Making Work From Anywhere Work
October 25, 2022
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Earlier this year, Connected announced its Work From Anywhere policy – providing Connectors with the flexibility to build better products from anywhere in the world.
I personally took advantage and worked from coast to coast in Canada. I spent a few weeks in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and British Columbia. It’s nice to change location and visit with friends and family while still getting work done, saving those precious vacation days for a different kind of trip.
The beauty of working from anywhere
One benefit to come from the pandemic is flexibility with work, specifically where that work gets done. I took advantage of the different time zones, giving me free afternoons for walks with a friend and baby along the beach or late lunches with my dad at his favourite pub.
It allowed me to make the days work for me, providing the opportunity to recharge mid-day in new and exciting places and ways. Exotic locations, environments, cultures, and even biospheres offer different energy sources. Connectors have worked across Canada, the US, Colombia, Mexico, India, the UK, and many other countries. And while a change in sights, sounds, food, and people can all do wonders for you (and your work), it isn’t without its challenges.
Working from anywhere, for me, meant working from my parent’s house on beautiful Vancouver Island. This also meant working near my parents – who still don’t exactly understand what I do, and, more importantly, love providing me with coffee, snacks, and town gossip whenever possible. There’s also Lucy and Buddy, their pets who will never say no to attention and treats.
The challenge of working from anywhere.
While flexibility in where you work is great, it also means that you need to be prepared to, in fact, work from anywhere. That means you’re no longer in that perfectly curated environment you’ve created in your home or office. No more big second monitor or desk to plaster your sticky notes on and chances are, that comfy chair of yours won’t be making the trip either.
Maybe you aren’t at your parent’s house, but in a beautiful new country with magical weather, friendly faces and incredible food. All this to say, distractions are abundant, and focus can be challenging.
So what do you do?
Building better productivity
When we’re not in our home office, we must shift how we do work when we’re out of our element. The key to my success when working elsewhere is my little notebook. Normally at home, I have a big legal pad on which I track my daily to-do’s. I will never be converted to electronic to-do lists because there is something so satisfying about physically crossing off a list. I like to have two notebooks. One for my to-do list and one for taking notes. This helps ground me for my day-to-day. But that’s just me.
Here are a few of the ways Connectors stay focused and get work done:
- Using headphones or earbuds to block out ambient noise. This is also very important when working in open-air homes/hotels. Quieting out the hustle, bustle, and distractions is helpful for keeping focused. Good headphones/microphones are also critical for virtual meetings.
- Keep the same schedule and routine as at home. This can be incredibly challenging when working in a different timezone. Try to eat at the same time, grab coffee around the same time, and – if possible – sleep at the same time so your body keeps the same rhythm.
- Make the most of your breaks. If you’re in a new place or different surroundings, go for a quick walk or explore something nearby at lunch, giving yourself a boost for the remainder of your workday.
- Try to find a quiet, dedicated workspace away from distractions. Airports, train stations, and shopping malls historically aren’t the best, but with the abundance of shared workspaces available around the globe, you’re sure to find a quiet nook to get your work done.
- Have a plan. It’s even easier to get distracted when not working from home so make sure you have a to-do list and keep track of your tasks to be done each day/week, keeping yourself accountable to that plan.
- Whenever possible, use the mobile apps on your phone. Calendars, messaging, and even emails can usually be done quite easily from a phone, saving screen real estate on your laptop.
Working better from anywhere
What kind of a product company would we be if we didn’t share some of our favourites for getting work done from anywhere? Here are some of the products Connectors use to get their jobs done when working from not home.
- Portable Monitor – Asus ZenScreen GO
- Headphones – Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
- Wireless Mouse – Logitech M720 Triathlon
- Connection Hub – Lenovo USB-C 7-in-1
- Wifi Booster – Netgear Nighthawk
- Notebook – Leuchtturnm1917 A5
If the above didn’t clarify, I’m a big fan of our WFA policy, but admittedly, it isn’t for everyone. While many enjoy the opportunities it provides, for others, their best work and preference lay in working from more familiar environments. But if you are among those who prefer to change their surroundings, look for inspiration in exotic places and work from new locations, then I hope you find these practices and products as helpful as I did.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Join the Thoughtworks newsletter list to receive curated content that exemplifies our Product thinking approach.
Fri Dec 2
Thoughtworker Spotlight: Chris Russo
Endless, boundless, limitless; words to describe Chris Russo’s creativity. As our Content Marketing Manager, he proves every single day that the pen is mightier than the sword. He has inspired so many Thoughtworkers to share their voice and perspectives through our content, that we even created a secret-not-so-secret society for everyone he’s collaborated with known as the 4P (you’ll have to join the team to find out what it stands for!). Besides being a very avid reader, Chris enjoys spending time with his two boys and partner going on hikes, exploring new towns, and cooking up a storm in their kitchen trying new culinary styles.
Thu Dec 1
Global Day of Coderetreat Toronto 2022
Earlier this month, we hosted Global Day of Coderetreat (GDCR) at our Toronto office. After a three-year hiatus, we wanted to re-awaken some of the community enthusiasm when we hosted the event for the first time back in 2019. This year we planned for a larger event which turned out to be a really good thing as we nearly doubled our attendance. And in case you were wodering, this is how we did it.