Every time a popular book is turned into a movie, an outcry of disappointed book lovers follows. While some adaptations really are terrible, what often happens is many of those book lovers fall into the trap of expecting the movie to give them the same experience as the book. Movies and books are different art forms and if you’re approaching the movie as a substitute for a book then you’re bound to be disappointed.
With COVID-19 pandemic forcing many companies to transition to remote work, there has been a surge in advice on remote work. Veteran remote workers are handing out their advice and novice remote workers are sharing their first impressions and experiences. One thing I noticed is most practical advice deals with how to find remote counter-parts to some in-office activity.
Ministry of Silly Walks
One piece of advice I recently heard was to dress up, go outside, and walk a few circles around the house before you start working. While I do understand the reasoning behind this proposition, I still find it outright silly. Though many people say they miss the commute when switching to remote work, what they really miss is not so much the commute itself, which they often describe as exhausting and aggravating, but the side-effect of its repetitive nature. It serves as a kind of ritual, sending signals to your brain that work is coming, so it could start getting into “work mode.”
With the commute suddenly gone, you also lose that side effect ritual and you need to replace it. With what? Well, that’s the good thing about remote work: replace it with whatever suits you! Maybe it’s a run, a bike ride, or a walk (yes, even a walk around your house) or maybe it’s just making yourself a cup of coffee. What matters is you find your daily ritual, so your brain gets that same signal to start going into “work mode.” But you don’t need to perform some silly activity to trick yourself into thinking you are doing something (commuting) when you are not actually doing it.
Embrace the differences
The underlying problem here is the approach to remote work as a substitute for office work. It is not a substitute. It’s a different way of work and as such, it has its own ways of doing things. If you want to make it work, then embrace it fully — with its similarities but also all it’s differences to traditional office work. My advice is to use the flexibility that working remotely offers to explore what works for you instead of trying to emulate every office activity. If you don’t, then remote work will always remain as a substitute for the real thing. And just as those book lovers, you’re bound to be disappointed and miss out on the uniqueness of the experience that a different medium offers.
Other interesting reads on working remote
- Due dilligence in the age of social distancing
- Our tool shed — the tools we use when working remotely
- Keeping your team healthy and more productive using remote work
- We are not a remote-first company
- Why is everybody wearing headphones?
- How to hire remote developers in SaaS