Remote Work as a Tool

April 2, 2020 - By

For me remote work has been an incredible tool. For over a decade working from home has been a once-a-week necessity. I have called it my “speed bump”. Email and work place messengers allow us to stay connected, but the reality is my interruptions at home are less than 20% of what they are in an office. It is a haven of focus.

Maybe there can be too much of a good thing though! My three-year stint as an entrepreneur showed me the value of working with people and the magic of serendipity. I cherish being able to work from home, but like thousands of other knowledge workers, I am not thrilled with mandatory remote days… as critically important as they are. Welcome to 2020! I could enjoy working remote permanently, but would prefer the option of being around people again.

I started to invest time in preparation for remote work in early February with the goal of having my team ready for the possibility of the coronavirus pandemic reaching North America. Eight weeks ago I felt like my peers could perceive me being an over-imaginative prepper, but things changed quickly. I was encouraged after reading Remote: Office Not Required that a lot has changed since its release; most aspects of collaborating in the cloud are common. The learning curve has been gentle.

I am entering week four of self-isolation, and things are beginning to exceed office levels of efficiency! I love seeing other designers and developers share their work space setups online, and have been blown away at how many people work in pristine magazine-ready spaces. That is not the case for me. Being in the corner of an unfinished basement I chose a more cluttered aesthetic if only to hide as much of the insulation as I could.

A photo of my eccentrically cluttered office space
A photo of my desk; three monitors, mic, keyboard and mouse

If you’re interested in treating these photos as an Eye-Spy exploration you will find:

  • A genuine autograph of Bill Gates
  • Too many mechanical keyboards
  • Too many yo-yos
  • Teeth, shark, cow, and human
  • Masks I carved in high school
  • A lot of artwork from my children
  • Two telegraph machines
  • A Raspberry Pi
  • A printed head in a jar
  • A jar of stones from Greece
  • A print out of the “It’s OK To… poster
  • A twine sling like David used to slay Goliath

It’s an eclectic space, and it’s mine… it makes video conferences more interesting while we wait for people to join, and my two kids love to visit and explore too.

Today Remote Work is a tool that’s more important than ever, but I for one look forward to the day when it isn’t the only way to get things done… and it will be nice to be back in my pristine workstation.

A juxtaposed photo of my clean workstation at the Crossroads office

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This post was written by ArleyM