The Remote Work Experience
By John Williams, October 29, 2018
In our new series, Work & Roam, we’ll be following our Product and Solutions Analyst John Williams as he travels the world, working remotely from 5 countries.
Tune in to see what worked (and what didn’t) for John during each stop, and to dig into how working remotely affects both the worker and the team back home.
Week 1: Mexico City — La Condesa Neighborhood
Timezone: Central Time
What was one thing I experienced, that I would not have in NYC?
The feeling of being lost in a new city with almost no way to communicate with anyone. That sounds scary, but it is more exciting and motivating than scary. It is certainly a unique feeling that I could not have experienced in NYC.
I also got to meet one of my favorite jazz musicians, Adrián Terrazas-González!
What worked out well for you this week?
I will say, the dress code for workers in a coworking space in Mexico is pretty formal — much more so than in Brooklyn. I was the only person there not wearing a tucked-in, button-down shirt!
My Spanish has also increased dramatically as a result of my first week in Mexico: I went from understanding absolutely nothing to understanding practically nothing. Just kidding — I find that I am able to communicate daily and don’t really feel out of the loop. I am in constant dialogue, which helps. Before this trip, I didn’t take any classes to learn the language, but I am currently taking a few Duolingo lessons a day.
What didn’t work out so well for you this week?
Well… I got sick. As my colleague David predicted, I spent about half of my first week inside the apartment. (I don’t really have any tips for this one!). Luckily I was in an Airbnb and not a shared hostel.
I also got lost while looking for my coworking space on my first day and ended up wandering around a hospital for 30 minutes. If I’d had an important call planned during that time, I would have missed it. Next time, I will be locating my coworking space the day before I need to be there — not by map, but in person!
Any tips for your future self?
Besides finding my coworking space before I need to be there, I’ve discovered that strong Wi-Fi in my living space is very important. The initial Wi-Fi setup was almost unusable and I would have been screwed had I needed to use the internet at my apartment. I have calls as early as 7 a.m. and my co-working space does not open until 9 a.m. I luckily found a hotspot that made my early-morning work possible.
“Spotted this mural while walking from one coffee shop to another in the Roma Norte neighborhood!”
Roles and Responsibilities: 8/10
I don’t think this was affected at all by my location.
This is what I assume most people will worry the most about while working remotely, but I felt great about it this week. The fact that it was my first week abroad and we made sure to over communicate made this easy. We will see how this transforms over time.
Personal Growth: 10/10
I am enjoying a completely new experience.
Career Growth: ?/10
This is something that should be paid attention to. The worry is that I could miss out on growth opportunities since I am not as visible in the office.
I don’t think this was affected by my location.
This is something that I do think is affected. It’s not that I don’t have access to what is going on within the company, I just have to make an effort to ask. When I am in the office, I usually have some understanding about what everyone around me is working on.
My next update will be my last from Mexico City, so stay tuned to see what I’m up to.
Until next week,