Tom Paronis Works Remotely

Tom Paronis Team Photo


Years Remote


Preferred Workspace

Brooklyn, NY

Home Base


Founder Fulltime Remote Worker Self-Employed

Tom Paronis
Interview with

How and why did you start working remotely?

I started in the 1990s because I was living in New York and working for people in Chicago. I also had a customer in NY who I worked for from home (this was at the dawn of the internet era).

What advice would you give someone considering a remote job?

You’d better be quite disciplined and motivated. Also, when you’re working, avoid distractions like background music, radio, etc.

How did you convince your company to let you work remotely?

I’m a self-employed consultant so that was never an issue.

What are the biggest benefits to working remotely?

No commute and the ability to work at times that suit you best. For example, I got into the habit of working weekends when the weather was bad. I tried to avoid working late in the evening and usually succeeded.

What are the greatest challenges to working remotely?

You can become a bit isolated. I think the ideal arrangement is a mix of onsite work and telecommuting.

Do you keep a regular remote work schedule? What is it?

I’ve never kept a fixed schedule but I developed a pattern of front loading the week and taking it easier later in the week and on weekends. When my career was going full tilt I would often work long, 10-hour days on Mondays and Tuesdays and knock off early on Fridays. My last consulting situation, which ended in May 2016, was a 3-4 day a week proposition so I had Fridays (and sometimes Thursdays) off. At my age (58) I found that ideal.

How do you avoid becoming distracted when working remotely?

I learned to shut out the outside world. I found that the early start helped as well. These days it’s easier because I’m an empty nester.

What is a remote work pain point, and how do you address it?

I never noticed a pain point and found, in fact, that when I would work on site I’d get roped into many more meetings, most of them somewhat pointless.

Do you use coworking spaces? What are the best ones?

I shared an office with some friends in the 90s and that was nice, but mostly from a social point. In terms of productivity, working at home is probably the best.

Do you work from a home office? How is it organized?

I have a laptop in my living room on a portable table. That’s my office.

How do you stay in touch with virtual teammates?

Email and cell phone; VoIP for overseas co-workers.

Do you have tips for saving money while working remotely?

Not commuting and having a home office (with the home office tax deduction) can both save you real money (and time). So can eating lunch at home but I like to go to cheap places in my neighborhood for lunch these days. It serves as a nice break.

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

I’ve always worked with very small teams of, at most, 4 people and have been extremely fortunate to work with people who were on the same page as me regarding the workload. I know that’s not always the case, which is why I stress that I’ve been lucky.

What’s the best way to find a remote job?

Various websites that cater to online work.  I think that writing software may be more amenable to remote work than most professions.

What does your remote company do?

I’m a self-employed software consultant who has logged lots of time in the financial world; primarily trading systems and money management/asset allocation systems.

Would you consider returning to a traditional office job, or are you remote for life?

I’m in the 4th quarter of my career and greatly prefer remote, but if the right situation came up, wouldn’t mind going to an office. Again, the ideal would be 1-2 days on site and 2-3 days at home.

How do you stay connected with your local community?

I’m a longtime performing musician and have lived in NYC since 1992 so that keeps me as connected as I want to be.

How do you stay connected to your professional community virtually?

I’m getting an MS in CS at night so that keeps me exposed to new stuff in the field like AI and Big Data and I have some long-term programming friends and acquaintances.

How has your remote job impacted your life outside of work?

It’s improved it because going to the same office day in and day out for years would definitely have killed my spirit; it did for the few years in my 20s that I followed that routine.

How has working remotely impacted your family life?

I don’t think it has one way or the other although, if you have kids at home, you’d better have a quiet space where you can work undisturbed.

How do you manage work life integration?

I don’t give it any thought but, from the early 90s until about 5-6 years ago, I worked some pretty long hours and have no desire to go back to that. The 32-hour European week is more my speed these days.

How do you stay physically active while working remotely?

I exercise almost every day; biking, swimming, etc.

How does working remotely impact your diet?

Remote work doesn’t impact my diet.

How do you cope with feeling lonely while working remotely?

I hang out with musician friends and party a bit more than I should when I’m feeling too isolated.