A Year Working Remotely: An Introduction

What is Remote Year?

It’s been over 4 months since I was accepted into Remote Year’s Darien cohort to travel the world for 12 months across 12 cities with 74 other “Remotes”. While I maintain a personal blog that offers a broader perspective of life here on Remote Year, I wanted to take some time to discuss my experiences within this forum from a more professional point of view.

I hope these posts will show what it’s like to work remotely from across the globe — the benefits, the shortcomings and the opportunities for improvement. At K Street Partners we’ve built our processes and our culture on the idea that you don’t need to be centered in defined locations to achieve amazing results for our clients. In fact, we draw inspiration for our work from the world around us and our passions that drive us, whether they be professional or personal. To be completely honest, my end goal is to show you the value remote work can bring to modern corporate culture and how it can enhance your internal employee engagement as well as your organizational output.

Three Reasons Why Remote (Year) Work is So Valuable

We’re now wrapping up our second month of remote work. After spending a month in Prague, we’ve taken up residence in Belgrade — a city with a mountain of raw energy and potential as it begins to emerge from past conflicts and economic hardships. I’ll talk about the remote working and entrepreneurial spirit of both Prague and Belgrade in subsequent posts, because they’ve been flat out awe-inspiring.

However, I want to start with three key reasons for doing a program such as Remote Year (or any organized remote working experience). These themes will pop up throughout my posts, so I wanted to introduce them now before getting into the specifics of each city.

1) The City Community — We’ve only had one city transition (planning for the next as I write this), and it was exhausting, but at the same time that transition acted as a shot of adrenaline and inspiration for us Remotes from our “routine” in the previous city.

That inspiration only amplifies as we get to experience each location’s unique culture, food, music, sights and people. Even a bustling metropolis like New York City can feel stagnant after so many years. However, each month we Remotes are personally and professionally refreshed with a new perspective on how life flows in each city and how that impacts our own personal energy.

Each day we gain fresh insights to draw on for our work — whether exploring a local art exhibit, learning a city’s vibrant history or simply discussing life with locals in a cafe. On one hand, we have an entire month to take it all in, but on the other hand it’s only a month to see everything there is to see. This 30-day time limit gives Remotes a sense of positive urgency that energizes and drives us.

2) The Digital Community — Just like each city, each co-working space and surrounding digital community brings its own unique attributes and personalities from which we can learn. Our first two countries offered some minor language barriers. While these are easily overcome as English is fairly well spoken by the younger generations, as long as you put in the effort with some basic words and phrases you’ll be just fine and they’ll help you the rest of the way.

It’s been interesting to hear about the issues the people we meet within the local tech community were facing and addressing in their respective fields, which I’ll also cover in subsequent posts In addition, they have been an unbelievable resource to help smooth our transition into each city — providing tips on great cafes for wifi (an obvious necessity!), places to unwind, tech meet-ups to attend and hidden gems to explore.

We were spoiled in Prague with this amazing, relaxing lawn that offered the perfect spot to take a break and unwind….or work like these uber dedicated Remotes are doing :)

3) The Remote Year Community — One of the more interesting evolutions to watch is our own cultural shift as a cohort, from a group of fellow travelers having fun to that of a loose company or organization. It’s not a “company” in a traditional sense, more a support network that looks to drive each other professionally.

We have Remotes with certain skills and passions setting up “office hours”, so you can visit them and learn more about what they do. Other Remotes have developed their own classes, such as an intro to the Swift programming language, as we build our own iOS app. We have others who are great at identifying press opportunities and connect each other with the right contacts as we brand-build for ourselves as freelancers or our home companies.

One thing most Remotes have in common? The drive to provide value where you can, since there are countless areas in which you can grow while working with such an intelligent and inspiring group.

Couple days into the program, we’re smiling but also scared out of our minds! What are we doing here! (PS — I’m the one balled over in laughter in the middle of the flag)

Over the next year, I’ll be posting about what it’s like to travel, work and learn alongside these 74 people against a backdrop of 12 inspiring cities. I’ll dive deeper into the details of daily life here and the innovative digital and co-working life of each city.

If you have any particular topics or questions you’d like me to address around remote working, please feel free to connect with me and message me directly or email me at nfico@kstreet.co

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