful – i.e. not really showing dissatisfaction! This was a quick and rough calculation by searching for “ALL” tweets on each hashtag and counting them manually – I may have been a couple out here or there 🙂 This is as of tonight (18/11/2012).