Spotlight

Benoit Montuelle

Role: Software engineering
Location: Belleville, Rhône-Alpes, France
Connect: @BenoitMontuelle
Remote Since: 2017

My Workspace

I work at an IKEA desktop in a corner of the smallest room of my house. I made a few investments for it: a dual screen, quality office chair and stereo system.

Why I’m Remote Where I’m Remote

I left my full-time job in downtown Lyon to work as an independent and avoid long (and increasingly longer) commute times. I live 50km away from my old job, and it’s a choice me and my wife made so we can have a decent house and live closer to the country.

The Mothership

My client’s headquarters are 440km away from my home. I’ve worked with them on a variety of projects for clients in Dubai, Niort (western France) and the last one from Lyon. I visit them from time to time depending on project needs.

My Thoughts on Pets

Pixel is my 5 year-old black and white cat. He was surprised when he saw me staying at home all day in the beginning, but eventually got used to it and now he doesn’t care. I barely see him getting up from his nap when I come to lunch!

Why Remote?

I have a better work/life balance and I’ve saved 2+ hours of commuting time daily. I’m also more comfortable: I was able to choose my chair and computer equipment. I can drive my son to school in the morning, get him back in the afternoon, and still get 8 hours of work time in every day.

I also decided to shift from permanent contract work to an independent contractor status. In France, remote work is still rare in most company cultures. When it is allowed, it’s only for a day each week or a few days a month. Being independent offers more flexibility to the employer and allows me to build trust with the client by working this way.

Being independent also allows me to work on my own schedule. I can take my time in the morning and work later on the evening if I want to. I tend to stick to business hours (9-5), though, because its simpler to manage with the family and team.

What Challenges Do Remote Workers Face?

Sometimes it’s hard to encounter the loneliness of not having coworkers to chat with. Staying in the same place too long can be difficult. You also have to be very clear with the family that the home is also a workplace, so sometimes late household chores or going shopping cannot be expected because you telecommute.

My Best Remote Work Advice

Get out! Do some sport, walk, cinema … whatever! You need to see different people and places for both mental and physical health. Office workers can have issues because of being sedentary but a home office can be worse because you’re not walking to meeting rooms, to the parking lot or train station, etc.

When I’m Not Working

I spend time with family and friends, and I do running when I can.

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