During the past two years, much has been written about remote work, and how the pandemic affected the concept of working remotely.
I am not talking about working from home as part of a hybrid model, but rather about working in a company that doesn’t have a physical office or headquarters, which by definition means the employees are all over the world, whether they are working at home, in a local cafe, or in a shared space.
Having worked at a remote start-up for the past 2 years (even before the Covid crisis), I’ve become more and more in love with this model. Now, I see why – but as with many situations where a change is involved – I should have experienced it firsthand to truly understand just how right it is, for me.
A few words about the team and our working model: we are a small team, about ten people.
The majority of our developers hail from South America (Cuba, Argentina, Costa Rica), and one is British, but he moves around a lot.
We have two members in the U.S. – one on the east coast and another on the west coast, and we have two members in Israel, where I am based. And, a Greek employee and a Kazah employee joined the organization as well.
We are all aware of the obvious benefits – such as reducing costs of office rent for the company, saving commute time and money for the employees, and reducing the less tangible costs of traffic and pollution.
In this post, I will share other, less obvious reasons why remote Product Management may be a good fit for you. Here is what I have to say:
I Say Yes to Fewer Meetings
As much as I like Zoom and other apps, sometimes it is easier to have a bunch of people involved in one room together in order to solve an issue that has been ongoing for a while. This is something that cannot be achieved remotely.
But what about the overwhelming number of redundant meetings we have when all of us are in the same office? The time you should invest in, the constant context switching, the headache. I am sure you are familiar with that.
I prefer to deal with the challenge of not being able to sit down with a coworker to discuss an issue, and to give up on the useless meetings that come with having a physical office.
I Say Yes to a Bigger Pool of Talent
It is easier to recruit more people. Just think about it.
Offices across the country or the globe was the first step. Remote recruiting is the next step. A number of tools are already available – Zoom, Figma, and Miro, to name just a few – which are becoming more and more convenient by the minute. The only thing left is changing our mindset.
Although we are each located in one place, we no longer live locally, we live globally. Why should it be any different at work? As we compete for talent, why limit ourselves to those nearby?
I Say Yes to Diversity & Inspiration
We all know that diversity is a positive thing. What is a better diversity engine than recruiting individuals from different places, cultures, and languages? That is built-in diversity!
A few years ago, I worked with a Japanese team that came to Israel to support the implementation of a Japanese product.
Getting to know people who aren’t like me was an amazing experience – learning what’s important to them, what drives them, their working methods, and even how they think was fascinating!
Working with people from foreign places can be inspiring and affect work in a great way, especially if you have never done it before.
I Say Yes to Freedom
Are you familiar with the concept of Work-ation-ing? This is the ability to live temporarily in the mountains or on the beach without taking any time off. When you work remotely, you can make this lifestyle your own.
Every now and then, I accompany my partner on trips to a small European city in which he manages a team of developers.
I work either from my room or the lobby or a local cafe for little or no cost.
Since I am working most of the time, I am not a true tourist, but I do see people and experience different things while eating delicious foreign food.
I Say No to Office Politics
This is probably the most important point – working remotely is democratic as it gets.
There are a number of reasons for that, including that it gives a fair chance to everyone – the introverts and the extroverts, the night owls and those who prefer the day, as well as those who prefer the quiet over the noise.
The best part is that this allows employees to be evaluated almost entirely on their contribution, and not just on fluff.
Who cares about impressions, politics, or what time we get to work? I’m not saying that working remotely is agnostic to all of these, this isn’t a utopia. But their share is so much smaller.
As their share decreases, the share of everything else – our outputs – increases.
This brings me to the next point:
I Say No to Bla Bla
Working remotely requires us to think sharper, or in other words, to be more accurate. Our communication is mostly written (slack, docs, tickets) due to the time difference, language barriers, and the fact we are not in the same location.
We need to improve how we word things – both verbally and in writing – in order to better convey a message. Not only do our written outputs improve when we do this, but also our ability to think does too.
I Say No to Burn-Out
The theory says that while at work, we work, while at home, we rest. De facto, this hasn’t been the case for a long time.
Although we work from the office during the “normal hours,” our customers use our products 24/7, some bugs can’t wait for tomorrow, and many of us work with remote teams anyway, some of whom are in completely different time zones.
This has increased our workload considerably.
Not only do we work from morning to evening at the office, but we also attend meetings, read emails, and text our colleagues after work hours.
The road to burnout is very short.
Working remotely balances out this situation. Yes, I sometimes take calls and meetings late at night, but my “official” working hours are much more flexible.
My schedule allows me to do the things we all have to do but can’t find the time for – going to the bank, having a technician come over, and so on.
It’s not just about errands – how about taking a 15-minute break between tasks, having a coffee break while walking on the beach, or napping for 30 minutes?
If I have a meeting at 9:30 pm, why not head to the gallery at 9:30 am?
More and more Product Managers are looking for a way to do the work while having the life they want.
The future Product Management professional will be even more happiness-oriented, as
We all know how big the effect that work has on our life, in and out of the office.
A growing number of Product Managers at different levels and with different titles choose their next workplace based on another factor: the ability to work remotely from anywhere and at any time that suits them.
What about you?
What will make you consider going off-office? In what way does this lifestyle appeal to you, and what makes you want to adopt it? Tell us in the comments!