Just two months ago I started to work remotely, full-time, for the first time. Tyto, the agency that I now call home, has a ‘location agnostic’ work model. Simply, we don’t have an office, and everyone works from home or from a shared workspace.
Although many companies offer more flexibility in terms of where, when and how people work nowadays, a fully remote model is still far from the norm – and many people still wonder how this setup really works.
So as a relative newcomer to the remote working world, here’s five, perhaps surprising, observations from me:
You don’t have to be always available, let go of the pressure
In my first few weeks at Tyto, I put myself under an enormous amount of pressure to compensate for a lack of physical presence by being always ‘available’ and answering every email or message immediately. After all, I need to show that I’m working and not watching Netflix right?!
I was pleasantly surprised to come to learn, however, that this is not expected. You can concentrate fully on a task at hand, make a coffee and even just take a break without feeling guilty about it. Nobody expects immediate answers just because you’re working remotely, and I have learned to embrace the benefits of having the headspace to get on with my work.
You look at a screen even during meetings
We have an unwritten rule at Tyto, that we always use video if we have a team or client meeting or even just a one-to-one – and it’s great! It already feels weird to have a call without video, and it really does make you feel like you’re in the room with people.
The one downside: usually meetings are a time to enjoy some time away from the screen. This is not the case if you work location agnostically, and so it is more important than in any other setting to make sure you take regular breaks. But the pros definitely outweigh the cons – you can meet anyone at any time, from anywhere!
When you first get together with your team in person, you meet no strangers
When I first met the whole Tyto team in London for one of our regular hack days, I felt quite nervous about meeting such a big group of people for the first time. Although I had already worked at Tyto for some weeks, I expected it to feel like my first day ‘in the office’ of a new job. It didn’t!
It is amazing how much you can get to know people via video calling. I simply said ‘hello’ picked up my conversation with my colleagues from the last time we had chatted. The only thing, which was surprising – some colleagues are shorter or taller than you expect based on a video call – a strange but true phenomenon!
You actively have to go outside
If you work from home, it is easy to just stay in your apartment the whole day. You actively have to fight against your laziness to get moving and keep active. Do sports, meet people for lunch or at least go for a walk before work or in your lunch break. Bad weather is no excuse and making sure you get fresh air is super important to maintain focus and productivity.
You have a fully stocked kitchen
I didn’t realise what a huge benefit of home working this would be. I am not a huge fan of canteens in large companies, because the quality is often questionable (at best!). At home, I can just use what is available in my fridge and cook a quick lunch. It is amazing and the best part is – you can eat garlic and onions in your lunch break. After all, your colleagues don’t care!