I love working at the office. I love our team. I love the chatter and the energy. Our coffee is just OK, so I usually make a pit stop for fuel on the way in. But more or less, I relish being in the office, at the epicenter of the action.
We also have remote team members at Lemonly. A handful in fact, ranging from Vancouver to Miami. Working remotely is something that has always intrigued me, and last month, I got a full taste of what it's like.
My wife and I took a two week "workation" to South America. We spent the first week in Argentina on more of a vacation and spent the second week in Chile, working full-time. Santiago, Chile, is three hours ahead of our headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D., and in just five days of work, here's what I learned about taking your show on the road.
1. Diversify your location
Changing up your "workspace" really does help. Whether you choose a coffee shop, a table top or a standing desk, the change of scenery makes a difference. With a new location often come new ideas and solutions.
2. Invest in being comfortable
Wherever you're going to settle, make sure you have what you need. Sure, if you're only working remotely for an afternoon and find yourself at a coffee shop, you may have to deal with an uncomfortable chair. But if you're planning to work remotely for a week or more, make sure you're relaxed in the setting. Keep a clean and resourceful workspace. When it comes to the chair, your standing desk, the monitor you use, the sunlight, etc., don't just settle.
3. Maximize your quiet time
If a time change is in effect in your remote location, use it to your advantage. In Chile, I was three hours ahead of my team. Early in the remote week, my mornings felt a bit lost and without direction. The quiet was such a foreign feeling. No Slack messages. No phones calls. No notifications. As CEO, I'm used to spending most of my time responding to emails, talking with my team and on calls. With the time change, these hours were a golden, uninterrupted opportunity. Use them. Make a game plan for your quiet time, and dominate it.
Related: 4 Ways to Manage Remote Employees
4. Your location is an advantage
Whether you're working remotely in South America for a week or you always work apart from your team, make the most of your unique location. If you live away from your company headquarters, how can your city give your company an edge? Are there customers or clients you can find in your area? Are there unique groups, organizations or meetups you can attend to grow your network and expand your skills?
If you're working remotely just temporarily for a week, a month or a vacation, what can your newfound home provide? In a foreign place like Santiago, I had to go exploring. Everything from the food and the people to the architecture was inspiring. This motivated me in my work as well. I also found a co-working space where I worked for two days. I met fellow designers, community builders and entrepreneurs who now are great connections and ties to another country.
Like everything life, there are advantages and disadvantages to working remotely, but doing it for a week provided me with invaluable insight. Plus, as a CEO of remote employees, it gave me more of an understanding of the environment they work in every day.
It's an exciting time when nearly any coffee shop with WiFi can become your office for the day.