I know, some of these are a no brainer but there were some surprises. As you can see, this is long… Better grab a coffee or tea.
What I Learned about Me
- I work very effectively in the office and remotely. While in the office you’re able to read body language and associate verbal queues with said body language. By having this association, you can now better understand your team when remote. This is key when having your daily meeting or while on conference calls.
- I LOVE not having to commute when working remote. You can wake up, execute your morning routine, and start working right away. By eliminating my commute, I easily save 1-2 hrs per day. CAVIAT: Do not assume that the elimination of a person’s commute means they can work more hours in a day. The quantity of hours worked in a day is more of a vanity metric than a true productivity metric.
- I get less exercise while working remote. You’re not going up and down the stairs for meetings or walking to another person’s cube to follow up on something. However, by saving time commuting, I could easily fit in a work out routine.
- It’s cheap! There’s less of a temptation to go out for lunch or go down to the coffee shop to buy a coffee. Everything is already there! Also, I can put a new pot of coffee on whenever I want. Oh yeah, no gas!
- Even though I started early in the morning, I found it very refreshing to walk Erin to work each morning. I would come back to the hotel room very refreshed and had a different outlook on my day compared to when I left. Also, I really enjoy the time with Erin.
- My hunger decreased. When I’m in the office I would get very hungry between 10:30AM and 11AM, even if I ate a decent size breakfast. For some reason, this didn’t happen when working remote.
What I Learned about my Team
- First and foremost, my team is awesome! I managed to build the right team and I trust them. As part of that trust, they are able to execute, work independently, or work together when needed. I’m very proud of my team for being able to do this.
- If they need something they will get a hold of me. As a manager, leader, or whatever… make sure that your team can reach you and level-set what your personal preferences are. I’m a fan of a phone call, email, text, or instant message.
- If they need to make a decision, they will (but tell me afterwards or ask for insight if needed). This is awesome! Why should I be a bottleneck for a decision when my team has the knowledge and expertise to execute?
- Lastly, it’s hard to get an awesome team. I’ll miss them (more to come on this one).
- The hotel that I stayed at had free coffee 24hrs a day. Not only was I forced to get up and move around by drinking coffee but it was also nice to get up and grab some more coffee through out the day. I don’t even get free coffee at work. NOTE: I did take the elevator to get coffee. I should have taken the stairs (8 floors).
- The internet speeds at the hotel weren’t the greatest. Oh, add a VPN on top of that. I was lucky if I could get 2MB down. I even went to Best Buy and purchased the Gigabit Lightning LAN adapter for my MBP only to find out that the ethernet drop in the hotel room wasn’t active.
- When VPN is slow… It’s really slow! Just like the old dial-up days.
- There was a TV in the room… but I rarely turned it on during the day. I found it much more useful to use Coffitivity. I have the Mac and iPhone app.
- I drank less water and I didn’t like this. I’m too cheap to buy a lot of bottled water and was too lazy to get water from the bathroom. Coffee is what was on the menu.
- NO COMMUTING! I could instantly crank through all of my email in the amount of time it would take me to commute to work.
- The hotel phone had a speaker phone and WebEx dial-in numbers are toll-free. The only time I used my mobile phone was when someone would call me or if I was working in a coffee shop (only once on this trip and wasn’t ideal for my daily team SCRUM call).
- I can get more work done working remote than I can in the office. It’s also quieter and I can easily produce more documentation and focus on the details.
- People will go around you if you’re not in the office. It’s imperative that you keep in contact with your team and other peers to ensure that process is followed.
- The time that you have on the phone is even more valuable when you’re working remote. At the beginning of the call you’ll have your pleasantries while you wait for others to join. Then you get to the point and dig in. Then you have your pleasantries again and say goodbye. My team has been rocking it and have been taking our daily calls seriously.
- Surprisingly, I didn’t use my iPad at all. I guess I was to paranoid about hooking it up to the wifi – even though I could have used VPN.
- Companies don’t use collaboration tools to the fullest extent. Lync, Skype, and Google all support video, audio, and screen sharing capabilities but workplaces very rarely use all of them. In fact, I was forced to use the hotel room phone for conference calls because my collaboration tools didn’t support or have the necessary feature enabled for me to call in.
How well do you work when you’re remote? Do you wish you could do it more often?