Remote work and the importance of remaining social

Nathan wrote a post titled “Remote work” in which he wrote about his transition from a somewhat conventional office environment to a distributed team. Working remotely certainly has benefits (his one team member saving 40 hours a month just by not commuting to work surprised me).

I used to work at home until about 2010 and it seemed like a great way to save money and still remain productive. Since moving to an office away from home, I realised that working from home can be pretty isolating and can also suck you into a tendency to always be working.

A client once told me that he shuts down his laptop when he leaves the office, sometimes doesn’t even take it home with him. That struck me as a waste. After all, what about that extra time at home and the additional work you can do there? His insistence on shutting down when leaving the office stuck with me and it has become really important to me.

Switching off my work stuff when I leave my office is critical for my sanity. Working constantly is a great way for me to burn out faster and miss my limited time with my family. Having an office to go to creates that physical separation between work and home that helps maintain a form of balance in my life. It comes as a cost: Nathan accomplishes a tremendous amount by working harder than almost anyone else I know, but so does the alternative (at least for me).





One response to “Remote work and the importance of remaining social

  1. Nathan Jeffery avatar

    Remote(working from home) is definitely not for everyone.

    Amelia and I work really well together and I think the fact that we can spend all day, everyday, working towards the same goals works for us.

    We take lunch breaks together and pop out of the office sometimes. Recently we’ve started having ‘sushi Fridays’ and it’s been great to pop out near the end of the day and grab some sushi together.

    Before moving the office home; I had a workstation in my bedroom and some nights I would work till the wee hours in my room which is not that awesome. These days I still have a machine in my room, but it only has Social Media tabs open and I don’t sit and work at it on a regular basis.

    When moving the ‘office’ home, we emptied out what was previously an under utilised lounge and set it up as a office that Amelia and I share.

    We now have a dedicated work space away from our ‘personal’ space. Even though we don’t need to get in the car to go to the office, we need to go to a specific room which definitely has an impact on my frame of mind.

    We’re not ‘all work and no play’ though. We occassionally binge watch series, generally while eating dinner, it’s a great way to switch off and not think about projects for a bit.

    It’s also great to be able to ‘leave the office’ and go to my room and just sleep.

    Our sleeping routine is probably a bit whack as some nights we stay up till the sun rises and the birds start tweeting. In the greater scheme of things, I’m personally getting to sleep a bit more than I used to. It’s a lot easier to listen to my body now as I can work till I am tired then go to a different room to sleep and not need to worry about locking up a premises in town and driving home.

    Amelia and I have started walking in the afternoons which has become a way for us to get out of the house, relax our eyes and also get some exercise. We’ve done about 52km and 71,570 steps so far. I’m looking forward to reaping some health benefits after the walking becomes a full on habit. I might even be able to turn the walking into a jogging or maybe even running one day.

What do you think?

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