A little while ago I decided that I want remote work opportunity become a natural part of my work-life blend. And once you decide on something things start happening. I still have a cosy place to go to that I can call “my office” and I really couldn’t imagine working without seeing my colleagues face to face every now and then. But still, the freedom to make things happen not being necessarily tied to a physical space is elevating and different in a very positive way.
As relatively new to the remote work experience, I just had my first full week of working from abroad. If one of your dear friends gets married in Montenegro and just magically there’s also a newly-opened direct flight between Tallinn and Tivat once a week you don’t think twice, right. So off we went with a group of friends: two of us with remote working plans for the rest of the week, the other four with clear intentions to take the best out of this beautiful country to have a good rest.
So what did this remote week teach me as a newbie?
Clear agreements, mutual trust between the people you work with and solid understanding of what needs to get done is absolutely crucial.
It works like charm if you’re on top of managing your own time and priorities. It may not work out so smoothly if you feel pressured by your friends who are vacationing at the same time and feel pity for you for not joining the daily trips in the mountains :)
Making sure you have great internet connection is like basics, right but not so easy to achieve everywhere. If it doesn’t work, stay calm, do stuff that doesn’t need connection and go on wifi-searching afterwards. There’s another spot around the corner where it does. Unless you have totally messed up with choosing that remote work destination. Team meetings, interviews, product demos, etc. really cannot work out well otherwise.
Don’t assume everyone else around you knows you’re in the working mode. What I failed with was giving a proper heads-up to my landlady (the Fairy, as we called her) that I will have some important calls scheduled and would appreciate silence during that time. Walls were thin as paper and when the Fairy had a jolly 8-member Australian delegation arriving to check in their friend...well, I just had to improvise and make the best out of the situation (thank god for that “mute yourself” button).
Remote parenting is doable with Viber calls, e-school and YouTube tutorials. Well, truth be told, it also takes a super cool husband who’s always on top of things (although during that week heavily sleep-deprived because of just returning from military training Hedgehog :).
I’ve been admiring teams who can and want to enable remote work, either fully or partially (Toggl, Messente, Github to name some). If we look at the changes happening within the global workforce, the expectations for more flexible working opportunities is a strongly growing trend amongst employees and increasingly more forward-looking companies are willing to enable that. It’s not easy nor is it for everyone. But once your team is up for letting remote work into your DNA, it surely opens up opportunities for scaling teams during this talent scarcity time. The argument pro more flexible, remote work is not only about the geographical reach (huge international vs tiny local talent pool) but also the versatility and extra boost it can bring to the work-life blend increasing people’s engagement, productivity and long-term commitment on the path chosen.