There is no official 12 Spokes office—everyone on our team works remotely. We hire for talent, not location, and the result is that we have team members throughout the U.S. and one in Canada. Most of us work from home (although Ethan works as a volunteer firefighter and often works from the station when he’s not out saving lives).
Whenever I mention that I work from home, people often respond, “I would never be able to do that. I need to go somewhere else to be productive.”
But why? Shouldn’t we be productive in the place where we’re most comfortable?
When working from home, you’re free from most distractions. You have full control over your environment. But this power can be dangerous, and you must know how to wield it. Here are a few tips that have helped me mentally acclimate myself to working in the same place where I spend most of my leisure time:
1. Stick to a schedule. Yes, you have flexible hours, but don’t abuse them, otherwise you’ll find yourself in procrastination mode and always thinking about work. Wake up as early as you’re comfortable with and get your hours in before dinner time. After dinner, tune out completely.
2. Get ready in the morning. I used to tell people that I worked in my pajamas. But now I get ready for work immediately after I wake up (I don’t even allow myself to check my e-mail before I head to the bathroom to get my toothbrush) and I feel much more lively and productive for the rest of the day.
3. Use a time management technique. I use the Pomodoro Technique—it’s a powerful and simple way to help you reign in your hours. The gist of it is you set a conspicuous timer for 25 minutes, focus on nothing but work, then break for 5 minutes and repeat. The frequent breaks and intense focus are the key to keeping you running at your peak potential for the whole day. I suggest reading through the e-book on the official website for more information.
I used to feel like working from home was a temporary measure that would someday be replaced by a more conventional job. But thanks to our disciplined remote team and to incredibly useful collaboration tools like Github, Campfire, and Skype, our company is thriving, and I’ve learned that working remotely is a sustainable career choice.