Anywhere Workers

An interesting and very well presented study from AND CO about remote work. Being a remote worker myself, on and off, for a number of years now, I find their study to be a great inspiration for some introspection.

Those who’ve worked remotely for 7+ years were far more likely to intend on working remotely forever than those who are freshly remote (0-1yrs). Respondents who’ve worked remotely for under a year are more likely (9%) to find it difficult to stay motivated without a boss looking over their shoulder than long-term remotes (4%).

While I love it now, I wasn't a big fan of working from home at the beginning. I liked the idea, but I wasn't very good at it; the multitude of distractions at home were too big of an issue, I just couldn't concentrate. After an uproductive day, I felt worse if it happened while working from home, than if I had worked at the office.

The breaking point for me came when I didn't have a choice—I moved to Taiwan for 2 months, and going to the office wasn't an option anymore. Like with a flip of a switch, I found that a routine (an oh-so-important aspect of a regular day for me!) of going to a Starbucks, setting up, working hard for 8 hours, and shutting down my computer at the end, was the recipe I was missing.

Truly shutting down at the end of the day turned out to be the next challenge, further exacerbated by the fact that Taipei was 6 hours ahead of Copenhagen, so the end of the day for me was the beginning of my colleagues'. Our daily scrum was the beginning of the day for them, and a sign-off for me. Making exercise a top priority helped with that—I really needed to go for a run before dinner!

The most difficult and frustrating aspect of working remotely—in an environment where most still work from a single office—has been, over the years, that a lot of things are established at the water cooler, away from Slack or any other online tools, and I have to put in way more effort to be a part of all important discussions.

But my colleagues are more and more accustomed to a remote way of working, and we're all more empathic towards the challenges that remote work poses to both remote and co-located workers.

And empathy is probably the most important trait of any co-worker, sharing an office or not.