I am writing this post from the beautiful outdoor/open library in Hilo, Hawai.
Last week, I read the book “Remote” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. They are the two founding members of signal37 (Basecamp), the company who started Ruby on Rails and is responsible for the project management suite Basecamp. In Remote, the authors discuss how their company was a success even though they had only a small number of employees, many who were working remotely from around the world.
In 2015, I was let go from my position as Director of Sales and Marketing for a small company on the Big Island. There were a lot of politics involved, but surely one of the large factors was my push to work remotely. I offered to show increased efficiency and effectiveness, take on costs, start on a trial basis, and even work as an independent contractor. I was refused on every level and eventually fired. Considering the company had not made a profit since the owner acquired the company (even with me increasing sales by nearly 20% and bringing in our largest customer and sale) over a decade earlier, it wasn’t surprising.
So, I started my own company, Team Ryugaku Marketing, helping small businesses with marketing and creating their websites. I dedicated a room in our home as an office and now control not only where I work, but also when and how. The transition hasn’t been all perfect. There have certainly been bumps on the way but I am much more relaxed and more focused than I was working in a crowded, loud office.
One of the difficulties has been the lack of social interaction, creative discussions, and motivation that can come from working with great co-workers. Most work places have too many distractions. Co-workers asking questions or coming by to chat, meetings, in office phone calls, etc. It is a wonder any work gets done at all.
However, the occasional distraction can be helpful. Sometimes it helps to get your mind off what you are working on to get a fresh perspective. If you are stuck, getting away from the problem can often help. When you are remote, it’s more difficult to do this. You also have to be more diligent about your work schedule. As mentioned in the book, When you mix work with home, it is easy to carry work over into other parts of your home. There is no official 5pm stopping time, so you keep working. It’s easier to get burnt out.
One of the points in the book focused on using different locations to break up your weekly schedule and avoid creative stagnation. I like my home office. It’s a symbol that I no longer have to commute and that I am pursuing one of my dreams. I have two large windows that look out to an ohia forest. I also enjoy helping small businesses with their marketing and their websites.
But being stuck in any room too long can get tiring.
I am taking the book’s advice and breaking up my work week. Starting today, I will spend two days a week working, at least partly, from a different location. Today I am spending a half day working from the Hilo Public Library. A beautiful location with an open garden located in the center. It has wifi (though I am using my phone as a hotspot for better reliability), is relatively quiet, and has lots of open tables. It’s really sad that no one uses the library anymore.
Over the next couple of weeks, I am planning to visit various locations around the city to find the ones I like. There are a lot of cafes and coffee shops I have never visited. In addition to the change of scenery, I am thinking that there is also a chance of meeting someone who might need my services.
Today is only the first day, but so far it is going really well. I had a nice drive (after peak traffic) and feel really relaxed sitting here working in a new location. The slight breeze and natural sunlight certainly help. Now for lunch.
If are a number of ways to work from home. Below are websites that have only “Remote” work positions.
Some excellent articles on the advantages and myths of working remotely:
Do you work remotely, I would love to hear your tips, tricks, experiences, and recommendations.