Remote work: Lydia's experience at Storyblok
Remote work means flexibility, freedom, and finding productivity in your own unique way. It also means loneliness.
This is what came into my mind when I thought about remote work for the first time. But would it really be true that:
- I can work whenever and wherever I would like?
- I will find my own rhythm and structure each day that makes me productive?
- I won’t feel lonely?
I decided to challenge myself and find answers to these three questions.
Because I love traveling and being near the ocean, this summer I decided to follow my dream and work in a holiday location. I planned to work a couple of weeks in Greece and Croatia.
Before I started traveling I organized my workload, checked my mobile phone rate (including my data volume), booked accommodations with free WIFI, checked the configuration of my VPN, and had a list of equipment that would help me work effectively. In addition, I talked to my team and told them what I was going to do so they would not be surprised when they saw me in front of a new view every day.
Let’s get the journey started
My journey started at the Vienna airport when I arrived early for my flight. In the hour before my departure, I decided to write some invoices since the task can be done quickly, and I knew I could finish before boarding. So I put in my noise cancelling headphone and began working. I started with the invoices, read my emails and was working on something else when I suddenly realized that there were no more people around me. I stood up and became aware that the check-in was nearly completed and I hadn’t noticed it as I was too caught up in my work.
This was a good lesson to learn - make sure to always be aware of the time! For my next flights I made sure to keep track of time and arrived in Lemnos safely on Saturday. On Sunday, I checked out the WIFI connection to see if it was strong enough for me to do my calls and be able to work without interruption. I found out that while, yes, there was free WIFI in my room, it was so slow that even WhatsApp wasn’t able to send out any messages. I then went to the nice hotel owner and asked why the WIFI wasn’t working. He promised me that he will look into it. In the evening he came to me and said he had checked the WIFI and it is working normally. Suddenly, it occurred to me that we could have a different understanding of fast WIFI! So I asked him what a fast WIFI means to him and he proudly told me that the download speed is 2 Mbit for every room. I inwardly groaned and realized that I would have to buy some extra data so that I could use my phone as a hotspot. Once I had the technology all set up, I started my first work day at 8 am; I found a very nice and quiet table near an outlet, with an incredible view of the sea.
I had a very productive first day: made some calls, went for a swim during my lunch break, completed all of the tasks on my To-do-list and enjoyed the wonderful view. I felt highly motivated and not at all exhausted.
At 3 pm the lovely lady of the hotel came and asked me if I had worked enough. I was right in the middle of something and said that I still needed to work a couple more hours. She looked amazed at me and said that she was just waiting for me to leave the area so she could go home. I felt so bad for her that I immediately took my things and looked for a new space to work.
The rest of my work days went along nicely. I always found places with a fantastic view. I finally had the chance to live and work by the ocean, which I love, and I was happy with the work I had done.
Is it possible to work from anywhere at any time?
With some planning it is possible to work from anywhere. The most important things are:
- Good Internet connection
- Electrical outlets nearby
One thing I really missed was my second screen. Working with just one screen can be a little bit tricky. If you have the chance to take a tablet with you, use it as a second screen, then you can even solve this problem. Even though I was able to work any schedule, I always started my day early. I like to finish my work before having some free time.
Did I find a unique work style that made me more productive?
Although I worked at about the same time nearly every day, I was able to work more productively and to attend to my personal needs as well. Often, when I work from home, I get very tired around 14:00. Working somewhere beautiful, in a holiday location, gave me the possibility to take short breaks for sports or lunch with friends. Afterwards, I was more energized for the tasks in the afternoon. However, working in a new location also gave me the feeling that I have to work even more efficiently – though this pressure was solely made by myself not by my team. Not working in familiar surroundings brings some uncertainties and unexpected happenings. Therefore, remaining flexible and calm is highly recommended. If you have that, I promise you will have fun working remotely around the world.
Did I feel lonely?
While working in a holiday spot can be pretty great, most of the time I work from home. One thing that has completely changed since I started working remotely is that I regularly listen to music. When I worked in an office so many people were around me and there was always background noise. Working alone at home I miss the constant buzz of an office so listening to music helps. As a very extroverted person I do miss working alongside my colleagues. However, I now intentionally arrange more coffee and sync calls which allows me to remain connected to my team. I have also changed my personal life, choosing to spend more time with my friends after work whereas when I worked in an office, I may have been too tired to go out as much.
Yes, remote work gives me the possibility to work where I feel comfortable and it doesn’t force me into an 8:00-17:00 job where I have to always sit at the same table. It helps me create a good balance between work that I love and my personal needs of traveling, sports and meeting friends. Even with the option of having flexible hours, my working hours and my routine stay nearly the same as when I worked in an office: I start the day at 6:30, I exercise before or in the middle of my work day, and end my day at around 16:30-17:30. However, I am the kind of person who is organized, autonomous, well-structured and reliable. Remote work could be tough for the unindependent, non-organized person.
If you are a free spirit, well-structured, self-motivated and love adventures, I suggest packing your things and exploring the world while working remotely.