I miss the commute

Ridiculous as it sounds, even before the lockdowns, I missed the commute.

The gentle rocking of the bus, The camaraderie of workers returning home, and the blank stares filling the space. The commute is universally recognized as bad, right?

University of the West of England
  • It eats into your schedule, robbing you of your life
  • It starts your day off rushed and stressed, which limits your performance and happiness
  • You share the rush hour traffic with half of the known universe, all competing for the same 10cm in a bus to squeeze in.
  • You get infected with every possible ailment your fellow travelers can carry.
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And yet, a few times a year, this feeling comes back. Especially during challenging periods of focused work, I sometimes yearn for this transition period that will let me decompress between work and private engagements.

Now when we all are sheltered in place, these boundaries get blurred. We carry our stresses from work to home, because, well, both happen on the same couch!

The unexpected benefits of commuting are much more apparent now During summertime, it was quite enjoyable. I love cycling to the office and am in a fortunate position where I have 8 km of parks between the coworking spot and me.

  • On the way to the office, I get my daily fix of cardio and spent some time in nature. I identified some time ago that on the days that I see the trees, my mood goes up.
  • On the way back, I sometimes cycle quite slowly, reflecting on the day and some times maybe even sit in one of those parks.

On those exhausting days, the way home lets me decompress and maybe even put a border between times of the day.

  • The commute helps switch gears mentally
  • Me cycling to work produces mental energy

While stuck at home, you may want to reproduce the benefits of a commute:

After a challenging day, the most appealing thing is to sink into a couch and start the mindless consumption of Netflix. But if you try exercising, you will discover being more rested after the exercise than before it. Your mind will notice a transition between work and rest.

Hopefully, the lockdowns will end, because the commute can be quite OK if you choose it. With a flexible work schedule, going to the office on any given day is my decision, and I can make specific arrangements to avoid rush hour traffic.

Hopefully, I won’t have to always work from home, nor will I have to commute every day. I can choose whatever works for me, and that is the point.

Working from home? I could never!

null-2Working remotely does not mean working from home. You don’t have to wear sweatpants all day and shun all human interaction.

There are plenty of alternatives and I’ve tried them all. In this tutorial I explore all the different places you can work from – cafes, coworks, national parks and more.

The opportunity to move for work is a privilege. Remote Work unlocks the potential of those who can’t

With Remote Work, you don’t have to choose between your career and behaving like a human being. You don’t have to uproot yourself and embark on an uncertain journey to seek a better life. The days of Wild West are gone.

The opportunity to move for work is a privilege, and the immense potential of those of us who are not willing to leave our lives behind is only beginning to be explored.

As I write this, my grandfather is not doing so well. I very much enjoy the opportunity to visit him and listen to his crazy war stories. About the time he was running a public house as a 14-year old to feed his family. Or how he stole german weapons and sold them to the resistance.

My Wife appreciates these stories too, and she “adopted” him as her own.

Book: Remote – Office not required

remote-cover-aadeb20bf72bc28d49a49d2433e731d36c8a255f9d496880a5224e1ce0006577„Remote” by David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) and Jason Fried is a book about (you guessed it) remote work. Both DHH and Jason are huge advocates of the distributed setup as they should – they run a company called Basecamp that hires remotely.

And so am I – I work in one of the biggest distributed companies ( Automattic ) and I help to run a foundation in Poland called Remote Ninja. The focus of the initiative is to promote and help set up remote companies and lifestyle so that people in the most remote parts of Poland can participate in the global economy without leaving their families.

Since remote work is weaved into every part of my life, it is hard for me to learn something new from the book. I can swear by everything that they have written there and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about remote work.

 

Benefits of remote work

  • As a company, your talent pool is much wider
  • Employees are much more loyal, since they can fit work intoo their lifestyles with ease
  • They can fit the work into their chronotypes easily
  • If you work remotely you dont have to wait for retirement to travel the world

 

Stuff I wholeheartedly agree on with the authors

  • Office is much more distracting environment than home
  • Remote work puts work first, hours spent last
  • I am much more productive when I can work when I feel like it, not when my ‚office hours’ are
  • Asychronous communication is the only way to do the work in a sane manner
  • Urgency is overrated

 

My highlights

  • If they do say the office, they’ll include a qualifier such as “super early in the morning before anyone gets in”
  • We traded the freedom and splendor of country land and fresh air for convenience and excitement.
  • That’s a much more realistic goal than buying lottery tickets, either the literal or figurative ones. As an example of the latter: pursuing a career-ladder or stock-
  • But why wait? If what you really love doing is skiing, why wait until your hips are too old to take a hard fall and then move to Colorado?
  • In this world very few leaps of progress arrive exclusively as benefits. Maybe the invention of the sandwich, but that’s it.
  • People have an amazing ability to live down to low expectations.
  • And let’s not forget the ergonomics of sweatpants!