3 months 100% remote: the good, the bad and the tricks
Pepe and I like walking, moving around and having things happen to us every day. That is why we undertake and move away from the routine that an office job means. Remote work for us is something obvious, bordering on necessity. We set up projects to have freedom, to be happy and something we love is being relocated and traveling. What does it mean to travel? That things happen to you every day, learn, know other lives and finally get out of that dangerous and overwhelming routine that anesthetizes you.
To the point, we have been working 100% remotely for 3 months with the good and the bad. I have been to several countries in South America (right now I am writing this at almost 5,000 meters above sea level in the south of Bolivia) and Pepe has visited several cities in Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Galicia. In general we can confirm that things are working well. We are undoubtedly in the best moment of the company, billing every day and launching ideas and products that are being very well received.
The good, the bad and the tricks:
- We talk every day . We don't need meetings since we talk and discuss everything daily in Slack and in Notion (what doesn't go through Notion doesn't exist). Here is a post about the tools we use every day . We don't need more. We have had about 4-5 calls to organize a launch or talk about some strategic issue. Before migrating 100% to remote, we scheduled a weekly meeting every Tuesday but over time we have realized that it is not necessary and it only made us a little slower since we left some topics to talk about that Tuesday instead of doing it that same day. that arose I imagine that in a larger team you do need a regular meeting to discuss various issues. After experiences in other startups that we have created, we try to move away from routine processes in this initial phase of the project, and we are going to try until it is totally necessary.
- Internet connection always. We are totally dependent on having a good internet connection, in Spain it is something simple but when you travel it becomes a challenge. As soon as we arrive in a country we buy a prepaid card with 3/5GB of data, this allows us to manage the company from almost anywhere by sharing the internet to the computer or from the mobile itself. And what happens when you don't have an internet connection? It has been a few days that this has happened (exactly 5 days) but we have an availability calendar for each one to know when we can or when we cannot count on the other. We usually organize the release schedule with these dates in mind. When there is no internet, we can only disconnect, it usually comes in handy.
- Strict routine and discipline. In February we had a 4-hour time difference, a month ago we went to 5 hours and in a few days there will be a 6-hour difference. The only way to save this is with discipline. My almost daily routine is to get up at 7:30 a.m. and from that minute start answering emails and important messages. My day lasts until around 4:00 p.m., so I have the whole afternoon and night to discover places and cities. I work many more hours than when I was in Madrid and I am more (much more) productive having eliminated travel time and dozens of meetings that used to waste a lot of time and focus. Pepe and I know that we have about 4-5 hours of work a day in which we are both connected at the same time, for now it is more than enough and when it is not, we usually get up early or one of us stays up late.
- About the focus. This is really important and I think it is what has cost us the most. There is a great risk in moving away from reality when you are far away and you do not see each other's faces. We left Madrid with a clear plan of where we wanted to go in 2019 and how we wanted to do it, but a few weeks ago we realized that we lacked a simple road map in which to put everything we had to do month by month to get there. end of the year where we want. I think this has given us a lot of focus and, above all, a lot of peace of mind.
- Keep calm . There are days when we invoice €1,000 and days when we invoice €100, many times we are not able to identify the cause (we have the same traffic, the same campaigns, the same website, the same advertising investment, the same products...) and we have become accustomed to being calm on days bad days and not freak out on good days. We know that ecommerce is a day-to-day job, from stone to stone and from impact to impact. When you are away, this is important, knowing that your colleagues are calm on the days that we invoice €100.
- Freedom of schedules, but really . I'll give you an example: a month ago I was in the north of Argentina (Salta, Jujuy), desert landscapes that have to be seen in daylight. The only option to enjoy it all is to spend at least 3-4 days in that area, which means that you have to use one day during the week to really get to know everything or almost everything. Well, those days change the schedule. You get up earlier (6 am), work 3 hours solving the most important things (clients, campaigns, logistics, banks...) and go to visit. Back in the afternoon when daylight is not there you go back to work for another 5-6 hours. Give everything time and obviously you have to make efforts and be disciplined.
- Confidence in your team. You are thousands of miles away, not knowing how your team is personally and what is on their minds that day. You only have to trust them, mainly your partner, and not doubt that their level of commitment is the same as yours.
- Change workplace. This is already personal and everyone is free to adapt it as they want and can. We usually move around the world in Airbnb apartments and hostels, with a good connection and a minimum of tranquility to be able to work. Even so, you end up getting tired of your workplace and my recommendation is to move from time to time, go to a cafeteria or even pay for a coworking by the hour.
In July we will be together again working in Madrid, we have exciting things on our hands that force us to be physically in the same space.
How influential is our personal happiness for the project to grow? For us it is everything. When we are well, the project goes well and we give the best of ourselves. This work formula is working and we have laid the foundations for it to always work.
PS: Discipline and trust, whether or not you are working remotely, are necessary to set up any type of business. If you don't have these two variables, think about it long before launching.