In which I talk about remote work and reminisce about my old workmates.
Separation anxiety—or sepanx as the kids call it.
It’s very real. It hits hard, and I’m sadly speaking from experience.
I’ve talked about it in a previous post: I’ve left Nuffnang, with little more than the desire to grow more as a marketer and the white lie I’ve told people that I actually wanted to leave. I didn’t want to leave, not really, but I guess that choice had been made for me.
Nuffnang Philippines decided it best to “wind down” its operations through the end of the year. That meant I had to part ways with people who became my everyday playmates in a digital sandbox where we’re allowed (no, encouraged) to play, have fun, and be our total selves. That also meant I had to find a new company to stake myself in, and I’m very happy that I’ve fallen into the arms of ClinkIT, a group that shares much of the carefree spirit that Nuffnang people—or Nuffies as we like to call ourselves—have.
This is a shoutout to my coworkers whom I dearly miss. Each of you who read this should know you’ll always have a friend in me. I’m excited to see what we will achieve in our separate ways.
But I won’t let who we are…just die. We are, after all, forever Nuffies.
In some years I’ll dust off the covers of this post and be reminded that I was once a Nuffie, like you, and maybe I always will be.
My laptop is—once again—my office
Now that I’ve aired out a good ounce of schmaltz, excuse me while I steer the discussion to something that’s actually interesting to you, dear reader.
And that is remote work.
Depending on who you ask, the concept of working remotely will either alienate or enthuse. There’s a lot to love about it, but there are also a lot of setbacks that don’t present themselves on the onset.
As someone who’s done it for much of his career, I can say it’s less of a way of working and more of a way of life.
Shocking take, I know.
But think about it: working remotely (read: work from any-friggin’-where you want!) further ties your work with your life.
Because you don’t follow a predetermined set of work hours nor do you soldier through Manila’s notoriously bad traffic to come to an office every day, the way you manage your time and energy to spend on varied aspects of your life becomes more of an active thing.
However, what’s beyond that is incredibly rewarding. You get to have some form of control over what your life at work will entail.
Why work remotely?
There are plenty of perks to working remotely. The catch is that these perks often have a catch themselves.
The easiest example is that it frees you up a lot of your time during the day because mainly you handle your own time. But in order to feel that you’ll need to go ninja about time management. And if you suck at it, so will your work days.
I’ve listed below some reasons why you’d want to consider working remotely:
Physical Attendance Is Usually Forgone
Remote teams are hardwired to operate individually but work like a team with coherence. There is an endless selection of apps that keep your team connected anyway, so there’s virtually zero need to be physically present in an activity unless the task absolutely requires you to.
Slack has always been a strong player in this space, but for ClinkIT, we use Microsoft Teams off of the Office 365 Suite.
It’s Really Very Economical
Anyone who’s had to endure EDSA’s insufferably bad traffic will know how much money, time, and energy are wasted on the road.
Remote work allows you to stack those lost resources up and put it into something more productive. Maybe that’s starting a side-hustle. Do small freelance projects. It’s up to you.
You’ve got—at least some extra—time.
You Manage Your Own Work
One of the best things about working remotely is its individualistic nature. Make no mistake, remote teams collaborate very well, but there’s something enabling about getting to work on a task or a project in your physical lonesome rather than having a boss hovering behind you and breathing down your neck.
If these appeal to you, you should look into remote work.
Things I’ve learned from working remotely (again)
I’ve been with ClinkIT for at least a month now, and I’m loving it so far.
For context, I’m an in-house copywriter and content marketer. That entails all copy and content-related tasks relevant to Clink’s marketing efforts.
As is apt for our position as “digital experts”, we work virtually. As a team, we don’t meet unless it’s absolutely necessary—that goes both for online and offline meetings. This way, we have more time to ourselves to spend (wisely!) in our work.
Here is a handful of Eureka moments I’ve hit about working with a remote team.
Nothing about remote work is free — including your time
It’s typical among remote teams to allow workers to work the way they work, and certainly, it’s the work-model that ClinkIT appears to subscribe to if it ever has one.
Employees are free to work anywhere and anytime they want, considering deadlines, client engagements, and teammates’ preferred working hours.
That means though you are technically free to spend your time, however, the heck you want, you’re still tethered to your goals and responsibilities, which is only right. I feel like this is an important distinction for those unfamiliar with the remote work setup yet.
Remote work is still “work”. And in this reality, work must be done.
Essential work is prioritized over others
Most remote teams are agile. Part of that is having a “get sh*t done” attitude that renders companies and upstarts very nimble. But what a lot of people miss is that these companies, including ClinkIT, has mastered the art of determining Essential Work and prioritizing it above all others.
I’m reminded of Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism”, the definitive handbook for doing essential work. There’s a lot for me to take from this perspective, and I’m excited to make improvements in the way I work.
Saying “no” is OK and respected
I get that saying “no” sounds such a disappointing thing to say, especially in agile environments like tech companies.
But what I’ve rediscovered, working with a remote team again, is that it’s perfectly fine to say “no” to tasks you genuinely believe you can’t do a good job of doing. It’s not that you don’t want to do it, it’s just that the task is better served with a different person assigned or tackled with a different approach.
This requires a great deal of self-awareness and auditing.
And I would caution people as well to not use it arbitrarily. Meaning, don’t just say “no” for the sake of freeing up time for yourself. Only say “no” if you have a bigger task at hand or if you’re handling a lot of tasks already.
Community-building is especially crucial
Remote teams don’t see each other face-to-face on the reg. This means, when they do, it should count.
I’m glad ClinkIT takes a page from the “community is crucial” book and has this thing called All-Hands in place. It’s a monthly huddle where all employees gather to do all sorts of activities—from board games to American Ninja Warrior challenges—and just…mingle.
Here are a few snaps from last month’s All-Hands, which I sadly missed.
It all boils down to leadership
Gosh, where to start? OK, maybe with this:
I’m a twenty-three-year-old digital marketer. I’ve started digital properties that are slowly flourishing into money-making businesses. I’ve led small teams toward a common goal using an approach that I’d like to believe had been empathic and brotherly.
But here’s the thing: I don’t know sh*t about leadership. There’s a lot for me to learn.
But also, here’s what I do know: An ideal leader puts their heart in the right place. They lead by example, not with ideas. “The leader”, for me, is someone who offers care and help, someone responsible enough to take credit of not just wins but also losses. A leader, in my book, is one that walks the talk and not just runs his/her mouth.
Why am I saying this? Because it all boils down to leadership. You can have the most amazing company in the world, but if it isn’t reinforced with empathic and thoughtful leadership, then what’s the point?
Work remote or work in an office, without a good captain, a tight ship will sink. This is very real. It hits hard, and I’m sadly speaking from experience.
Over to you! 📻
Are you ready to dive into remote work? I’ve built a job board with my partner, Geoff, and because we’re dorks, we called it Happy Online Jobs. It’s free to use whether you’re a recruiter or a job seeker.
Also, let me take a moment and say that I’m VERY happy with ClinkIT Solutions. I feel like I’m one with my tribe—tech and marketing nerds who are also pop culture connoseurs—and I’m excited to see where things head from here. Show them some love by liking their Facebook Page.
See you guys in the next post! ✌😄