I work remotely out of Arrowtown, near Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island. I live amongst the mountains and lakes with ski fields and running trails right on my doorstep.
Somehow I convinced the JRNY co-founders to give me a job working from here, and I think I’m actually more productive than I’ve ever been!
Great Comms & Culture
I happen to work with a great team at JRNY who have excellent communications systems in place. Every morning we meet for Standup using Google Hangouts, and see how we’re each feeling that day out of 10 (10 being out of this world amazing; 1 being rubbish). Everyone joins in, no matter where they are in the world. We also use Slack for internal messaging and file sharing so our email inboxes don’t get cluttered with internal comms.
The communication at JRNY with a remote team is actually better than I’ve experienced in the past where everyone is at the same office with each other every day!!
Everyone has a great attitude, is collaborative, open to change and supportive of each other, which helps to make everyone feel included even if they’re not in JRNY Head Office. I have to say, for a young, small startup, we have some awesome processes in place and a great team culture. This certainly makes working remotely much easier.
During our Monday Standup, we also go over our goals for the week, then on Friday we evaluate whether we achieved those goals. If we didn’t achieve our goals, we see how we can help each other to achieve them the following week. At Friday meetings, we also say one thing we’re grateful for or wish to celebrate from the week just been! Reflection is just as important as goal setting for any team, but especially a remote team. Successes, small or large, deserve to be celebrated!
Frequent trips to see the team
I fly up to Wellington every three to four weeks to see the bulk of our team that works from there. We plan big juicy to-do lists for when we’re all together and pull off sprints over a day or two. We always squeeze in a social occasion like lunch or dinner too.
I think it’s really useful to see the rest of the team frequently to bond on a non-work related level. There are of course some tasks that are just easier to get done together in person, and these are great chances to get these things done.
I know how I work best - I’m actually more productive
I work best when I’m surrounded by things I love doing and can break up my day when I hit the wall or become unproductive.
My most productive hours are in the morning. I get up at 6am and after yoga and coffee (which I sometimes swap out for an early morning ski tour), I’m ready to open up my laptop and get stuck in by 7 or 7.30am most days.
So instead of sitting in an office waiting out the clock or making successive cups of tea when I start fading, I can break out for a run or ski, and come back more focused. My output for the same amount of time is way way higher!
This isn't necessarily specific to remote work, but I think it's worth mentioning - I don't think too many people would be productive, no matter where they're working, if they didn't have good tools to keep track of things. All my to-dos are listed in Trello, which is integrated with my Google Calendar so that I'm reminded of due dates. This is how I arrange my main Trello board, so that I can see a snap shot of all my to-dos in one place:
My meetings are all in Google Calendar. A tool which I hadn't used until working at JRNY is Confluence. This is an awesome collective wiki where we keep track of ideas, master plans, meeting notes etc and is editable by everyone.
Motivation and enjoyment
I consider myself a fairly motivated person, which helps I guess. But it’s virtually impossible to motivate yourself to do something you really don’t like doing. Because I enjoy my job, I genuinely want to get things done and to do a good job.