The Story | Mobility Monday & Working Remotely
Technical caveats about working remotely (and this comes from living and working in, supposedly fully developed, Western European countries ):
1) Those cool cafés that tout free WiFi zones are still too slow for serious, speedy work. Almost no connection. Rarely strong enough to upload | download.
Do you actually want to accomplish anything?
BRING YOUR OWN HOT SPOT. It’s a must!
And if it’s a trendy spot, remember your NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES.
2) It's fun, isn’t it? To check-in with Facebook from cool, popular spots, or exotic get-aways? Yesterday I checked-in from Spiaggia di Calamosca (Calamosca Beach) and the Sella del Diavolo (The Devil’s Saddle), for instance.
But don't seriously think you're going to get work done in one of these areas.
Yes, in theory, you can work from anywhere, if you also want to endure spotty reception, if any at all; grit in your keyboard; distractions and noise levels of people actually enjoying their surroundings and have drinks, balls, kids, and loads of loud conversation all around. ... And don’t think they have pillows to prop behind your back for those uncomfortable chairs. It isn’t your sofa.
What’s more, if it’s hot and sweaty enough to be on a beach, then do you want to lug around a laptop, hot spot, noise canceling headphones, mobile, table, chairs … etc?
If you do, make sure the place has a locker so you don't have to babysit your equipment entire time.
3) What’s true in my work is that communication with clients is a face-to-face audio-visual conference with simultaneous chat, and screen and document sharing.
So, while, it goes without saying that it’s irritating to deal with stalling video, sound echoes, no sound, etc., believe me, MY clients don’t also want to see me on the beach or anywhere that I APPEAR to be less than 100% them-focused.
(Which also means: NO VISIBILITY of beds, let alone piled laundry on beds, no playpens, no puppies, nothing that says anything other than, "I am here for you. You have my full and undivided attention.")
"Work when you want; work from anywhere” really means work from a quiet professional place where you have PREMIUM WiFi. Those spots cost money, beyond the cost of a cup of coffee.
AND work within an overlapping time zone.
That means that if your clients are in Europe, “work from anywhere” does not include Australia or New Zealand. It won’t even include certain time zones in the United States.
I’d like to leave you with these pretty pictures written by a veteran remote worker, Andy Gin:
REALITY #3: YOU’RE ALWAYS ON-CALL
If you work a traditional 9-5, the odds are very slim that your boss would ever call you into work at 8pm on a Saturday. However, when you’re working from home, no time is off limits. Half of my team is located in India, so I’ve woken up to the panicky pop-pop-pop of Slack messages at 4am on several occasions. When you work remotely, you risk losing the luxury of free weekends.
For some, like myself, this may not be that big of a problem because you’ll often find that...
REALITY #4: THERE’S NO REASON TO LEAVE THE HOUSE
Think about it: if you didn’t have to go to work every day, how often would you really leave home? Once I went remote full-time, I quickly discovered that the answer (for me) was close to never.
The first few weeks were great, of course. Working without pants? Yes, please. UberEats for breakfast and lunch? You got it! My apartment at the time even had laundry in the complex, so I didn’t even need to go to the laundromat. Really, the only time I had to step out was when I ran out of toilet paper, and even that could’ve been avoided if I planned ahead of time (shoutout to Amazon Prime!). This was all so great...until it wasn’t.
You’ve heard of the calm before the storm? This felt like the storm after the calm. Once a refuge, my bed started to feel like a prison (I lived in a studio apartment at the time, so furniture was sparse). It’s a good thing that I didn’t need pants to work, because when I finally decided to put some on, most of them no longer fit.
If you enjoyed Andy’s anecdotes about “digital nomading”, you can read more on her website here: https://www.andyg.in/digital-nomading
Me? Feel free to use Messenger (but give me up to 72 hours to reply because my work is NOT Facebook; it’s digitally sitting with clients to meet their needs.)