Async/Remote: make work a better place
I’d like to share my insights on some personal benefits that I gain working async/remote. Some of them are well known and while they might seem obvious, they aren’t seen until you have the real experience.
Notice: This post is a snapshot of my personal experience and probably isn’t directly applicable to you, just use your imagination and project it on yourself
More time with kids
Ability to share more moments with kids is by far the greatest benefit I’m getting from my remote job. As a father of two beautiful girls (Lea - 5 y.o. and Naomi - 2 y.o.) I can’t emphasize enough, how important it is to me. I also know and feel that this is super important for them too. First of all, it’s not like they are constantly jumping around me while I’m working, no. It’s the opposite, I usually work behind closed doors, but when I have a break and I leave my “office”, they’re happy to see me and spend 5-10 minutes together.
It’s worth noticing that my wife and I are not kindergarten fans. We do believe in the importance of providing kids with freedom of choice from the very beginning. I really haven’t met any kids under 4 years old who would prefer going to the kindergarten over spending time with family. Even Lea only goes to the activities she’s chosen herself (and it’s perfectly fine for her to change her preferences at any time). There’s no need to get used to that mindset where you’re obliged to do something you don’t feel like doing. “You must spend 8 hours here, it doesn’t matter that it won’t be too productive for you and it may not be what you want for yourself, but it’s comfortable for me” — and there goes one more future sad office worker. I don’t mean that all kindergartens are necessarily evil, but if I can avoid putting my kids there, I will.
I see that me being at home is especially crucial for Naomi, my younger daughter, especially when Lea isn’t around. Sometimes she’s looking for me when I’m not on a break and I still try to go to her and satisfy her need in spending some time with me right here right now. It doesn’t affect my productivity because kids satisfy their “thirst” of communication pretty fast if “drinks” are served regularly. One of the awesome things that would be impossible if I would not be working from home is that I often can put Naomi to sleep for her daytime nap when she wants me to, and sometimes have a nap myself. I can see that knowing that I’m almost always around has a great positive effect on my little one.
Another obvious benefit for my family is that I can shape my day in a way that I can take Lea to her rock climbing section, or have a walk with Naomi in the middle of the day. I can also adjust my daytime in a way that gives my wife more time to handle her professional stuff. I am able to work like this because at Arkency we try to do async as much stuff as possible. It means is that every task you do should be stateless and you shall not be blocked by someone other. Kids grow extremely fast and, believe me, you want to spend as much time as possible near them while they need it the most.
A room where I’m not to be disturbed and where I can get any setup I like is another super important part of my working process. I can pair program, have a meeting, work in silence, or listen to some loud music, eat while still working, play guitar whenever I feel like I need a break (I have my bass right next to me all the time 🎸), work dressed by my kids like a friendly ghost or a dragon, I’m able to do anything really. AND I don’t have to go to pointless meetings, have unnecessary conversations and sit my chair dressed like a human 9 to 5. And of course, I still can work from some third place when I feel too hikikomori. I go to coffee shops, coworking spaces, alone or with friends, whenever I feel like it. This freedom and customizability combined do good things to me, honestly.
Time management and the freedom of choice
I don’t spend any unnecessary time on commuting, getting to lunch, you name it. I love that I can have a 30-60 mins work session while the breakfast is being cooked or I can cook it myself. I can have super short (like 7 minutes) lunches when I need to get back to work asap or longer ones shared with my family. I also have my kitchen packed with all my coffee stuff so I can brew great coffee whenever I feel like it. Anyway, I spend less time on it all than an average office worker spends for lunch.
Work from anywhere
At some point, I realized that I don’t want to be anchored to some particular geographical spot forever. And so working in the async/remote company is the way to achieve it. Super bonus is that you get to work with people who share the same values, best professionals who value their own work, time and lifestyle.
I can proceed with tons of other great known perks of remote work, but I’ve chosen to highlight what is most important for me personally.
Remote friendly vs Remote first: if you want to be a remote worker and still have an experience like you’re the important part of the process, aim for remote first jobs. As for remote friendly, whenever there’s an office, you’ll often find yourself out of context being away from everyone.
Embrace async way of things, this is really important if you aim to have more freedom and flexibility. I haven’t covered much of the async processes itself in this post because it’s more the set of best practices than my personal experience.
Learn more about our async/remote best practices for software developers, we have a great book about it (there’s even a printed version available now).