Remote work in space
“See you in space for a coffee,” said a Montelieer to another even before the COVID-19 crisis was born.
Montel Intergalactic before Corona: born remote
Remote working has been in the core of who we are from the very beginning. As our handbook says: Our aim is to be as productive as possible while maximizing the kicks we get out of doing our work. Often that means working from home or the office and sometimes from the end of a long pier by the sea. All this is totally ok and up to you.
Although we have a cool office in the heart of Helsinki, almost half of the Montelieers have always been remoters, working from their chosen location. For some that location is next to the wilderness in Eastern Finland, for some it is in the Fiskars village, for some in the other side of the globe.
But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t meet each other daily. All our meetings and events (even the Christmas party!) are available online and the three main video connections, named space, void and Pallas, are open 24/7. Also, our number one communication channel, Slack, is actively used for both work-related and social communication.
So even before the corona many of us were working with 100% efficiency with no work-related face-to-face human contact.
Montel Intergalactic during the times of corona: work goes on
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down and brought changes even to our team’s day-to-day.
Those of us who live in the Helsinki region have had the habit of working at the office most of the days. Some of us have also chosen to work at our clients’ premises for some days of the weeks. For us not-permanently-remote-Monteliers, this new normal, the completely remote work-life is something to get used to. We have the great remote set-up ready and we don't need any hand-holding to do our work but it feels like there is something missing.
Let’s have a cup of coffee at the void
When contemplating on doing distant work please take into consideration that no man is an island. Stay connected and communicate with your fellow Montelieers, says our handbook.
The new normal has made our video meeting rooms fuller and our Slack, especially the social chitchat channels, more active. We have started to have a Slack call twice a day to have a coffee/tea break together. We are also composing new ways to have our social gatherings and after-work activities fully online.
So who’s up for an after-work beer and some gaming at Pallas?
We have one routine that we swear by, the Monday meeting. That’s when we get together to see what happened last week and what can be expected of this one. It’s also the time most of us meet face-to-face, exchange greetings and enjoy breakfast together. Now the breakfast has to be made by every one of us separately but hey, we can now compare our menus.
Sharing the tips
Respecting our craft is about dedication to the industry, about never ceasing to learn new things and about sharing knowledge, says the book.
What we already know about productive and enjoyable remote working we want to share to anyone who’s having trouble finding the right work swag, the best tools or sensible practises for remote work. Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's have a video talk over a cup of coffee.
And for those of you who know Spanish take a look at this recording of a great webinar on YouTube. That’s Mario, our Argentina-based developer, giving a webinar about remote working tools and practicalities for 140 Argentinians who have been forced to move to home offices.
But I’m going crazy
Even with our work-life running smoothly we do suffer from the situation, stress about the future and feel like the walls are falling in as we cannot live our normal lives. Keeping up the good work is not just about efficient remote work methods, sufficient work ergonomy at our home offices, or about fostering good team spirit with shared coffee breaks. Mental health needs to be nurtured too, especially during these times on uncertainty.
Here are four key principles we follow to keep our heads cool.
Shower and change out of your pyjamas. Eat proper lunch. Have breaks and start and stop working on time.
- Keep focus.
Focus on work. Reading corona news every fifteen minutes won’t help anyone. Let’s focus on creating amazing software for our clients instead.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Video, Slack, phone call, fax…keep connected and talk about everything, not just work or corona.
- Have fun.
Smiling, launching and joking are needed more than ever!
Still, the bottom line is, it doesn’t matter where or how we do it, now more than ever we need to keep on creating meaningful top-quality software to our clients who need our very best effort to thrive.
Greetings from Montel Intergalactic fully remote team! Take care!