Welcome to the remote work era

July 26, 2019

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Companies these days are more and more open to the possibility of remote work and some of them even take it into consideration when recruiting. As technology keeps evolving, it brings the world closer together and makes it possible to work for a company in a different city, country or even continent.

This is great for companies because they can now recruit people from all over the world that suit them better and do not have to restrict themselves to their geographic area or go through the process of trying to convince someone to move cities just to join their company.

Although remote work is a growing practice in most places, it also comes with some challenges that not all companies are willing to deal with. For example, it is crucial to have a stable brand culture that takes those people who are not in the office every day into consideration, so that they feel part of the company. Also, it can be harder to communicate or to book meetings when somebody is in a different time zone.

As this has been an ongoing discussion online and even among my family and friends, I’ve decided to share my experience:

I’ve always been curious about this lifestyle and when I found out that advertio was looking for a content strategist I immediately thought about applying even though moving to Lisbon wasn’t an option for me at the time. After discussing some things with João, our CEO, we agreed on trying out remote work so that I could keep living in my home town but still be part of advertio’s team. Our agreement was simple: I would stay in Braga most of the time but spend a week in Lisbon from time to time.

Almost five months later, I now have a totally different perspective on working remotely. To be honest, I thought that people working remotely worked fewer hours and weren’t as involved in the company as others but I found out through my experience that by having more freedom to work wherever I want means that I also feel more responsible for producing good work and being available at any time.

At the same time, I must admit that it helps me a lot to go to Lisbon once a month to spend some time with the team because it enables me to get to know them better and also to be known. I don’t want to be the team member who is always behind a computer with nobody knowing who she is. I want to be part of the team regardless of where I live, so spending time with them is actually crucial for me to do my job right when I’m working remotely.

Even though most of the team are usually in the office, they too can work remotely when they want to. At advertio we believe that we all have our lives and routines, so if one day someone feels that they can do a better job by staying at home to work or going to a café to see different people and boost their creativity, then do it. We want everyone to feel comfortable and know that we care about each others’ well-being. So if someone doesn’t feel like going into the office one day, that’s totally fine so long as they let the rest of the team know that they’re working remotely.

This is only possible because advertio’s culture has been established with remote work as a possibility, which means that we have some tools and processes that allow us to organise and manage our work even when we’re not all in the same space. Slack, for example, plays a big role in this, as it’s how we communicate with each other and let everyone know what we’re doing. Notion, on the other hand, keeps track of our tasks so we know what we’re supposed to be doing and what others are doing as well, so that if we need help with a task, we know who to talk to. These are just a few examples and, of course, every company and team uses different methods and tools, but nowadays there’s always an app or a software that can solve almost every issue that comes with distance.

Having said this, I also think that remote work can be a very lonely job. Doing this for the last five months, there have been days where I’ve found myself wishing I could have someone to brainstorm ideas with or just talk about the weather. Depending on your personality, remote can be difficult to manage as you spend most of your days alone in your living room or at a cafe staring at the computer without saying a word except to ask the barista for more coffee.

I’m lucky because I’ve always enjoyed being alone with my thoughts and I’m usually a quiet person, so that feeling of being lonely rarely strikes, but it has happened. Also, I’m only a video call away from the rest of the team, so when I feel as if I could use a little help, I let someone know so we can arrange a call and go through some ideas. Just keep in mind that if you like being surrounded by people and discussing your work, then remote might be a little difficult for you in the beginning.

To sum things up, I believe that remote work is a great option for many people, just as it is for me. Yes, it has been difficult to explain to some people that I spend my afternoons in a cafe but that I’m actually working and yes, sometimes I really miss being with the rest of the team to have someone to chat to about what I’m working on. However, it makes it possible for me to work for a company that I relate to without having to move — and also the chance to go to Lisbon once a month and enjoy that beautiful city.

If you’re giving remote working a try, then remember to

  1. Keep a schedule: it’s easy to get a little creative with the work hours you’re putting in, so make sure you set a schedule and keep it. This will give you a clear routine and allows you to be working when your co-workers are. With me, for example, I usually start working around 10am and I’m done around 6pm every day.
  2. Choose an office: if you don’t have a work space at home where you can concentrate, then pick a place where you can work. I usually go to a café every afternoon so I can see different people and focus on my work; working at home doesn’t really do it for me as I get too distracted.
  3. Be part of the team: lastly, I would say that it’s important to try to engage with the rest of the team and voice your opinions. It can be hard to give your opinion on everything when you’re far from the office, but every time you can give some input, do it. This will bring you closer to your colleagues and make you feel that you have made a contribution.

If you have any doubts or need help starting with remote work, let me know!

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