I work remotely for almost 3 years now and I am happy with it. First of all, because the company I am working for, InfluxData, is not based where I live. I am currently in Turin and it is in San Francisco, so the unique way for me to do the kind of work I am doing today is to be remote. I moved to Dublin for 2 years because my English was not as I hoped it to be and I was looking for a quick way to make it right. Beers and good friends helped me to succeed! I still have to use Grammarly to write blog posts but hey, at least I can write them.
Anyway, I like to work with people from all over, and that’s why I am not even thinking about the possibility to get back to work for a small company in Italy for now. Right now the perception is almost like getting paid to work in the same environment I used to work for free when contributing to open source communities. People from all over my conditions in terms of time commitment. I just have to work hard and do what it takes to make my team and the company to improve. This is, in essence, the difference between remote work and smart working. You can work remotely as you work in an office. You have to be at your desk, at some time for 8 hours, even when it is raining, even when you feel unproductive.
This rambling is to remember to myself that I do not like remote working, I like smart working. I like to be able to organize my time because my boss trusts my ability to judge the situation. I can work day and night and take a break an entire day if I feel like I have to. Obviously it is a huge responsibility and a risk from both side, as a company you do not have the common framework that we built across years to figure out how productive an employee is, and as a worker, you have to develop the risk skills to read the situation you are in. But this ability helped me to be a conscious developer and not just a code generator that solves self-built challenges.
Hero image via Pixabay
So I would like to rephrase the title: “Smart working does not need to be remote, but it helps”.
I realized the difference because I had to get smarter, my company is 9 hours behind my current time. I work alone a lot. I have to read in advance what the product or my product manager will ask me to work on because I have to develop a buffer that will keep you busy when the current task I am resolving is blocked or I can’t get around it without reaching to a person that will probably be offline, or maybe I can but it will take so much effort that it is smarter for me to just wait. It is equivalent to procrastinate until you can shake the chair of your coworker that wrote the freaking recursive function that you have to debug. The problem is that you never know if the coworker will even show up.
Companies you have to set up your workload to assist smart workers, not a remote worker. In tech at least, where this is a reachable goal.
I think it is a temporary condition, right now I feel like I need both, remote to be able to work where I think I will learn or perform better, or where it is funnier. And smart, because I like to develop organization skills and to feel the master of my clock.
Who knows how it will evolve. Thank you for your time.