I've never been a fan of remote work or working form home. I've grown up in a hard working family where a lot of the success has been due to showing up early. At the time, this meant showing up at an office or another location. And it definitely meant getting ready and leaving the house. I've been conditioned to think that I had to do the same if I was expecting any results from my efforts and it was the only way I knew to not feel like I'm wasting my time. I naturally considered anyone that's not living by this schedule to be ineffective and was trying to teach them what hard work actually meant :D The problem with my point of view is that I had never tried anything else, so I was looking at the matter from a very limited perspective. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an awful global disaster that just comes to show how unprepared a lot of us are in the face of true problems. What I certainly was not prepared for was telling everyone on my team to stay at home for an indefinite amount of time and set up their workstations there. I felt like it's going to be truly problematic in terms of managing all the work and also for being able to keep the connections between team members alive. I was definitely not expecting for us to be so cohesive and coherent. Everyone on the team truly stepped up and made an extra effort to keep their workflows and communication running smoothly. So, my key takeouts from working remotely for the past 5 months are:
- Apparently our communication was pretty good to begin with. This allowed for a smooth transition.
- Everyone is more effective when focused towards a mutual goal or gathered around a common situation.
- Every now and then you need to test yourself and other people in situations that might seem "dangerous" or "scary".
- Working remotely allows us to make up our own schedule around our own lives. I've never worked out so much and so consistently before in my life. I also hadn't enjoyed so many home cooked meals (Thank you, Neri!) since I stopped living with my parents (Thank you, mom!).
- Personal connections on the job are not real personal connections. There might be a few exceptions, but it's definitely not the same thing. Working remotely allows for people to have more time for their real personal connections.
- Our office was a place of distraction. Need to be more careful when transitioning back to that.
- Remote work eliminates the temptation to slack off after you've arrived at the office. Showing up does not count anymore if you don't produce results.