Over the course of the next months, I’ll be writing about the pros and cons of remote working. In this post, I want to share with you one of the advantages of the system: Flexibility.
I’ve always been a curious soul. I find myself questioning how things work and the reason they are built the way they are. Why do we eat three times a day? Why are standards needed? Why do we teach in classrooms? For some questions I have found satisfying answers, but for a surprising amount of them, I get the following as an answer:
“Because that’s the way it has always been done.”
Whenever I get this answer, I know that I’m onto something. It reminds me of an experiment involving five monkeys in a cage. The researchers put a ladder in the cage, and a banana on top of it. Whenever a monkey climbed the ladder to get the banana, the other four monkeys where showered with water. Soon enough, when a monkey tried climbing, the others were pulling him down to avoid the drizzle. Then, one by one, the monkeys were swapped for new ones that were never showered before. The new monkeys tried to climb the ladder, but were angrily taught otherwise by the others. But there came a time where all the original five monkeys were swapped, yet they continued pulling each other down, even though none of them had any idea of why they were doing it.
One of the things that seems this way are office schedules. Who said that 9 to 5 is the best time to work? Nikola Tesla claimed that he never slept more than two hours. Winston Churchill took a two-hour nap every day and Marissa Mayer is said to catch up on sleep during weeklong vacations every four months.
At Junto Studio, we challenge the status quo. We work remotely. This means we don’t rent an office. We work from anywhere with an Internet connection. Coffee shops, college campus, at home or even in different countries.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like ‘remote working’ has become something of a hot topic. It’s not hard to see why; you gain some serious advantages when you stop commuting to a central office every single day. One of the biggest ones is flexibility of time and space.
Flexibility of time
I’m a night owl. My best work is done between 10pm and 4am. I’ve found I’m most productive when I have absolute silence and no interruptions. No cars passing by, no coffee shop whitenoise, no music, no messages. I love to be able to “control my distractions’. Go to Twitter for 15 minutes, feed my mind enough random information and get back to work. This is efficient. I’ve found that sometimes I get more done from 1am to 1:15am than during the rest of the day.
I could not do this if I was in a normal office schedule. Spending 9-5 working away is definitely not the best allocation of my time. Again, who said that this is the best time to work? Flexibility has helped me get the most out of my time. Having the option to work at different hours on different days is something I deeply enjoy and value. I can decide to work until 1am, or until 4am, which in turn enables me to spontaneously meet up with a long time friend during normal working hours.
Being able to manage your time comes at a cost, though. You have to be willing to put time and effort into developing your schedule and sticking to your own commitments. This may sound easy, but once you try it, and it becomes part of your life, it can snowball into a bigger problem if you don’t manage it correctly from the start.
Flexibility of space
Think of a place you’ve always wanted to visit, but have never found the time to do so. The pyramids in Egypt? The Patagonia in Argentina? London? Sydney? Awesome. Now, remove from your mind all work-related time constraints. You can work from anywhere in the world, at any time you want, provided you keep your word and meet your commitments. Take a moment and imagine all the places you could visit. And it doesn’t have to involve a lot of money; it could be a week-long road-trip or a longer visit to nearby family and friends. You are no longer bound to a specific place. You can be, but you don’t have to. You now have a choice.
We love to travel and visit new places. Majo is in Chile right now. Alejo and Isabel are moving to Austin. For us and for the hundreds of remote teams out there, this is part of our everyday lives. We can roam through the world if we want to. That’s the power of flexibility and freedom.
The world is changing at the rhythm of technology. We are living in a new era: After the Internet. Let’s stop getting locked in a “because that’s the way it has always been done” mentality. This is different. This is new. Let’s ask ourselves: Can education/work/medicine be done in a better way? Let’s embrace change and explore how technology can move our lives for the better.