CLICHE ALERT — time flies!
Seriously though, it does feel much longer than one year. I definitely think that’s partly because there was a three month break between the end of my trial (December, 2017) and the time until my official start date. And it was during this period that I was given the optional opportunity to continue putting in work for Automattic, if I had the time to do it (which I did).
At any rate, I am no stranger to being thrust into situations of sudden change. While I admittedly will take a bit longer than most folks to acclimatize to newer situations and work processes, past experience has proven that I’m the type of individual who will excel substantially the moment everything just ‘clicks’.
There have been micro-instances of ‘lightbulb’ moments throughout the past 365+ days of working in this distributed workforce, which have indeed greatly improved or enhanced my work experience, but I would not go so far to say that I feel ‘settled’. In other words, I believe there is always room for improvement.
However, enough with that. Let’s just get down to the fun stuff 🙂
Going from making lesson plans & teaching students to troubleshooting broken websites & helping customers, brick-and-mortar buildings to cafes & co-working spaces, office banter to Slack channels & pings, working 9-5 M-F to choose your own schedule — I could say was a fine dose of exhilarating change.
The good news is I was not alone during this transition. And that’s what I think makes all the difference between distributed work and remote work.
+++ COMMUNICATION +++
To briefly expand on the idea of ‘distributed versus remote work’ a little more, being part of a team that is spread out geographically is what makes a distributed workforce, whereas simply saying you are a ‘remote worker’ might imply being a freelancer, or working solo.
With that said, constant communication with my team members and extended work division is highly crucial for staying in the loop of things. It’s also just plain good ol’ practice to communicate as much as possible, as it establishes a stronger connection, and maybe more importantly, builds a meaningful level of trust with my colleagues, especially in this non-traditional work environment.
Thirty Three Thousand Seven Hundred Seventy +
Two Hundred Twenty +
Slack Messages Sent
Five Thousand Seven Hundred +
+++ HARDWARE +++
“We happily provide or reimburse hardware and software you’ll need, as well as books or conferences that promote continued learning.”
The tools I’ve used to get my work done hasn’t changed that much. I definitely like to keep my things as light as possible, and try to fit everything I need into my bag.
Main Computer & Monitors
What’s a samurai without his sword?
LG 5K Monitor
The beast remains at home. A bit overkill being 5K, but not complaining.
ASUS ZenScreen Portable Monitor
I’ve been able to retain the same kind of dual screen productivity while on the go with this gem.
Beats Studio 3
These wireless noise cancelling headphones do magic when I need to block out my surroundings. They also keep my ears toasty when walking outside during the frigid half year long Sapporo winters.
Lightweight and easy to carry. I can pop them in my ears anytime, anywhere. I use them for casual listening and sometimes video calls.
Sennheiser USB Headset
This was a gift provided to me in my welcome package from Automattic. It’s quite a dated piece of technology, but it serves as an essential part of my carry on gear. Used only for video calls, I’d use this over my AirPods or headphones to make sure my voice is coming through crystal clear for the people on the other end.
Plantronics Voyager Legend
The most recent addition to my repertoire of goods. Meant to replace my Sennheiser headset, since that’s become a pain to carry around. I like to keep my things light and minimalistic.
+++ SOFTWARE +++
Slack — The main tool for our text-based communication. If I’m working, this app is always open.
Zoom — The main tool for video communication. We use this for team and company meetings.
Droplr — I help dozens of customers a day with the complexities of building a website. Sometimes showing how something is done rather than explaining can get to the bottom of any issue much more efficiently.
Keyboard Maestro — I use this specifically to log events throughout my day, which I then compile into a weekly report that I’m required to publish by the end of every work week. The basic functionality of KM is that it serves as a keyboard shortcut program.
Typinator — Used for storing commonly used phrases and words, which we would commonly refer to as snippets.
Alfred — The go to search app for anything and everything. I have saved certain workflows, snippets, and bookmarks with this app, so whenever I need to search for something, I can do it quickly with this app.
1Password — Dozens of accounts require dozens of passwords. Gotta keep them safe and locked up somewhere.
Chrome — Preferred browser of choice. Has been reliable for as long as I’ve known. Its developer tools and dozens of extensions make it easy to love and use.
Ghost — This is a special case browser used only for handling specific types of customer interactions, specifically for times when I need to log into multiple user accounts and websites.
Firefox — Sort of my backup browser, purposely left empty and unused. When I need to check a site and see what it looks like from a ‘fresh’ perspective, I’ll use this.
Safari — Before Chrome, I was a heavy Safari user. This browser sort of sits on an equal plane as Firefox, such that it’s become a backup browser. Unfortunately in recent days, this browser has proven to be quite limiting on a number of fronts.
+++ WORK TRAVEL +++
“We cover all costs of company travel, so dust off that passport! Your team will get together one to three times per year in locations around the globe.”
Team Patronus Meetup 2018
WordCamp Tokyo 2018
Orlando, Florida, USA
Grand Meetup 2018
+++ OFFICES VISITED +++
“Home office setup and coworking allowances. Working from a coffee shop? You can use your coworking allowance for the requisite latte!”
I most certainly enjoy switching up my work environment frequently! Leaving the office and transitioning into a completely work-from-home type environment was probably the most liberating change I’ve experienced career wise.
As you can tell, I thoroughly took advantage of this privilege to discover and work from new and exciting places within my city. While I do frequently search out for new cafes and other spaces to work from, I do have a sort of basecamp in a few areas. I think it’s important to find a place that you can always rely on or fallback to when you just simply need to get work done.
For me, my usual routine would be to start my day early from 4am. I’d work for a couple hours before heading out with my wife and son, and they’d drop me off at the closest subway station.
I’d then head to my favorite Starbucks location and would usually work there in the morning for a few hours. Did I mention the baristas know my usual order? 🙂
By the time the clock hits 11 or 12, I would then grab lunch and then head over to my usual co-working space, Space Kante, located only a few minutes away from Sapporo Station. And it would be here where I’d finish up my work for the day. Depending on the day, I’d be officially finished anywhere between 1pm and 3pm!
Creativity and self-expression have followed me throughout life in many various forms since my youngest years. These qualities are a core part of who I am and I realize I am at my best when I work in an environment that allows me to utilize these natural strengths freely.
I also have a strong belief that our purpose in life is to improve the well-being of others and the environment around us, because if not, what do we live for?
I have always found a way to inspire and advance ideas in unique and creative ways, so that others may be one step closer to achieving something great, something that would leave the world off in a better place.
Automattic is one of those few and very rare companies I discovered where distributed work and strong company culture mesh in such a way that inspires and motivates employees to go above and beyond their daily duties to help those in need.
I believe Automattic’s mission, to democratize publishing, is the driving force behind all of our actions.
I help others because, I too, am an advocate for that movement.
Here’s to many more years