Remote Work: what’s it really like?

From 2018 to 2021, the number of fully remote workers increased more than four times (from 6% to 26.7%). Remote working is a hot topic for a number of reason, so we decided to ask our very own remote-first Donux team for their thoughts, impressions and experiences on the matter.

Hannah Jones

Hannah Jones

It’s normally nerve-wracking when we start working in a new company: from finding where everything is kept to learning what the office dynamics are really like. It can be even more intimidating to imagine this in a remote environment, but what’s it really like when we start to work in one?

Everyone at Donux has a different background and work experience, so we decided to sit down with everyone and hear more about their experiences and impressions.

Did you have experience of remote working before starting at Donux?

Vincenzo: Before I started in Donux, I worked remotely for a year due to Covid. It was my first experience and adapting wasn’t particularly easy.

Yasmine: My remote work experience was short as well. I worked remotely just during the first Covid quarantine (march-may 2020) and it was my very first “continuative” experience. After that period, I worked remotely sometimes during the summer season.

Marco: Before Donux I did a year and a half of college, including a curricular internship, completely remotely because of Covid. After college I immediately started working with Donux, so to tell you the truth, I’ve never actually worked in an office - I’ve always worked remotely 😅

Hannah: I had a lot of remote work experience before I started here. I’d been working remotely for over 5 years in different companies and also as a freelancer.

What made you choose to join a remote-first company?

Marco: I actively chose to look for a remote job because of the freedom it gives you. All I need is wifi and I can live and work wherever I want. I manage my time and schedule independently.

Hannah: Same here! I love remote working and always have. It offers huge freedom in the way you can structure your day and live your life. I took a job in an office for a while after working remotely and found it really difficult… I counted the days until I was able to return to working from home!

Yasmine: I chose a remote working position because during my previous experience I found that I am more productive alone, especially when I have to complete a task by myself. This mode also gives me the possibility to work sometimes at my family’s place or somewhere I feel comfortable, so it’s the perfect way to combine work and pleasure.

Vincenzo: Honestly, it wasn’t the reason I chose to work at Donux. Other features attracted me to the company and it just happened to be a remote-first environment.

Remote work: what we often have in our mind (on the left) is not always the reality (on the right).
But you can ask Marco about working on the hammock 😄

What were some of the biggest hurdles you faced at the beginning of working remotely?

Yasmine: When I started working with Donux, everything was clear from the beginning so it was easier to adapt to their way of working (unlike some previous work experiences). However, the first thing I had to learn was how to communicate with the team: understanding how to ask questions, explain what my doubts were or simply explaining the reasoning behind my work, as well as figuring out what to prioritize in communications.

Hannah: I agree - communication is always one of the biggest hurdles. If you don’t communicate efficiently, things can go wrong very quickly. Everyone needs to communicate what they are doing and what they have done so that the whole team understands how things are progressing across various projects.

Vincenzo: Working remotely wasn’t difficult but it was difficult to get used to working asynchronously. I had to structure my work in a way that allowed others to work at the same time, while not necessarily being in direct contact with them. This was interesting because it has pushed us to experiment with new ways to communicate.

Marco: Same here! While the freedom to organise my time is definitely a huge advantage, it’s not a banal thing - in fact it’s probably the hardest thing about working remotely. Once you find the right way to balance everything, I don’t think there are big challenges to working remotely.

What do you think of remote working now?

Hannah: I love it! Always have, always will 😄 I can’t imagine returning to a traditional office.

Marco: I would say that right now I appreciate it more than ever.

This year I had the opportunity to travel and have incredible experiences. I've met people from all over the world, I've seen beautiful places and done things I never thought I would. I swam under a waterfall in the middle of an island in the Atlantic and in two weeks I'm going to live on the other side of the world in Bali.

This is all thanks to the fact that I am not tied to an office but only need a WIFI and can work from wherever I want. 🌎

Vincenzo: After 3 years of remote work experience, I can say that my life is simpler now and I have more time to organize things, especially when unexpected things occur. On the other side, there are a series of things I miss, like chatting with colleagues about work and life and getting out of your own bubble.

At its core, work is a place where you meet people who do the same thing as you. Networking can occur naturally by meeting friends and former colleagues of your current colleagues. This sadly can’t happen when we are all working remotely.

For this reason, I imagine that a hybrid office-remote situation would be my ideal solution.

Yasmine: I have found the balance between working at home and the rest of my life outside “my office”. Initially I was afraid of falling into some kind of black hole! 😂

I’m happy because it can give me the opportunity to travel more and work from new places, as well as appreciate some little activities I usually did without enjoying them (for example, taking small walks with my dog). I think it can also stimulate creativity and I sincerely would like to continue working in this way.

Thanks team!

What do you think? Are there any other questions you have for the team about working in a remote-first company?

Let us know!

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