Your Local Coffeeshop Is My Full-Time Office
I've been working as a full-time remote graphic designer since July of 2017.
Every time I mention I work remote to someone, they usually say the following:
Wow, you're so lucky. You get to work in your pajamas.
Yes, I’m lucky. But no, I don’t work in my pajamas. Ever.
Tempting? Definitely. But I know if I approached my work the same way I approach my weekends, I wouldn't get anything started.
Here are some other truths about my work-remote situation.
1. I actually almost never work from home.
We live in a one-bedroom apartment. My “office” is a white desk and a kitchen chair in the living room against the wall with my back to the TV. The trash needs emptying. The dishwasher needs unloading. I should start the laundry during my lunch break. I have to run to the post office at some point and check the mail.
I swear I'd never get anything done otherwise, so I leave. I pack up my laptop, a notebook and a pair of headphones, I get in the car and drive “to work.”
I have a routine and a rotation of local coffee shops. I order the same thing, I park my stuff close to an outlet and I can get to work without distraction.
The constant conversation, ambient music, and the surrounding keyboard clicks are a comfort. Much easier to tune out than a growing list of household chores.
2. Creative collaboration isn't missing. It's just different.
Project collaboration looks like a shared GoogleDoc instead of a quick in-person meeting. The majority of conversations happen over email or within a chatroom. I send notebook sketches via text message. Creative presentations happen via screen share.
This took a bit of getting used to. Although I'm in touch with my team throughout the day, I've had to learn to adapt to the absence of human interaction. I used to go out to lunch with coworkers. I often took breaks sitting in my manager’s office. We'd chat about anything and everything outside of work.
Since these moments are missing from my work day, it's forced me to be more creative with how I communicate. And how I approach new projects. And how I recharge throughout the day.
3. My version of workplace drama is ridiculous.
Office politics being non-existent, I have a different set of "challenges."
I've driven to a new coffee shop only to find they don’t have WiFi because they're "preserving coffee culture."
I've signed onto conference calls and lost all internet connection. Too often.
Missed calls from my manager because I don't want to be that person with my ringer on full volume.
Forgotten my laptop at home.
Forgotten my charger at home.
Working remote may not be the stay-at-home pajama vacay some people make it out to be.
But all things considered, yeah: I am pretty lucky.