The last six months or so I have been working remotely as a product owner for SimCorp, a company I worked with for many years prior to moving to Stockholm in 2017. The agreement was to visit the headquarter in Copenhagen 2-3 days every month, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, so far I’ve only visited the office once after re-joining.
This has actually worked out quite well! A major reason is of course that I have a long history with SimCorp and know the product and the people well. The technical setup works well, and with almost everyone working remotely, you avoid many of the pitfalls of having remote team members. Actually, I can’t imagine going back to a full 5-day working week in the office again, at least not as long as I have kids living at home, a good internet connection, and an office where I can close the door.
Here are my personal perspectives on working remotely.
What I enjoy from working remotely
- Going for a walk in the lunch break or in the morning after bringing kids to school.
- Picking up kids early from school and kindergarten and go sleigh riding in the first snow before it gets dark.
- Watching recordings of general information meetings at double speed and skip ahead to the important parts.
- Reaching out to people on Slack for them to get back to me when they have time.
- Having a quiet workspace for concentrated work whenever I want it.
What I don’t miss from pre-covid days
- Queuing on the freeway rush hour traffic or in a crowded subway and worrying about not getting to the office in time.
- Cruising around looking for the last available parking lot, seeing it taken by another car, and instead going to that faraway parking lot that adds precious 15 minutes to the commute in both directions.
- Hoping to make it to school in time to pick up kids to not have your kid being the last kid around for the third time this week.
- Going to the airport early morning to visit a nearshore office with my wife being on full time kids duty and my only contact with the kids being a video call just before bedtime.
- Forgetting to renew monthly train tickets or optimising the ticket period for the upcoming vacation just to have it been in vain by unplanned sick days.
What I miss about not going to the office
- I’m still working on that list.
Well, I guess I should include free coffee and having a clear mental on/off switch for at work/not at work. But most importantly I have enjoyed getting to know new colleagues over coffee and lunch over the years, sharing war stories and venting the occasional workplace issue. Many I still keep contact with and consider friends.
Working remotely is not without drawbacks and pitfalls of course. But I’m sure companies will find ways to embrace and become truly “remote first” companies and be awesome places to work. It's such a privilege to have a kind of work where this is possible.