When I tell people about my job at Automattic working wherever I want, people begin riffing about how much easier life would be with a remote job. It starts innocuous enough: “I could go to the gym whenever I wanted! I could sleep in!”. Fairly quickly though, the conversation goes down a path of working less hours, sitting on a beach, sleeping all day…
It frustrates me to no end. I work my ass off and there are huge challenges to working effectively as a remote employee. My job is not easy. I am not lazy. I don’t just drop everything on a whim and go to a different country. I plan out wifi spots. I plan around meeting times. I communicate well ahead of time with my team so they know what to expect from me. I shift meetings around as needed based on my timezone so I can still cover my responsibilities – I don’t just cancel them.
When I am spending time with you in person, I have worked VERY hard to carve that time out and to make it so that I can shut my computer and be present.
Some days (in a beautiful, lovely, new country), I spend 10 hours straight typing furiously on my computer, hopping on calls, and barely leaving the couch working straight through meals.
Remote work is hard work. It’s complex to work across cultures, timezones, and tools. It’s draining to do it while sitting completely alone. For many, I actually think it would be an immense challenge compared to going to an office every day.
I love it though :). It works for me and I work hard to make that the case. Don’t confuse remote for being an easier or a lazier way of working – it is simply a different approach.
On a more positive note, it is really neat to see where all the neat places my coworkers work from: https://officetoday.wordpress.com/.