The One Thing I Love More Than Getting Packages In The Mail…

… is getting SURPRISE welcome packages in the mail!

If you can free your time and location, your money is automatically worth 3–10 times as much… Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it.

— Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-Hour Workweek , Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich (Kindle Locations 434-438). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

My Thoughts On Remote Work Thus Far

(the more appropriate title for this post)

The What

It’s been a little over a week since I started at Automattic, and there really isn’t much more to say — I basically love my new job! I of course wouldn’t be here if I didn’t find any genuine fulfillment or interest in what I was doing. The type of work I do now involves a perfect balance between technical and support related tasks, most of which are directly concerned with the very product I’m using this very moment to write this post — WordPress.com 😀

There’s a certain level of creativity that goes into building websites, crafting content, and growing an online persona that I find incredibly satisfying, especially since I’ve always considered myself as a creative type. I’m certainly very lucky to be working with a company whose products I both use and believe in, because in this sort of situation, it’s very easy for me to be passionate about my work and help others feel the same.

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The When

One of the great perks of working remotely, especially for a company that allows for a flexible schedule, is being able to choose the time when I work. At Automattic, everyone gets to choose their own availability because we are a globally distributed team. That’s the benefit of having people from all over the world — we’re able to cover almost all time zones without causing a hitch.

My new schedule has been mostly similar to my previous job, but only because I’ve kept it that way. I purposely decided to not make any drastic changes, so I could have room to adjust to the job itself. But to give you an idea of what my schedule has been like, it’s been going a little bit like this:

8am – 9am: (AVAILABLE)
9am – 10am: (AVAILABLE)
10am – 11am: (AVAILABLE)
11am – 1pm: Break (NOT AVAILABLE)
1pm – 2pm: (AVAILABLE)
2pm – 3pm: (AVAILABLE)
3pm – 4pm: (AVAILABLE)
4pm – 5pm: (AVAILABLE)

Time-wise, it’s exactly the same time schedule as my previous job (8am – 5pm) — and yes, I was there for 9 hours — except I’ve given myself a 2 hour break instead of just 1 hour. Currently, my work is split 50-50 with core work and training, but once I finish training and get a bit more comfortable with my job, I’ll be experimenting a little bit more with the flexibility I have for scheduling my availability.

Basically, Automatticians need to have an availability of 8 hours a day (just like everyone else who works a normal full-time 40 hour week). Of those 8 hours, an Automattician would get scheduled at most a maximum of 6 active working hours for any given day.

Now, the major difference we have is that we can choose when we are available for those 8 hours. So for example, since I’m a morning warrior — I wake up at around 3:30am – 4am these days — I plan on setting up a schedule to look something like this in the near future:

4am – 5am: (AVAILABLE)
5am – 6am: (AVAILABLE)
6am – 7am: (NOT AVAILABLE)
7am – 8am: (NOT AVAILABLE)
8am – 9am: (AVAILABLE)
9am – 10am: (AVAILABLE)
10am – 11am: (AVAILABLE)
11am – 12pm: (NOT AVAILABLE)
12pm – 1pm: (AVAILABLE)
1pm – 2pm: (AVAILABLE)
2pm – 3pm: (AVAILABLE)

With this schedule, I try to take advantage of the morning as much as possible, because for me personally, I am much more productive during these times than I am in the afternoons. You’ll also notice I’ve blocked off 6am – 8am, as this time is when I usually fix Keimei’s breakfast and get ready to take him to daycare. I give myself a 3 hour availability block from 8am – 11am, then a 1 hour break from 11am – 12pm. As for the last availability block, I set that from 12pm so that I could end my day at 3pm!

Let’s say for example, I wanted the entire afternoon off, I could move those last 3 hours of availability to the evening (e.g. 8pm – 11pm). Or, if I wanted a longer lunch break, I could make that happen too. The possibilities are endless, just so long as I have 8 hours of availability set throughout the day.

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The Where

(Did I already mention that I’ve been enjoying absolutely every moment working here?)

You know, it’s interesting when I say the word ‘here’, because when most people think of their workplace, they’ll usually have just one location in mind — an unchangeable destination to which they commute to on a daily basis.

However, in the case of remote work, my workplace — my ‘here’ — could be literally anywhere I choose, and for me that’s only a small bit of what contributes to my newfound enjoyment and happiness of working free & independently, yet it’s a very significant bit.

Over the course of my previous week, I probably visited over a dozen different “work locations” in Sapporo (mostly cafes), where each new area served as my #officefortheday 🙂

It’s really fun & exciting to experience working in different “offices” every day, as it gives me a chance to switch up my work environment to keep things from being dull. My home office will of course always be my basecamp, a place where I can always choose to work from if I decide that maybe I don’t want to go out for the day. It’s having these different options to work anywhere I want that makes working remotely very appealing to me.


Name: St. Marc Cafe
Address: 〒004-0052 Hokkaidō, Sapporo-shi, Atsubetsu-ku, Atsubetsuchūō 2 Jō, 5 Chome−7, 厚別中央2条5丁目7番2号
Google Mapshttps://goo.gl/maps/LwS6bFuTeD62


Name: Streamer Coffee Company
Address: 2 Chome Kita 5 Jōnishi, Chūō-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 060-0005
Google Mapshttps://goo.gl/maps/EVgDaJpgJc42

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The Who

Finally, the last part that brings this entire experience together are the people I work with. I am working alongside with only the most diverse, open-minded, intelligent, and high-performing individuals here at Automattic.

The hiring team really nailed the process down with their application process. The process is highly focused and extremely extensive, so much to the point that it really does funnel in only the best people — individuals who can do the job, and probably more importantly, mesh well with the company’s culture.

Communication is very unique at Automattic. Our main tool to communicate with each other is Slack, a chat based client where the majority of our live discussions and interactions occur. We also use what we call ‘P2s‘, which is a WordPress theme that updates in real-time. Then, with individual teams, either on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, it’s common to have a ‘hangout’ via Zoom, those are really fun!

slack-imgs
My Team 🙂

In Summary

Referring back to that Tim Ferriss quote, he mentions that money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life. I agree with that statement to an extent, but more than money, I think it’s happiness that is multiplied.

People can be much happier if they control what they do, when they do it, where they do it, and with whom they do it with. A person in control will probably have lower stress, increased work satisfaction, and more time to pursue other interests, which in the end will result in a happier and healthier well-being.

So until traditional work systems start to allow their employees more individual freedoms, the opportunities to be in control of most of these W’s are currently pointing to the trends of either working with a remote company, or entrepreneurship.

This is not to say that remote work is better than a traditional work system, in fact there are jobs where it wouldn’t be practical to work remotely. There are also those would would prefer to work in a more standard workplace, and that’s totally okay. Remote work is definitely not without its pain points, and that could be saved for a later post.

Will remote work ever become mainstream? It’s certainly debatable, but there’s a lot of evidence out there saying that companies are considering taking the leap, and that others are making compromises.

I, for one, can say I will not be going back to the office (like, ever) 🙂

 

 

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