It sounds like you are doing it right. I wish you'd tell your story more places.
Whether remote work is accepted or not does depend on culture. Some of it may be due to the particular country culture. Eg. if the companies in a country generally have deep hierarchies and generally view the employees as peons and the employees in return do as little as possible then remote work is unlikely to be accepted. But while the overall country culture has an impact the company culture has more impact.
After getting tired commuting to my first job (45 minutes each way), I changed jobs and moved to the city where the new company was. I had 10 minutes walking distance.
Then that company moved offices (IT boom, more employees, etc.) 36km away. I went to my manager and essentially said: remote work or else! It wasn't a problem because he was in the same boat as me (living in the same city). So we settled on two days remote work per week, tuesdays and thursdays as a general rule. I think I was the first employee ever to have regular remote work. It worked so well that gradually more and more employees were allowed to work some days at home. It wasn't a requirement that people worked at home. Some preferred to come in each day (even those with a longer commute) for various reasons (wanting to keep home and work separate, home being a circus with 3 children, ...).
So that worked fairly well for 14 years. In all that time I think there was only one who didn't pull his weight (eventually sacked).
The important things for making it work was:
- people know that you are working at home. Regular home-working days help.
- people know how to contact you and being available. I was sometimes praised for answering emails quicker than most people answered skype mesages.
- general respect and trust among colleagues.
- technical side must be OK. Internet, email, IM, and occasional conference calls. (*1)
Then after those 14 years this happened: bought by another company which had a mix of US, UK, AU and IN offices. And heavy-handed implementation of that abomination of agile that is SAFe. As per the SAFe instructor home work was impossible because, well, it said so in the book and the superficial guides to SAFe and SCRUM. Never mind that the work-from-home was in my contract and changing that would require the usual notice period. I could see where that was heading, and didn't have the energy handle it, so I quit.
Since then I have been a contractor for primarily a US business. 100% remote work. It is accepted that I'm in a completely different timezone. Occasionally there are conference calls at my local time at eg. 22 in the evening but they are few. I miss having colleagues but the freedom makes it worth it (it may not be for all, though).
On the technical side I have some observations:
- Decent and stable internet access is a requirement.
- Remote access must be available. It must be platform-agnostic. Cisco-VPN (binary blob in kernel) doesn't cut it. SSL-VPN is marginally better.
- Email must work (so if your IT department doesn't know how to make SMTP, IMAP and LDAP work then whack them with a cluebat)
- Conference calls must use local bridges. There are plenty of companies offering global conference calls and all the ones I have tried are shit. They all compress the sound too much and when someone is calling in via a GSM connection then the double compression has all the usual issues (sounding like being in a barrel, comfort noise, ...)
- Platform-agnostic IM is a requirement.
- Platform-agnostic voice/chat client is desirable. No, MS "skype for business" doesn't cut it.
I remember at the start (around 2000) the remote access wasn't available, so I set up a cronjob on my office workstation that checked for emails and made a remote X connection back to my home. The system administrator raised his eyebrows when he one day saw a direct connection to/from the outside. Fun times :-)