Working Remotely....What's it Really Like?

Originally Posted on LinkedIn

Hey there! My name is Luke and I am a remote worker based out of Galway, Ireland. Long time reader, first time publisher to LinkedIn (be kind!). I'm working for the amazing company that is Shopify and wanted to pen this article to address one of the most common questions that I get asked in interviews... "What's working remotely like?"

It's a great question, hopefully my personal account of working remotely and how I've embraced it will help answer some of the more common questions and lessen the fear around remote work!

Do you actually do any work?

This question is mostly asked by family and friends who find it difficult to think you are working at home! I think it's a valid question and a common misconception of remote work. Yes there are freedoms offered by remote work (working from PJs is a big one) but in reality, people who work from home work hard. In my experience, it's common to work longer hours remotely because it is so easy to log-in to emails, or respond to a ping. Part of the challenge of remote work is giving yourself a start and end time to your work day.

Be honest though, do you work from bed all day?

I do not. However I could, but it might not be as productive. As I mentioned above, one of the biggest changes that I had to make once I started working remotely was developing a routine, starting my day and ending my day. At first I fell into the trap of working crazy hours because the laptop was there and I love my job! This isn't ideal and can lead to burn out.

Whether it is walking for 10 minutes in the morning, having 15 minutes of mindfulness after you finish work or even going for an intense (maybe not too intense) game of 5-a-side soccer - routine is key. It's very easy to never switch off from work mode and having some sort of structure really helps with your work/life balance.

Is it lonely?

I count myself extremely lucky to be involved in a company where culture and people are really valued. This was one of my biggest concerns when I first started the role. How do we create those bonds and supports if we are all remote? I actually communicate with people more remotely through technologies like Slack, Google Hangouts and than I would probably communicate in an office setting.

As part of the Irish team, the social aspect is extremely important and we organise team dinners, events (Halloween and Christmas parties, games nights, quiz nights etc.) and casual get togethers most weekends where people can socialise outside of work and help build that social structure.

Since moving into Talent Acquisition, the rest of my team members are based in Canada. While we don't have those social get togethers as much we do have virtual face time everyday and I have meetings with my team lead every week! This might seem like a lot but it really is vital for creating those bonds.

Sounds great... a little too great! What's the catch?

Honestly for me there is no catch. Working remotely is a lifestyle choice as much as a career decision. You need to be able to motivate yourself to do great work. You need to have the discipline to look after yourself so that you don't end up working 14 hour days or not leaving the house (or bed) for days at a time.

It's not for everyone, you need to want to work from home and you need to have a purpose in what you are doing. That purpose really helps push through the tougher days and grow. #Growth Mindset for the win!

Look after mind, body and soul

A big part of enjoying remote work is that you embrace the positives and look after yourself first and foremost. I found these resources very useful hopefully they are of some use to you too!

The Headspace app really helped calm my mind after a day of work.

Galway based Pat Divilly provides great insights and ideas on his Facebook and YouTube channels that helped me get back into the swing of things physically after I fell into the trap of long hours and never switching off.

Figuring out my purpose and why really was a turning point for my journey in remote work. Some books that helped me are Drive by Daniel H. Pink, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck and most recently Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Thanks for reading! Any questions or comments are greatly appreciated :)

Luke out!



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