Remote working: my experience over the past 7 years
Remote working is one the best things that has happened to me in the past decennium. I have been working without an office for seven years now and I don’t think that I ever want to go back to office life. Here’s my experience.
Working remote boosts my productivity
Starting my day at home makes it much easier for me to balance between work and family matters. This has two reasons. The first is that I’m much more productive starting at 8:00 in the morning at home, than being stuck in traffic between 7:00 and 8:30. This also means that I’ll be able to spend more time with my family in the morning and during the rest of the day. Considering the fact that my wife is sick, it’s a big relief for us all that I’m around.
The second reason is, that working remote increases my productivity. Recently I visited a company whose chairman thinks remote working is the same as not working. I think and experience the opposite. The most companies and offices that I visit are inefficient environments. They have tons of useless meetings and people are starting early or are leaving late because those are the only hours they can really do some work. I work as a product owner and designer at CE-iT and we don’t have an office. We don’t have useless meetings and nobody misses those meetings. The only recurring meeting is our daily ten minute stand-up call. This call is used to discuss hot items and to check if anyone needs help.
People feel responsible
One of the most common remarks that I get when I tell people that we work remote is: How do you ensure that people are actually working? Aren’t people easily distracted at home? To start with the latter, the answer is no. In my experience most people are more often distracted in the office than people who work remote. That’s because of the useless meetings, small talk, people standing at your desk and so on. Those moments can be useful, but it’s killing for your productivity. Especially when your working on things that require focus.
The above doesn’t mean that we don’t have small talk at CE-iT. We do, but most of the time we send a chat first to check wether it suits. For me that’s great because it allows me to finish things first.
Now the first item: How do you ensure that people will do their work? The answer is very easy. Do you work with the right people? At CE-iT we are all responsible to make our product work in the best way possible. Nobody has to be checked in the end of the day.
Is remote working lonely?
No it is not. There are lots of tools (Slack, Skype, Whatsapp or even an old school phone call) to stay in touch with people. You will experience that contacts are more targeted, but for me that works great. And you can always throw in a joke to trigger someone.
I’ll have to admit that I had to get used to being at home a lot, but after a while you will start to experience the benefits. For me that’s being a part of my family during the day, playing on the Xbox with my son during lunchtime, saving time on commuting and more.
Remote working does have some pitfalls. Especially when you’re working at home a lot instead of outdoors. In the beginning I caught myself working more and more. Just like you will have to discipline yourself to work, you will also have to discipline yourself to stop working.
I have stated earlier that remote working isn’t lonely. That is true, but it has a pitfall. If you have a one person household or if you’re working on a project without team members, you might have to force yourself to contact people. If you don’t do that, you can become a one person island. In my case, I work with a team and most of the time I’m not alone at home.
Do I want to keeping working remote?
The answer to that question is 100% YES. My family loves it and I do so too. I have seen more of my 12 year old boy than most other fathers that I know and I absolutely don’t miss those traffic jams. Sometimes I do get tempted, because their are companies with an office that I really like. But they do need to be more seductive to get me moving towards them, because remote working enables me to expand my holiday with my family from the lovely Sweden!
I started 21Nomads because I more people should work remote and I want to help people land their first or next remote job. 21Nomads isn’t a new concept, but most of the remote jobs site that I’ve visited have lots of jobs that aren’t remote.
So I hope that maybe you will find your remote job with 21Nomads. I’d love to hear it from you. If you want to share your remote work experience, just let me know and I will publish it.