Cross-continental collaboration: what it’s like to work remotely for CI, according to David & Em

Imagine that you could pick a different workplace every single day. Imagine working while you’re at the beach bar or a ski cafe. Imagine that the only thing you need to dig into your work is a stable internet connection. That’s how work days look like for digital nomads, and it’s called remote work.

But, it’s not only the people who go around the world who are called telecommuters. Remote work is slowly becoming mainstream and it’s embraced by more and more employees and employers in the last few years. Some of our colleagues here at Content Insights function that way. They never come to our office, but always get the job done.

Working remotely definitely has its benefits, but there are challenges and difficulties to overcome as well. Remote work doesn’t suit everyone and it’s certainly not made for every industry or company. However, it is a part of our company culture, and our team members can choose to work remotely whenever they want to.

Different perspectives

We asked our Content and Community Editor Em Kuntze and our Sales Vice-President David Brauchli, who are known as our most experienced telecommuters, to share their experience on working outside our headquarters.

They explained the tips and tricks needed to overcome all the challenges that lay ahead when you’re detached from the rest of the team. Our colleagues also point out what the perks and advantages of remote work are.

It’s not all about the benefits

Em is based in Great Britain and she’s been part of Content Insights from the time you could have counted our entire team on two hands. She’s the one who spends the most time taking care of our blog, and also the person who probably interacts with the most people in the team.

For her, working remotely is a setup that works, and having people that are part of the same company in many countries makes the company culture greater, she says.

“It’s nice to get perspectives from our colleagues who are scattered around the world. And, also I suppose my perspective from the UK might be different than yours in Serbia, or people at Prague, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, or wherever they might be”.

Still, as a person whose position requires a lot of communication, and a team member who is known as a chatty one, there are some things about the office that she misses as a remote worker.

“Nothing can compare to the feeling of sitting together with people and all drinking actual cups of coffee around an actual table. Sometimes it’s easier just to have a face-to-face meeting, and that’s the most obvious challenge”.

Working from home or any place where you can easily be distracted requires a lot of discipline. Em says she has struggled in the past to limit herself to work from nine to five, like everyone in the office does.

“That just doesn’t work for me personally, and when you start honoring your personal workflows and tendencies, it becomes much easier.”

Giving someone a possibility to work remotely is a thing of trust between the company and its employees.

“It’s a two-way street. Content Insights trust me to get my work done, and I trust that they will allow me to do that. It kind of works both ways. I really appreciate that part of the culture.”

For Em, this flexibility equals productivity. As she says, sometimes writers find it very hard to write when there is a specified time of the day when they have to do it. Looking from that side, picking your own work hours is something that really helps get the creative juices flowing.

Some of us are perfectly cut out for remote work

On the other hand, our colleague David has been a telecommuter for almost his entire career. His job is entirely different from Em’s, and that might be the reason why he finds remote work a perfect match.

As a former professional news photographer – and a very good one since he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize three times – David can’t remember when was the last time he worked from an actual office. His job required a huge amount of fieldwork and an almost complete absence from any kind of office. David is now based in Prague, and since he travels a lot around the world to attend the conferences and complete his other tasks, he’s in the perfect position to describe what remote work looks like.

“I actually don’t like all the distractions in the office. This way I’m focused on exactly what I want to do. That’s why I like remote work. ”

David explains that he sees no communication issues due to his absence from the office. He finds communicating through platforms, such as Slack, good enough to always be able to keep up with the team.

Still, he points out that a good working regime is a must if you want to work remotely.

“As long as I have a good working regime, I’m able to focus more easily on all of my tasks. I need my calendar set up properly, and we have a task management system that alerts on tasks.”

David points out that remote work helps him manage his time very efficiently, and the biggest benefit for him is that he can balance work and parenting.

“I can get my kids to the school in the morning, and after I get back I work until lunchtime. Then I work again until the time when they get back from school.”

Why does the choice matter?

As we’ve learned, different people see remote work differently. That’s why we at Content Insights try not to limit our employees’ choices and let them pick whatever work mode they prefer. We are well aware that a certain work regime could be suitable only for a period of time, which is why we leave people with a choice every day, so they can align their working mode with their needs. We know it helps improve work-life balance, and that’s an important thing for us.

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