September 26th, 2018 by

Experiences of Working Remotely in Seattle

Continuing on our spotlight series of our remote workforce, we caught up with Rick Ochs who is a Senior Product Manager here at Turbonomic. He works out of his home in the Seattle area where he formerly worked at Microsoft.

Rick, let’s start with an intro on who you are, what you do and where you came from.

Hi Justin! Before Turbonomic, I worked at Microsoft for over 13 years in the IT Department, building applications, migrating data centers, and more recently, running the cloud migration team, and internal cloud optimization platform. I was so excited at the opportunity to take that experience and apply it to the industry at large, and Turbonomic has been such a fantastic fit for me.

Did you always work remotely?

I worked in person previously, with various work-from-home opportunities sprinkled in for good measure. The Turbonomic opportunity was purely remote, which was both exciting and scary at the same time. The ability to focus a lot more on individual tasks and complete them faster was appealing. I had concerns around getting enough interpersonal experience and face to face time, but it turned out to be a non-issue, as Turbonomic culture is well adapted to remote work and we apply judicious use of webcams in our meetings. Traveling to HQ regularly also helps keep me connected with the spirit of the customer problems we are trying to solve.

Do you ever use co-working spaces?

I don’t go to community work spaces, but as I was considering this role, I had big visions for putting in an upgrade to my home office. The idea of having a really nice multi-monitor setup, a super wide desk, and a comfortable personal space was something that appealed to me.

It almost makes me feel like I’m in the cockpit of a powerful spaceship, commanding my way towards the future of cloud adoption and cost optimization.

What’s the hardest part about working with a traditional team while you’re remote?

The hardest challenge comes with advanced engineering concepts. When we get into the nuts and bolts of an advanced analytical design challenge, being remote is a little harder than being in person with a white board.

We have an incredible pool of talent in the engineering org, so sharing concepts effectively is key to solving problems as a team.

I do spend a bit more time working on accurately describing my thoughts and concepts in our documentation. I also invest more time working with individuals on specific problems, so we can better align our approach. In the end, traveling to the office once in a while puts the cherry on top.

How do you manage to work across different time zones with other co-workers?

I tend to work different hours than my local time zone, which has been quite positive. I wake up a little earlier than I used to, but then I’m off work right around the time my kids get home from school.  This has led to a very large improvement in the amount of time I get to spend with my family, which has been a huge part of making me feel successful, not only as a Turbonomic employee, but as a husband and father. We can make day plans and do fun things as a family during weekdays very easily now, and the flexibility is awesome.

It can be hard to shut off from work. What tips do you have for disconnecting?

My home office has a door and is in a separate location than where I spend my time with my family. Physically segmenting the place I work from the place where I connect with family has helped me create a mental separation between work and non-work. When I walk out of my office, I can more easily mentally transition away from work. I’d also say, turning off skype notifications on your phone helps a great deal as well!

Finally, what’s been your favorite part about Turbonomic so far?

Every day, and every meeting, I feel like everyone at Turbonomic is working together for the common goal of solving immense customer challenges. I haven’t always felt that way in my career, and I can say that Turbonomic is energizing, where everything we work on real has impact. It’s sort of addicting!

 

Interested in joining me on this journey? We’re hiring!

About our featured employee

 

Rick Ochs has been working in technology for over 15 years. Here at Turbonomic, Rick is a Senior Product Manager. Prior to coming to Turbonomic, he held various positions across Microsoft’s engineering team where he envisioned, pitched and drove the creation of the Azure Resource Optimization dashboard.

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