A couple of weeks ago I went on a trip to one of my favorite vacation places, a lake that is located one hour south-east of Berlin called the Schwielochsee. Usually I go there to hang out with friends, doing stuff like wakeboarding, fishing, swimming and camping… But this time my main intention was not to relax after a tough work week. No, this time I went there to test out how it feels to work location-independent!
Prologue – How I made it happen?
It all goes back two and a half years from now… Back then, I was living in New Zealand and enjoying the backpacking lifestyle. I loved the freedom I had, but there was one thing that was bothering me the whole time. In order to finance my travels I had to do a lot of mindless jobs. Back then I thought: „Wouldn’t it be great to be able to combine both, freedom and work that doesn’t suck?“ I figured that I could have both if I were able to create an income that allows me to work location-independent. I made that my mission and decided to come back to Germany to go after that dream.
Since then I’ve been working really hard to get there. In August 2013 I got offered the opportunity to take part in the founding process of a consulting company. So I took the chance and invested shitloads of time and energy into this project until I officially became the first employee of our newborn company AviloX in March 2014. We are a „Consultancy for Networked working environments“ and we practice what we preach. We don’t have any office and most of our work gets done via online-collaboration. So if there aren’t any appointments or team-working sessions I am basically free to work from wherever I want.
Sweet! I created something that allows me to work mostly location-independent!
The driving force behind all the work I had to put in was basically one question I was asking myself: „How would it feel to be able to work from anywhere I desire?“
Finally the time had come to get some answers…
The experiment – Looking for some answers
The purpose of an experiment is to get new information. Information that will allow you to draw some kind of conclusion. I believe that we don’t know shit about what we truly want unless we actually go and try things out ourselves!
I wanted to get answers to the following questions:
- Is it better to mix work with pleasure or to keep both separated?
- Will I be able to enjoy my surroundings in the same way as I would during a holiday?
- Is it more relaxing and fulfilling to work from somewhere you usually go for fun?
- Am I able to work efficiently, while I am surrounded by all the nice distractions?
My ‚experimental setup‘ was quite simple. I just needed two things. Firstly, a place that I would love to spend my holiday at and secondly the basic infrastructure that allows me to get my work done (= power supply & internet connection). To make sure that I am able to collect sufficient „data“ I intended to spend 7 days at my „research lab“ ;)
The Results – So how has it been?
The good stuff
It was a wonderful feeling to start my workday with fresh air in my lungs. Having chirping birds in my ears, the sunshine in my face and the wind in my hair made me feel like being a part of nature. When you spend most of your workday in front a computer, like I do, it’s really nice to get your work done while being outside.
Work wise, I did manage to keep my usual schedule. The internet connection is crucial, though. I’d gotten myself a surfstick to be able to work from anywhere. The connection speed was definitely not as fast as I am used to, but I was still able to get all work done with a couple of changes in my work style.
A really nice thing about working in nature has been the quality of my casual five minute breaks. Being able to have a little walk along the lake or lie down in the grass was just priceless. Everything I needed for that was already right there.
The same goes for the time when you are done with work for the day. It took me no longer than 5 minutes from shutting down my computer to hitting my beloved orange rubber dinghy with my fishing rod and catching my first fish. While everyone else was probably just getting stuck in traffic…
The bad stuff
Having this lovely nature around me I got reminded of all the beautiful opportunities all the time. There have been plenty of moments where I felt like „Fuck. I wanna stop working right now and do something fun instead…“
Even though the job I created myself gives me the freedom to do things like this experiment I have to say that the work itself does not fulfill me. Don’t get me wrong. I am really grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given. I am able to learn and grow every day and there are many things I like about the work I am doing, it’s just not the stuff I feel ultimately passionate about. Most people would say that’s good enough, but yeah… I am not most people… I want work that excites me, that inspires me, that embodies who I am! It’s not like I didn’t know this before I went on this trip, but this experience made it even more clear to me.
Don’t expect a remote work week to be like a holiday. No matter where you are, working in front of a laptop is still work. The fact that there are all these beautiful opportunities around you and you still have to get another Excel spreadsheet done can actually make you feel quite miserable.
If you make sure that you see it for what it is: a „normal“ work-week just from a different „office“ you can enjoy this way more! Having all the good stuff so close to you can make your after hours way more fulfilling, which is a huge recovery advantage!
It all comes down to my main topic again: Do what you love!
The results did not surprise me. On my way on working towards this original goal I already realized that there is something way more important than the location I work from: I need to do the work I love! And I believe that this holds true for many people out there. Maybe even YOU!? That’s why I created this website. And finding that work for myself is my major goal for the upcoming years.
This was just my first experiment. I am planning to do another 2 remote work-weeks this year to make sure that I receive enough valid data ;)
One Life Baby,