Working remotely: a "Remote Year"

Jun012015

This is part two in a series of posts about remote work. Part one focused on remote work at bv02, how it’s going and how we do it. If you didn’t read it, you can find it here. In that post, I alluded to something new I’ll be doing with respect to remote work. I’m excited to announce that I will not only continue to work remotely for bv02, but that starting in June, I will be joining a group of remote workers who will be visiting 12 cities in 12 months.

“Remote Year”

I’ll be participating in “Remote Year”, which is an experiment in pushing the boundaries of remote work. 100 remote workers from around the world will travel together for a year. We’ll travel to Europe, Asia and South America, doing our respective work in co-working spaces and then exploring the new cities in our downtime.

I have spent the past 2 years working remotely with bv02 and that will continue just as it is, but now my location will be changing each month. I’ll send you a postcard.

What drew me to it

I love travel (as most of us do) but I prefer the idea of 12 cities in 12 months over 12 cities in 12 days. I like to spend time in each place…and get a sense of it. I spent a year in Australia, I spent several months working remotely from Northern Thailand. Remote Year seems like a great way to be able to travel in the way I prefer, while still working with the bv02 team.

I love photography, food and languages and am really exited to see more of the world as well as the potential to collaborate with 100 other travellers on fun projects.

Additionally, by forging new ground in working remotely, we at bv02 will have even stronger processes in place to work with remote employees in the future.

As a little bonus, I get to skip a winter (sorry, Ottawa friends).

Biggest Challenges

Time Zones

So far while working from Vancouver, I mostly have been working on the same schedule as the Ottawa office. This allowed us to have quick meetings or use instant messaging. While in Europe and Asia, the time zones will be so far apart that we’ll have to be more deliberate with our communication and timelines. I will be able to meet for certain portions of the day and we’ll have to use this fact to our advantage.

Slow internet

Internet is unreliable at the best of times – at home, in cafés and certainly some places overseas. I had some issues in remote places in Thailand when doing this in 2009. However, part of the Remote Year program is that they organize co-working space with internet for the participants.

I suspect the solution will include having me focus on large ‘chunks’ of work that I can dig into and work through, while I’m in different time zones or with slow internet, then connecting again with the bv02 team for feedback. You might recognize this as parts of the “agile” methodology.

Communication

I love collaborating with my teammates at bv02, attending meetings with clients to hear about their ideas and presenting my work back to everyone. Extra effort will have to be made to schedule things with me in advance and I will have to tailor my schedule to be available for the most important meetings.

I have also tested out wifi-based telephone (VOIP) so my bv02 office extension will still call my phone.

Overall, I think we’re well prepared and are ready to iterate as we go.

Travel Recommendations?

Have you been to any of the cities I’m going to? Here is the list: http://www.remoteyear.com/itinerary/

Do you have any recommendations? I love good coffee, live music, museums, galleries, and of course, great food. What should I hit up?

Stay tuned for more from the road!

Paul

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