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Understanding Your Remote Working Style


My name is Sylwia and I'm a front end developer and writer who also runs the relations stylist. And if you want to be friends with me, you know, find me on Twitter @Sylwiavargas, there's a w, but it's still pronounced sylvia. So for the next like minutes or so I'll will be talking to you about understanding your remote style.

This duck has been informed by real events, and I just want to share this with you as type of like, personal retrospective. Well, long story short at some age, you know, comes at point where you sit down and you think this is madness. Something's good to change. And so really the stock is a story about that. So just just so you understand my context better.

I will quickly tell you about some stepping sounds of my career. So First, in twenty sixteen, I was pursuing my Phd in sociology and I was working both in, you know, teaching, but also doing research. And so I really liked that job because of the silence, you know, like it was just me, my books and I sometimes students. And also, I was pursuing my interest. But I hated this job because I had no control...

Whatsoever over my schedule. This was poland. So, you know, I don't have to think about, like, health insurance and stuff because, you know, we just have that. I guess that the story will be different if I were in a different country. Then, well, along the work I was also developing my own.

And then when in twenty eighteen, I moved to the Us, I I couldn't just, like move my academic work over. So I look for a job, you know, at at an sector because that's what I knew you. And I worked at an international human rights organization I loved it because of the people, like minded people who really care about things. You know, we were connected it by the common mission. But, yeah, I mean, it's nice to have health insurance how.

And so then I felt, you know, something I need to change something because paying friends being able to pay rent is also nice. And so I went to a coding camp. And after that, I... I I stayed down to teach coding and when the pandemic hit, I was actually working on a contract with one like... Well, with a Prestigious University, where I was teaching coding to, you know, computer science students there.

And because of the nature of the contract, initially, we had to be on Zoom all the time, meaning things chapters had to be constantly available. You could have your camera speech off, but if someone comes over, you have to switch it down. So for eight hours, you know, you were on zoom call. And, you know, I like this job because of community and also because of teaching there's no greater... You know, yeah, there's no greater joy of helping someone understand something difficult.

I also thought not, you know, at the university but also different programs and some so forth. But I was to hated this job because of the zoom fatigue. And also it it's, you know, concluded in a really bad burnout. And so then, in twenty twenty one, I mean, some other things, you know, were along the way. And then in twenty twenty one, I joint sp.

And I have been enjoying my remote work, you know, to the fullest ever since. That sounds really true because when I joined s this, I was very burnt out and I was about to move from New York to long where I leave now. So I took this new job, you know, and new country as a fresh start. So I already, you know, found a team that I really you know, loved and in which I could be safe. But then that wasn't that wasn't, you know, that fix everything.

And so I took some time for, like, understanding, you know, how to make it work for myself or remotely. I will talk about it in a more. And so because before that, you know, I also just want to say what time is. You already heard about it. But just to repeat stag is a lovely company that creates interact called playgrounds that allow you to run node js inside your browser.

So it's great for docs for teaching and everyday workflows. Yeah. Let's go back to our story. So my story is going to be told through tips So I'm gonna share with you how I got to, you know, being so extremely happy as I am right now. So first, tip.

Ask yourself how you really really feel about remote work. So it's difficult to grow it's difficult to grow if you don't know, you know, how we really feel. You can't... You can't move forward. I will expand on this.

So there's a lot of discussion in both around remote work. I recognize, you know, that it is not for everyone. But if you feel some type of discomfort, you know, or if you really like it a remote, work gives you an opportunity to really dive dive deep to into the sources of that comfort of discomfort. For example, consider Michael, who, you know, typically maintain maintains relationships with the office employees through dogs. I imagine that and lockdown, my must probably would say something along the lines of.

Remote work, that's like kind bird to fly without wings. It just doesn't make sense. And if she was actually comfortable to be vulnerable with us, we might hear something like I'm not sure how I feel about working remotely. I enjoy being around people and interacting with my colleagues in person, and I'm worried that I might miss out on that if I work remotely. I just love making people laugh and being the jokes.

And I'm not sure how well the translates in in a remote setting. And another thing, it feels lonely without going to work. So what we read here is that Michael is cleaning lonely when he doesn't get the reassurance of a relationship through laughter from his colleagues. That he also doesn't know how to build relationships in ways that don't involve situational or comedy. And finally, we learned that the office is his way of meeting people.

Whenever, you know, you feel some kind of resistance or affinity, you know, about remote work, I would invite you to take a closer look at it. Like curious closer look and ask yourself why. And in this way, you can see that the problem you're blending the remote for may actually be somewhere else. So for example, I am a personal who works. As I said earlier here, I don't really love improvisation.

I like templates, I like worksheets So for example, a template for this kind of self investigation could look like this. I do not like or I like a remote work because Why? This makes me feel. Mh. Why?

I feel this way because I believe that. Mh. Why? I believe it's to be way because mh. So, you know, this is kind of abstract.

So let's make it into something concrete. For example, from a friend of mine, I do not like remote work because I tend to work much more Why? I work much more because I don't disconnect after work. Why? I don't disconnect afterward because I need to be productive and my word is at home.

Right? So... Yeah. The work environment is at home. Why?

I believe I need to be productive because I was told that Once values is measured by their achievements, And of course, it makes sense that the person who sees their work through productivity will be inclined to work a lot more in general. If their work happens to be also at their home. There will be even more, you know, they they will be even more unable to explain to work a. However, the problem here is not really where remote work, but internalized capitalism. In the is a pop science term that one professor defined as an idea that our self worth is directly linked our productivity.

You can't feel value in yourself for being a alive. Just for being a human being. You have to be a human doing to have and value. And then if we look into you know, solutions, they could be for example, foster or in you're everyday life to see how you feel. Find hobbies it's nurture fulfilling relationships create boundaries around acts of self self care.

Remember that you are the main character in your life. Meaning, you know, it's not the remote work that for example, in this example has to be the culprit print. It might be generally how we understand work in general. Right? And so maybe trying to just fix it.

We are trying to fix the wrong problem. So then now let's get back to a Microscope. So this actually this called, both of them actually don't come from Michael's called, but from a friend of mine. Who chose And her alter ego. And this image is generated from by and Valley.

It's It she actually reached out to me. So this doc is was first published on dev bonnie platform as a comment. So first, I wrote a very long comment to post and you know, it so happened that the algorithm algorithms on there are great and so friend of mine reach out to me because it's really... What I was talking about in that comment really with her. So we talked more about, you know, how she feels about remote work and so the quote comes from hair.

But we we that little bit deeper. So let's see how, you know, she followed the template. I do not like remote work because I feel lonely. Why? I feel only because I believe that the adults make friends in professional settings.

Why? I believe it's to be this way because I was thought that hug are for children and the adults with hope these are embarrassing. So, I mean, of course, if you feel guilty for resting relaxing or the time to help these, that have all. Isn't right. Once she understood that, you know, she doesn't have to view herself as project that needs you know, to meet quarterly Kpis.

She joined a community garden and made, you know, a lot of new non professional friendships that were actually really fulfilling because, you know, that's lots of different people from all work walks of life. Actually, as a result, ironically, her performance at work also improved. So, you know, it's for many people if not for most. It's just really difficult to show up to work if you're really unhappy with your life. And if you view yourself, you know, as I don't know another project.

So here again, the problem wasn't remote work. The problem was that she... My friend, you know, she wasn't exposed to making friends as an adult. Beyond the professional setting. And let's take last example.

I did also from a friend. I do not like remote work because I procrastinate it more. Why? I procrastinate it more because I'm lazy, Mac. Turn the nice capitalism.

Actually, no one is really lazy. There maybe some people. But from my experience, if you create in environment or if those faults are placed in an environment that nurture their curiosity all of this sudden, they are really driven. Right? So let's rephrase that.

Hap procrastinate more because I don't feel motivated to do it. Why? I don't feel motivated to do it because I just don't see how what I'm doing is bringing any value to my life or the world. Why? I don't see it because I honestly don't care about fintech Vc stocks, especially when the plan is on fire.

So easy. Like, this kind of realizations come of... Like, sometimes at some crisis moments, but sometimes sometimes only when you are just seeking, you know, with yourself. You know, at worked, this friend was always kept busy and so stressed about you know, the goals and Kpis and And all of those acronyms. So there was really no space for her to think about what she was doing.

She would also be you know, complemented by her bosses for... I don't know stuff up doesn't really that that that wasn't really meaningful for her for her performance or for, you know, for a a file. So once she was not around those stress, once she was not reminded all the time that she's lagging behind or, you know, was not satisfied with small compliments, she could actually that what she was doing was not online with her values. So again, like, the problem wasn't really the remote work, the problem somewhere else, but it's so much more difficult and stressful to actually look at where the problem is. And so it's so easy you know, so convenient to just say app remote not for me.

So that's the values thing. That brings us to the second bat tip, which is choose the team that aligns with your values and personality. Again, difficult to grow in a team that doesn't support your self discovery, both professional and personal. And that manages your every step. Like you can't innovate it can't be creative.

That being said, you know, in this economy I would say if you can choose the team aligns with your values and personality. And if you can't at least, you know, understand your values. So you heard my about my career and you heard that I already put a lot of thought into what kind of team I want before joining stack. But let me walk you through this. I actually identified the points of my distress and those were being micro.

Zoom calls, a real time collaboration because I'm not the talker even though now I'm talking, but at might contribute are usually required. I mean, I prefer writing because in the real time collaboration, I just can't focus. I can't hear myself. And not having control over my schedule, and that meant that I needed a team that valued autonomy I needed a team that that was distributed. I needed a team that valued a collaboration and where schedule was flexible and we had unlimited time off.

That is very important to me because I have a lot of very neat hobbies interests. And so, you know, this is tag. We have six members. We are fourteen countries in three continents our schedule is flexible. As you see we have time of ten percent of holidays two week winter break company wide mental health days and an in personal sites The winter break and the mental health this are really important because it's different if you are just going, you know, away for holidays and it's different when the whole company is away.

There are no notifications. You don't feel like, you know, you're missing out on something. So that's super important. And then a typical we start base, of course, it depends on what role you have, but this is the bare minimum. You had, you know, you would start Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

I mean, monday Monday Wednesday and Friday, you would have, like, half hour meetings. That her just like building. So we talk about our weekend on Monday and we give a shout out to someone on Friday And then on Tuesdays basically shouldn't have meetings. And of course, sometimes it's weeks that happen but that happens. And then on Thursdays we have a retrospective over all hands.

Then of course, you know, within your team, you would have some things or whatever but my comment is that there aren't... Like, meetings are not the default. Because of that, you know, I was able to do a lot of so searching an investigation, which I will tell you about in the second. And that landed me in... This is my week.

I wake up when I'm rested. On Mondays, I usually the research and I study. Of course, I also work, but this is this a week is more about, like, what I do because my schedule allows for that. Right? So this is not related to work.

On Tuesday. I the Swedish and therapy. On Wednesday, at this couple with seniors are in a local library in the morning for, you know, a few hours, And then on Thursday, learn Spanish on Fridays, I go to museums and also on the weekends, but that's not important. So now, you know, this sounds really cool. And at some point, there's always someone who says, wow, how do you get anything done so much for time?

And the point is that we actually love what we do. So why not to delete? We are curious. And, you know, I myself. I'm really excited because I am treated like an adult at and no one is you know, oversee...

Like, micro managing me. I am I am responsible for my schedule, but also for my output. And so because of that, I don't I just feel like my energy is allocated in the right places, and my team trusts me in that my decisions are okay. We do ship at incredible speed. Actually, in the...

Because people are, you know, typically motivated or at least Very curious about what we are doing. And so for example in the past half hour, we had two massive launches and also conference. Right? So Of course, there are times when no when busy and it's not all roses this and I work a lot. But even when I work a lot, it's I don't...

I don't go to bed stressed as hell. I don't I... I still have time to, you know, do things that make me a whole human. So you know, as I said, it hasn't been like that from the beginning of... I mean, the flexible schedule was there.

But I had to do a well of soul searching. And I... Once I don't stacked it and So once I ahead the team that you know, aligned with my values, I could finally think about what I want my day to do day to day to look like. And so as again, as I said before, I'm a processor in this person. So I took out an notebook and, you know, I don't out a lot.

We are all to believe, you know, certain things to be true that, you know, sometimes not necessarily are. So I wrote down all my beliefs about work. Like, for example, it's our work they make sense and results results productivity. Meetings things are necessary. I need to performance this review to know how I'm doing.

And then, you know, and so on so forth. So since I no longer work that an office, I allowed myself to go wild with testing works for me. And so the first few weeks or months, I think months, you know, I was just like trying different settings and I ask I would ask myself a question and then, you know, try different things. So for example, do I like to work in the morning in the afternoon or at night? Or maybe depends on the task.

Do I like to work in long stretches or short intervals? Do Like strict schedule. Is it about how long I work or what type of work I do? What kind of connection do I need with my colleagues to feel happy and safe? Do Need an know, of his space or like, at home or do I just want to keep working from my sofa?

If not measured by time, what is my definition of an honest day's? And then... Sorry. And then what's non work activities make me better at my work. And so this one turned out to be crucial because often times we just fuck you so much on, you know, just doing our tasks that we don't we lose the big picture.

So once I started thinking about you know, the things that I like to go for example writing. And I said it's, you know, spending more time on that, there's actually not only made be happier and also resulted in new friends, but also actually made me much better it's my work. And so to do, find hobbies and as go back to the previous ones. So that was quite the revolution. Keep three.

Understand how you rest. It is... In the terms of hassle culture, we no longer know how to rest. So in twenty twenty, I was so that even on the weekend, I have exactly zero energy for reading or learning or museums or even sleep. I would just literally mindless this cross.

Right? So here's the saying that so a few weeks ago, somewhere and it became my mantra actually, and I wanted to share it with you, make peace of mind your goal and organize your life around that. It's easy to say, but I been try and see implement it's... You know, it's a good reminder for me to just you know, of what's important. And so I want to share with you how I designed my wrist.

Because now I actually... No matter what happens I sleep eight two eight to ten hours. And since I I can tell you like this is best. So first, I looked at what prevents me from really disconnecting. So in the...

As a result, I set up clear work hours. Sometimes they are not you know, the same. I don't work from ten to let's say six every day because as I said, I'm busy. I am a busy person with my life. Now but I always work, you know, I always have clear work times but for myself.

Right? So that's it doesn't matter if I start working and then I do a museum break and then I work more, it's more about just, like having clarity when work happens and when it doesn't happen so that I can show up to my, you know, activities and my friends and my family. Then book the lunchtime. Even though we almost have no meetings, I have my lunch booked more as a reminder for myself to step away and eat something healthy. So we had quite a few conversations in our team about Social rules with regards to pinging someone when they away.

Or like, waiting with decisions when someone is away. So that you don't feel that you always have to check, you know, it's slack because otherwise you're gonna you know miss something. I don't work in the morning. I have coffee, and that's it and, you know, like I don't check Slack or whatever. I am...

I'm still working regarding my work hours because sometimes I am, you know, at the museum, but I'm still thinking about, you know, work. And I still have slack on my phone. This is something I'm starting to... I'm getting to. And then I looked at communication what drains my energy.

And so you see that the best communication methods for me are Slack, no notifications. And email. But Zoom or like, slack of notifications is just really, like... I am... I need an app afterwards Because of that, I set up a no meeting day, which will still have, but now I'm actually serious about it.

I schedule zoom calls late during in the day because since they're gonna hire me anyway, you know, maybe I can have my productive time, you know, on something else. I switch off all notifications everywhere, and I have healthy expectations about response time so that I don't put you know, and urgent on myself to respond immediately because the truth is that most people actually are fine waiting some time or even, like few days. And then resting. Once I figured that out, I could rest. So I it's sure to sleep eight hours night and how do I do that?

Not by going to bed early, but by scheduling snow meetings before eleven. I sometimes start work error if I wake up earlier, but I just don't... I want to make sure that, you know, I don't wake up at six. I am stressed that you know, I have a meeting at eight Am, and I'm gonna be tired. I don't know if he's heavy way but...

Yeah. I that's how feel. I'm spending time with nature. I'm spending time on hobbies and of with friends. And those were kind of like rest activities that's really result in me being just fairly happier.

I'm still, you know, struggling with booking time off ahead of time. We are so much in the now all the time that we kind of forget that we also should take time off. And I'm still checking twitter after seven Pm. And then I'm angry. Or something.

So I'm trying to, you know, like... Yeah. We'll see where we get with this one. So the last it connecting to being resting is be comfortable. Comfort, you know, means difference for every person.

So for... So, you know, sometimes it is just like it's good to ask yourself, you know, when do you feel comfortable in your you know, when you're body feels comfortable? So sometimes, you know, for example, can... It can be when you just sat down on the sofa or you put in a very tense. Maybe you know some kind of shower in the really just the right temperature.

It means something different for every single person. For me, comfort, For example, means second. So tense, and I'm wearing them right now. You every single time. I'm putting them on And like, comfort.

Minty, which reminds me of my grandma, and I make to always think about my and drinking min tea. Office life. Nope. That is exactly the opposite of comfort and that's good to know. And then home, quite and unpredictable.

I love it. But the thing is that once you know what contributes to your comfort, before you do those things, say, you know to yourself that you are doing that for yourself as a gift, you know, of comfort to yourself. And so thank you for having me here if you... You know, if you're a cozy core person, you know, out to me here my. And also, I would really love to hear either questions.

This you have for me or maybe your tips if you like to share with me. Thank you.