Remote Work at QualityMinds: Working on the train and on the Atlantic coast

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An interview with Mario, he is a software developer at QualityMinds

Mario has extensive experience in both the backend and frontend development area. He was involved in the conception phase of his current project not only as a software developer, but also as a Requirements Engineer. He is working for QualityMinds for four years, during which time he has dealt intensively with the challenges and opportunities of working remotely. He particularly appreciates this way of working as it allows him not to have to go to the office every day, which gives him greater flexibility in his working day. Although he mainly works remotely, he maintains personal contact with his team through regular weekly meetings at the office in Nuremberg, to which he usually travels by train and gets some work done on the train.

Where do you see the advantages of your working model?

Mario: I find my working model very pleasant and flexible. Not only do I save time and money, but I can also work in an environment that is optimised for me. I can do over 90% of my work from home. I mainly work remotely, but we meet as a team once a week in the office in Nuremberg, which is about two hours away from my home. This encourages collaboration and personal dialogue, especially at the start of a project. This day in the office is very valuable as the team sees each other in person and we can work on programming projects together and this way also learn from each other. At the end of each ‘office day’, I always take away fresh input and ideas for my home office week.

Working from home also saves me commuting time and costs, as I don’t have to travel to the office and can cook at home. I have set up my own office room at home, which is very quiet and has a technical setup with all the IT equipment I need. However, I also really enjoy being in the office because you get to hear a lot more of the interpersonal tones that go beyond online communication.

Are there differences in communication between remote and office?

Mario: Yes, we mainly use Slack and Teams for communication in our remote team, which helps us to stay connected despite the physical distance. Despite communicating online, we can also hear the emotional nuances in calls. In the office, we sometimes have spontaneous conversations that don’t take place in this form when working from home. I don’t call anyone unannounced when I’m working from home, which means there’s a bit of a lack of spontaneous dialogue.

In the office, I take the opportunity to spend the lunch break with my team colleagues. We can then discuss how our project work is going and what else is on the agenda. Such conversations are very important for our team spirit.

In the office, I also sometimes get the chance to meet colleagues who aren’t directly involved in my project and we have interesting conversations, that wouldn’t have happened in a remote setting. Conversations with colleagues from outside the project are often neglected in digital communication, as it simply doesn’t happen that way online, but they are very enriching and give me a new input. So things are a bit more fact-based online, and the interpersonal aspects are sometimes neglected with colleagues from outside the project.

What do you like better: working remotely or working in the office?

Mario: Both settings have their advantages and I get on well with both working models. The remote setting allows the team to reconcile the individual working styles and rhythms of each team colleague. Some of my colleagues start very early and then take a longer lunch break and then work again in the evening. Everyone in our team has their own working rhythm and remote work combines all working styles well because we don’t all have to be in the office at the same times. In my team, we are spread all over Germany and a consistent decision in favor of the office would force everyone to be in one place, which would be logistically difficult.

How do you deal with questions or problems when you work remotely?

Mario: In the office I can approach colleagues directly and remotely we try to create a similar atmosphere. In our team, it’s not the case that everyone works on their own and we only meet in meetings, but we also try to create the same conditions and benefits remotely as in an office. For example, it has become established in our team that we are all in the same project channel at the same time. If someone wants to know something, we clarify the question with the whole team so that everyone gets the information. If other topics come up at the same time, we can discuss them in a separate channel.
We are close to each other in our team. Even remotely, it actually feels like we’re working together in the office and I just have to get up from my chair and walk over to my colleague and ask them something. Even remotely, we have few barriers or thresholds to catching someone when you want to ask something.

What are the challenges of working remotely?

Mario: I often work from home and have to be careful not to unconsciously isolate myself. Even if there’s no particular reason, I try to travel to the office regularly. It motivates me to meet my colleagues there and coming together in the office strengthens the sense of togetherness in the team.

We sometimes also hold hybrid meetings in which some team members participate remotely. There are sometimes a few technical and communication challenges to overcome here. Colleagues in the office can follow the interpersonal interactions directly, while remote participants only experience the vibe of the meeting to a limited extent. Technical problems such as unstable internet or insufficient microphone volume add to this. In some cases, the call volume is not transmitted loud enough by us in the office, making it difficult for those connected to the meeting to hear. The ideal scenario is, of course, when we are all in the office, so we can talk to each other best, hear the interpersonal sounds and work well together.

The remote setting generally works well, but working from home can blur the boundaries between professional and private life. I don’t just take my work home with me, it’s part of my home. I have to consciously switch off my work laptop after work to maintain this separation, although the temptation to check something work-related again in the evening or at the weekend is great.

When working from home, there is a tendency to get lost in details without colleagues being able to intervene directly, as would be the case in the office. In a remote setting, you are more likely to get lost in a topic for an afternoon.

Do you make use of the training programmes offered by QualityMinds

Mario: I regularly take part in further training as part of my project and am always learning new things. I also make use of the two hours of learning time that we are given each week and appreciate these great opportunities for further training at QualityMinds.

Do you only work from home or do you also work remotely at other locations?

Mario: Yes, when I visit my family at home, I work there and I can work very well on the train when I’m travelling. When I travel to the office in Nuremberg, I can make good use of the four-hour commute on the train to work. This works particularly well as long as I have a stable internet connection, but thanks to my mobile phone contract without a data volume limit, I’m not reliant on public Wifi and can work well even without a constant internet connection. Sometimes I also work in a restaurant or café.

Last year, I spent three weeks travelling with my camper van and had my laptop with me, so I worked in the camper van or in a café for two days after consultation with my team and then spent the rest of the time on holiday on the Atlantic coast in Spain. This worked very well and it was a great experience to combine work with holidays. I limited myself to a few hours of work per day, which fitted in well with my holiday routine.


Mario likes the combination of remote work and occasional office days. This hybrid structure allows him to save time and money, as well as be productive in an optimized environment at home, without having to sacrifice the important personal and interpersonal exchange with his team colleagues. Despite some challenges, such as technical problems with hybrid meetings and the merging of private and professional life, Mario finds that remote work fits in well with his lifestyle and appreciates being able to work abroad from time to time and take advantage of further training opportunities.

You want to learn more about the flexible working models at QualityMinds? Read here the interviews with our colleagues Katja, Tobias, Richard and Lukas.


Mario bei der Arbeit - Remote Work und Home Office

written by

Anika Lechner