Virtual Team Test Run
I had the opportunity to trial run a remote office for an extended period this summer. Between the end of April through August I loaded up the car with 2 computers, a camera, a bag of clothes, and headed west. The primary stops along the way were Portland, OR and Los Angles, CA, but also made stops along the way in Yellowstone National Park, Boise, ID, Santa Fe, NM and Lawrence, KS.
Working remote was technically possible 10+ year ago, but it wasn’t easy for everyone. In 2009 we were still working off of an in-house server at the office. The “cloud” hadn’t made its way to everyone quite yet. Even going back to 2005 I remember burning discs to physically hand files off to vendors. I think Apple began phasing out CD/DVD drives out from laptops around 2012 and that’s when the wireless infrastructure really began to ramp up. I should of tested this out around 2012, but it took a few years for me to have the flexibilty to leave for this lenght of time.
The only workflow issue I had was at my rental in Portland. Their wifi was incredibly slow when it came to uploading large files. At the time we had a series of trade show booths and videos that needed to be uploaded. The file sizes were anywhere from 1 to 6GB. The work around for this was a local coffee shop with as good a wifi as any office. Beyond that small inconvenience I had almost no connectivity issues. Most of the towns I went to had small libraries with excellent wifi. In particular West Yellowstone, Montana and Flagstaff, Arizona.
In 2019 almost all hotels have decent wifi so working on the road between cities wasn’t an issue. An app that came incredibly handy was HotelTonight. Before I checked in I could get a sense of the hotel and wifi speeds through the reviews. HotelTonight is a must have for any extended travel in the states.
The only real adjustment that I had to make working remote was the time change. Waking up on the west coast at 6am local time wasn’t early enough to keep your inbox from having flood of messages already waiting for you. It was already 9am in New York and 3pm in Berlin. The first few hours was playing catch up and by noon things started to wind down.
Everything else ran smooth. Between Slack, the phone, and email we could communicate seamlessly and deliver on deadline. It was also a top revenue year compared to the last few so maybe there is something to being out of the office to boost productivity.
Below are a few photos from the journey.