Observations about remote work and what’s next for our empty office.

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The following points came up in an internal discussion we had about the role of our office and I found them to be worth sharing. They have been lightly edited. We haven’t made any decisions yet, but I imagine other companies are having similar discussions.

Some observations after almost two months as a distributed team

  1. The current form of remote work is not representative of “normal” remote work, as not only have we lost personal contact to coworkers, but also to most friends, parents and social gatherings. Remote work right now feels EXTRA isolating … in a more normal situation one wouldn’t necessarily need to work from home (e.g. be able to go to coworking spaces) and one could still go out with friends and see other people for the social needs. I think that’s important to keep in mind when judging whether remote work is working for oneself at the moment. …

Why has everything become so needlessly complicated?

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“Write, plan, collaborate, and get organized. Notion is all you need — in one tool.”

This post contains my observations on Notion, the no-code champion that’s eating up the productivity tool space. If you don’t know what Notion is or haven’t used it before, then this post is probably not for you. I should mention that as a company at diesdas.digital, we love Notion and have been using it so extensively that it has made most other tools we previously used redundant — it’s become our operating system and I don’t know how we would run the company without it. …

A braindump from a strange week of social distancing and working from home.

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Zooooooooooooom!

A little more than half a year ago we decided to become a more remote-friendly company. Little did we know how important that decision would become only a few months later: in early March we had to close our office due to the corona virus pandemic, practicing social distancing, all 24 employees working from home.

That’s a big change, but we had practiced remote work and home office for months, we had the tools in place and we knew that our work would continue. …

An unordered list of things that made 2019 memorable for us.

2019 is almost over and what a whirl it’s been … I managed to cross all things off my to do list before Christmas, except one: the year-in-review post, which is a bit of a tradition (2016, 2017, 2018). So without further ado let’s take a look at 19 things that happened with diesdas.digital in our fourth year in business.

1. Our team has grown, again

This is the only team photo we took this year—with our wide angle meeting room camera, which is why everyone looks a little squished. …

🔥 🌍 🔥

As a company we have pledged to leave the world better than we found it and we’ve already taken many steps to improve our ecological footprint:

  • We’ve made traveling by train the default, avoiding planes whenever possible.
  • Our office runs on renewable energy and we try to be conscious about other resources we use, like paper and plastics, as well as ordering organic milk for coffee (and providing oat milk as an alternative), using recycled paper and preferring local food options when ordering drinks/food for the office.
  • We still have some work to do: We’re pondering to switch to the GLS Bank and we’re not yet compensating travel emissions. Also pens, sticky notes and other single-use office equipment is not properly evaluated yet, but we’re on it. …

We’re making strides to be more remote-friendly. Here’s why, what we’re looking forward to and some early considerations.

Three people sitting in front of a screen, discussing. On the screen is a fourth person connect via video call.
Three people sitting in front of a screen, discussing. On the screen is a fourth person connect via video call.
A daily stand-up (sit-down?) meeting with one person calling in.

When we founded our company in 2016 we all happened to be in Berlin and to this day most of our 26 employees come to the office each day. While people are free to work from home, we’re still very much an on-site company.

That is about to change because a few weeks ago Sev, one of our most experienced developers, announced he was moving back to his home country for personal reasons and therefore he had to reluctantly quit his job with us. Our immediate reaction was: Absolutely not, we’re not letting you go this easily. …

Now in English, hosted on Meetup.com and we’re also announcing the next book we read.

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As some of you might now, we’ve been running a book club since August 2017. It was never focused on a particular genre, but rather about gaining a better understanding of the world around us, listening to other experiences and opening yourself up to new thoughts. Sometimes we read fiction, sometimes popular science. We have a core group of participants who always attend and, more times than not, new faces show up as well. It has stayed small, but we’ve enjoyed every single meeting.

At the same time we feel a few changes are overdue.

  1. First of all: The main language will be English from now on. If only Germans show up, we’ll speak German of course, but the default language is now English, so that more people can join. …

We’re raising the salary of our interns to the minimum wage—because it’s the right thing to do.

Most of us have been there: You’re still studying or just finished uni and the first real job is looming, usually starting with an internship. You’ve done your research, the company is nice, the people are friendly, everything seems good … but then, towards the end of the interview, you ask about pay and they respond:

“Please take into account that you’ll be learning a lot here and that it’s really an investment into your career. Also we usually make people an offer afterwards, …”

Then they drop the number and it’s 400€ per month. Or 200€. Even unpaid internships apparently still exist. The quoted line of argumentation is of course not wrong … but the problem is: 400€ (and that’s before taxes) doesn’t buy you a lot in any major city these days (including Berlin where we reside). That’s not even enough for a room, let alone going out for lunch with coworkers or doing any other activities in the new city. …

Time to catch up! Join us for drinks and chats!

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A photo from the first party we ever did.

Surprise, we’re back! The last party was supposed to be a farewell, but you know what, screw that! 🎉

Save the date on August 2nd at 7pm, as you are all invited again for a casual evening of chats, drinks and laughs. No matter if you’re a former colleague, friend of a friend, client or follower on social media: our doors are open from 7pm and everyone is welcome, even if you don’t know anyone yet!

As always, drinks are on us, available in large quantities, without and also with alcohol. Please note though: We want this to be a nice, inclusive and casual get-together, so please get shit-faced elsewhere or afterwards. …

Lately I’ve been going down the decluttering+minimalism rabbit hole and while I’m still far off, thinking about the topic made me painfully realize how much useless stuff I own. Such as these two boxes.

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Old tech stuff.

They are filled to the brim with old tech stuff and have been sitting in my apartment for years. I don’t need any of it, but some objects have sentimental value. Today I decided to open them up and share some of the contents, because it might give some of you a warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia. They remind me of a time when tech was still weird and wonderful. When devices still visibly showed their function and weren’t just a black mirror.

So let’s take a look before most of this goes on ebay kleinanzeigen.

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A walkman and a cassette. It’s very satisfying to open and close the cover. Also: MEGA BASS and AUTO REVERSE!

About

Harry Keller

Grand millennial with a teenage mind: always curious, mostly optimistic, annoyingly idealistic. Developer and partner at @diesdasdigital.

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