I wrote (very vaguely) about remote work in mid-2014. I need to stand by the first sentence tho - time does fly by fast! What changed in those 7 years?
I left a polish startup. Had a middle-life crisis. Bought a motorcycle. Travelled around souther Europe on that motorcycle. Found a place at a small, fully remote company from Switzerland. And never looked back at a office work since 2018.
I think the pros and cons of remote works have been mentioned a million times already. During the pandemic, a big chunk of the world suddenly was forced into remote work. I’m just going to focus on a few things that matter for me and what I think are important when working fully remote.
With remote work, it’s ridiculously easy to forget that you need to move. In an office environment, it’s effortless to waste time which is frankly good for you - taking a lunch, grabbing a tea/coffee/whatever in the office kitchen, going out to buy a snack. Plus, office spaces are usually much larger than our homes, so unconsciously, you’re taking those walks anyway. I don’t feel guilty anymore when I decide to do some small groceries mid-day or go out. If you feel exhausted after a day of work, that’s an even better reason to take that walk - because most likely, you’re tired mentally, not physically. Break the cycle, move your body, your mind will thank you later.
Good (enough) Audio-Video setup
After you do something for yourself, it’s time to do something for others. And I should have thought about it a little bit sooner, frankly speaking. If you’re behind a screen for most of your day - when you have a call, make sure other people can see you and hear you clearly. I was guilty of not having a great setup, and it amazes me how many folks struggle with that still. I’m not going to list the suggested hardware, but I will recommend one thing - record yourself. That’s it. Open a video recorder and record yourself speaking for a few minutes. Do you use an appropriate microphone that cancels background noise? Should you maybe invest in a new web camera for those 1:1 sessions? Do you have a beard, and perhaps that wired microphone included with an iPhone isn’t going to cut it because of the cable rubbing noise? (guilty!)
Building meaningful relationships
I think it’s the most challenging thing to pull off. I’m the kind of person that likes to discuss complex subjects, get to know different points of view on things, hear about daily personal problems, struggles. I’m not afraid of sharing and simply being vulnerable. I think it can help build truly meaningful relationships. Having such relationships - also at your workplace - makes life more fulfilling. As aside from day-to-day work, we’re primarily human beings. Building such relationships takes a tremendous amount of time. I think building trust, making those connections by being behind a camera, behind words written on the screen - is even trickier.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a piece of good advice here. I’m still learning it as well. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to build such relationships and be consistent about it.