Remote Work Bliss: How I Survived Becoming A Remote Worker
Beyond the office, there is an entire world ready for us to explore. Not everyone thrives in a cubicle, and not everyone is productive in that space. Droplr recently decided to take a leap of faith by offering remote positions for its U.S.-based employees. As operations specialist and customer success representative for Droplr, this blog is dedicated to my experiences in shifting from a traditional office space to a remote worker.
At first, I was honestly a bit nervous. I have been working in an office for the last five years. Getting to sit in my pajamas every day sounded great, but was it really going to work?
At the same time, remote work has always been a dream of mine as it has always represented the way I’ve wanted to live. In the current global marketplace, working remotely is becoming more and more culturally accepted. Every day there are more jobs that offer remote work options.
Automattic can pull it off, so why not Droplr? Having talked to their Customer Success Advocate, Maria Scarpello, I was slowly buying into the whole idea.
Maria works from her mobile home/office, wherever she’s parked (She lives in an RV!). Her take on remote work is that she works from wherever she wants, loves the fact that there’s no commute and the work hours are flexible to her productivity times.
This gave me a sense of what the pros and cons of my future lifestyle would be:
On the one hand, you’re more flexible and can choose when to work, this means I am more productive. On the other hand, you need to learn to collaborate in a totally new way. I believe in life-long learning and love change. I could handle that!
The remote worker reality was a roller coaster
Still, for the first few months after my employer made this transition, I worked from my home. I won’t lie. It was a bit of a roller coaster.
When you walk into an office every day, it’s easy to get into work mode because everyone else already is. Here you can always talk to your co-worker for a quick break. After going remote, sharing a coworker’s weekend plans over morning coffee and having that social balance was completely gone.
I guess you could say this kind of thing is partially a distraction anyway, but it’s what we are all used to in an office culture. In an office setting, someone always brings those holiday treats that make you feel guilty and utterly comforted at the same time.
I was definitely not going to forsake the latter. Every now and then, I would walk down to the coffee shop and get out of the house. I work pretty well in coffee shops. I quickly realized, though, how much my almond milk latte was costing, so drip house coffee became my go-to.
Also, I know almost every other person in my town, so I would get distracted often, losing about 10-15 minutes of my precious work time for conversations. That had to stop.
The rambler trying to work and… ramble
So I decided to take my remote work on four wheels for a few weeks to test out whether my dream of working and traveling remotely was truly going to work.
It’s exhilarating to be able to pick any place your heart desires to work remotely. But of course, there are a lot of things to consider and planning to do it efficiently and effectively is an enormous challenge.
Even if you don’t have obligations like pets or children that keep you from going off the grid completely, there is still a fair amount of planning.
There are a few things you just have to consider:
Where can you get stable wifi? Is this place quiet enough for business calls? These things seem like they would be easy to find, but such is not always the case. Planning where you are going and finding the things essentials you need to do your job along the way are crucial. My mobile wifi hotspot became a critical tool as I often found myself in state campgrounds where there was no wifi access.
On a brighter note…
I ride my bike in my spare time. Visiting new places and exploring is something I am passionate about. Seeing the world in a different light gives me the perspective of what is out there, meeting new people builds my character, and challenges my normal routine.
I believe this is something that we can gain from stepping outside of a cubicle. Being able to work remotely allows me to fulfill my passions in cycling. This, in turn, allows me to carry low stress when it comes to any work environment that I choose. I am able to focus completely without worry that my personal needs are being met.
All in all
There are distractions both in the office and outside of the office that you constantly have to overcome. But after several months of familiarization, in my opinion, neither one actually outweighs the other in any substantial way.
You can have the never-ending chatter with your co-workers, or the loud phone conversation in the coffee shop distracting you from focusing. Finding the balance of where you work best is personally the best option for remote work and it allows you the freedom to be responsible for your own work.
You may worry that, having quitting an office job, you lose contact with your peers you could potentially learn from. This doesn’t have to be the case, though. If you worry, check our Ashley von Clousburg’s article on her experience of being part of a remote team of designers at Automattic.
For me, being able to travel and experience the world outside the office gives me a much better understanding of life. It allows me to truly focus on work when I’m on the clock, knowing I am fulfilling the part of me that wants the opportunity to explore once the workday ends.
Are you considering making the leap?
If you do, I’m the last person to talk you out of it. Just remember: having a strong relationship with your co-workers and trust with your boss is really important in making this transition.
Whether you work in your pajamas, coffee shop, a bookstore, or even a campground, getting your work done and being productive is what matters most in your work life at the end of the day. So if you need to have more say as to when and where you work, and you can organize and take accountability for your work, go ahead. Give it a go!