25.09.2018

Remote Work Experience

The last 10 days I had the chance to work completely remote from Poland. This way I could understand more how other remote workers at QualityMinds feel like and at the same time learn how I can work&travel at the same time. Here are some of my insights:

1. Discipline - working in a local office almost automatically gives you a frame and discipline on how to work. Both from the time aspect (starting around 9am, first meetings, etc.) and working style (flow mode, communication with other peers, etc.). If you work remotely and the only people in your surrounding is your family and tourists on vacation you definitely need a lot more self-discipline to handle your time, look for silent locations to work within, create your personal backlog for the day and make it visible. Otherwise time flies by and you won't achieve any results.

2. Dress like for the office - a small thing helped me to gain more discipline: Dress code. I tried to dress myself as I would do it when going to the office. It helped me not to loose the context of working instead of free time / vacation.

3. Structure - there are two crucial things about structuring your remote work: timeboxing and backlog. Looking for dedicated periods of time (mostly in the morning for creative work and afternoon for calls, meetings, etc.) and blocking them gives you the space to combine work and other activities. Having a clear visible backlog (e.g. with post-its on the wall, prioritisation order) reminds you on what you should work during the day. One can argue that this is also something needed in non-remote work. Yes, but peers will often remind you about things within the office. In your small room somewhere in North Poland there is nobody than you and your backlog (smile)

4. Good internet connection - especially for calls with customers or business partners it's crucial! My wifi connection (dsl with 16/10 Mbps) wasn't always good. Fortunately, my LTE provided by Telekom with 6GB to be used helped me a lot. Something which you shouldn't do: Travel somewhere and assume that also your LTE or even normal cellular network will work. Don't plan any calls if you don't have a reliable connection.

5. Teach kids - both for creative work and meetings / calls your kids have to understand and respect those timeslots. The first days they didn't and it made things complicated during several calls. After that they learned that they shouldn't interrupt and simply go to the room you are working in. On the other hand reserve timeslots to play and spend time with them. It's a win-win for both.

6. Do more sports - also here somethings which is obvious. I've realized that working remotely make you think about stuff even more that it does normally. To have a clear mind and be able to use the timeboxing effectively I started to do more sports (especially biking to the sea / forest). It helped me a lot to both clear my mind and rethink stuff from a different perspective.

7. Communicate proactive - something I've learned from my colleague Tobi is to proactively speak with people. If you work in a remote way you don't understand some development within the group which took place at the coffee break or smth. The only possible way is to speak and listen to people more that you do normally within the office.

I have to admit that it was a great experience and I will definitely continue on that! Within those ten days I managed to work on a big tender together with QM Poland and Germany, coordinated around 10 different companies within the Autonomous Driving project, wrote many more texts and thoughts than in the last months and feel more productive. Thinking about doing this on a regular basis (1-3 times a year for 7-10 days working abroad / remotely). It's challenging but also inspiring.

 

If you like this blog post, then have a look at our blog article about telepresence. Technology in this area is further developing and it facilitates remote working immensely.

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