I’ve had only great experiences with remote working. At Qtask, the team worked from all over the world in a way that still inspires me to this day. At GoLightly, we were a tight knit remote working machine. It was so seamless that most of our US clients didn’t know that I was located in Europe.
I talk with people every single day using Skype, IM, and Hangouts. I use timeboxing to pummel through my to do lists. I track my productivity with Rescue Time. You could say that after 10 years of working remotely, I pretty much have my work system figured out. So, I was curious what my experience would be like going back to the office… which is what I did four months ago.
I can honestly say that I have enjoyed working in office again. After 10 years, it’s quite a novel experience. I enjoy the spontaneous brainstorming sessions. I enjoy having lunch together and hearing about my colleagues’ lives. I like the feeling of being on a “team“.
However, last week, since so many people were on vacation, the remaining three of us decided to work from home for a couple of days. And a few things really stood out for me:
- When working at home, I get to choose my distractions and interruptions, for the most part. When working in the office, I can’t remember the last time I was able to work for a solid hour without some sort of interruption.
- I was able to write better texts and think through problems more solidly because I had the quiet space in which to do so.
- Being in a different environment allows my brain to think in a different way – which can be needed to solve complex problems.
- 40 hours is a lot of time to spend with anyone. One day off can help keep relationships more vibrant.
- Working from home full-time was very isolating for me. I had to be very conscious to make sure that I got out of the house enough. While I managed just fine, I also really appreciate being able to work closely with a team of people.
Working in the same room with a team can be explosively powerful and fast – and working from home can be exceptionally productive. In talking with others who work remotely, I am more and more convinced that some sort of hybrid model (part time in the office, part time at home) is the ideal scenario.
A friend of mine is convinced that most people do not have the professionalism or self discipline to work from home. He believes that I am a special use case. I would like to believe otherwise, and will be exploring this further by interviewing people and companies who have experimented with remote working.
If you would like to be interviewed, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.