8 years of remote work
I made the decision to leave the office and work from home eight years ago. This was the most significant professional decision I'd ever made. Join me as I take you on a journey through a chapter of my life.
How did it start?
I've been using technology since I was 14 years old. My parents purchased a brand new computer, and I developed an interest in technology. I learned how to use a computer and the internet through a series of experiments, tinkering with various features, and exploring the web.
I discovered HTML for Beginners by accident when I was 15 and found it magical - creating things for the internet. I felt like a true wizard because I was able to create web pages, add content, and then publish them on the internet. Remember all of the cool animations, gradients, tables, and iframes we were able to create? Goosebumps.
During high school, I became even more involved in creative activities; I discovered Photoshop and began designing my websites before building them. I became interested in photography along the way and created some amazing photo manipulations for my friends and myself.
Moving on to the time when I was at university, I got my first design job at the office, and it was fantastic when I first started. I made some money doing what I enjoy.
But, after 6 months of listening to clients and a director in the office about how to do my work, where to get references, and how to make that damn logo bigger, I discovered remote work. While working in the office, I was already doing some remote freelancing on the side, but it was more of a hobby than a business.
I began looking for new opportunities. And, by a happy coincidence, I landed a remote job in an online company's marketing department. That was my first foray into remote work. While working in marketing and learning about customers, metrics, and advertising, I was still doing design projects for local clients on local freelance platforms.
Soon, I realised that the same work could be paid more if it was done for clients outside of my country. So I began by working on projects for international clients.
How is it going?
Since then, I've grown my one-person business to a six-figure. I began working with clients outside of Ukraine, earning significantly more money and experience.
I'm now a senior product designer at Nagarro. I collaborate with the world's largest corporations to help build products used by millions of people.
I've worked remotely for the past eight years and have never regretted it. I also recently realised that this is the longest streak of anything I've ever done in my life.
Last year, the world was hit by a pandemic, which changed the way people used to work. Most large corporations have begun to embrace a new way of working, allowing their employees to work from home.
However, many of them were not prepared for this, so there was a lot of struggle as they transitioned to remote work.
Let's go over some of the key changes that are required to successfully embark on the path of remote work.
To begin, what exactly is remote work? Remote work is a working style that enables professionals to work outside of a traditional office setting. It is based on the idea that work does not have to be done in a specific location in order to be completed successfully.
When people find out that I work remotely full-time, the conversation is often met with: "You must have so much self-control. I'd end up spending the entire day watching Netflix". Then, "You probably sit in your Pinterest-like home office for 10-12 hours a day?"
Despite the numerous statistics demonstrating how remote work boosts productivity, working from home is a relatively new concept, and few people understand how it works.
I don't have to spend 10-12 hours a day in front of my laptop as a remote worker. Instead, I can spend two hours in the morning with my children and no one in my company notices. Or I can go to the gym in the middle of the day while my US teammates are sleeping.
Remote work has both advantages and disadvantages.
You can work from anywhere in the world, set your own schedule, and do work that makes you happy and fulfilled.
However, you have to attend late-night meetings on occasion. It is not common, but sometimes you can have a few working hours on the weekend. To meet a deadline, you sometimes have to work a little harder.
Remote work necessarily requires a shift in mindset regarding how work is completed.
When working with others remotely, we must rely on some of their decisions or feedback. It can be difficult due to timezone differences. So, while waiting for the person on the other side of the planet to respond, every remote worker should have something to do.
This is where async communication shines.
Asynchronous communication occurs when a message is sent without expecting an immediate response.
Email is the ultimate example of async communication. You are not obligated to respond immediately (unless it is critical, of course) and can take your time to compose a more meaningful message.
According to the Harvard Business Review article "Collaborative Overload," the amount of time employees spend on collaboration has increased by 50% in the last two decades.
Researchers discovered that workers spend an average of six hours per day reading and responding to emails; meetings consume an average of 15% of a company's time; as well as messaging apps (the average Slack user sends an average of 200 messages a day).
One of the extremely useful skills for remote workers is writing.
Writing saves time. It leads to fewer meetings and helps to get to the point faster.
A remote environment encourages workers to practice more deep work.
I believe that in this day and age, almost anyone can work from home. It is especially beneficial to those who work in the creative field.
Now that I have a remote job, I can work from anywhere in the world, spend as much time as I want with my family, and watch my sons growing. This is the most amazing thing that remote work has given me.