Now, I know I am not a unique little snowflake in the way that I normally do my work, but I saw an interesting blog post Mikkel Hippe from Tradeshift, that made me think about how I work. TRadeshift is a fierce competitor of ours, but that should not keep me from pointing out things that I agree with now should it?
The blog post is basically about the advantages of remote workers. I am not a remote worker as such, but since most of my team is located in Manila, and since I sometimes have to work out from outside the office, I rely heavily on various communications tools, many of which are mentioned in Mikkel’s blog post.
For me, the biggest issue is being as close as possible to my team. Normally I would use Skype or Windows Live Messenger, but since that is a no-go due to foolish corporate policies, I rely on go-to meeting most of the time. This is not a very good solution for keeping a 1:1 relation with your developers, so I make sure to use Office communicator as much as possible. Hopefully we will get the upgrade to Lync, which should quite a bit better. The voip in Communicator is not that good, and the webcam support makes everything too slow. I have a sneaky suspicion that it has something to do with our network, but I can’t be sure.
The thing about Lync is that I can use it on my Windows Phone and my iPad. Because of the time difference between Copenhagen and Manila, I have to be pretty flexible when it comes to my work hours. And since I am not always on the computer, it makes sense to use the phone and the tablet. The same thing goes for email. I have my Exchange mail on my phone and iPad well, which as me to respond quickly to emails, essentially making sure the team does not momentum because they are waiting for me. Especially the Windows Phone experience is really good. Actually, it is probably my most important tool these days.
The downside to all this is of course that I am “on” most of the time, which pretty much sucks. However, it affords me some more flexibility on terms of work/life balance and the time I spend in the office. For me, being in the office actually means that I am less productive, because I get interrupted so much, and because I keep my calendar open, people have no problem booking for half days at a time. Being remote some of the time makes it possible for me to manage my time better and ensure that I meet my deliverables according to schedule.