Booking, Uber, Spotify: how the remote works

Hey! 2020 is over, but we will remember for a long time. Everyday life and habits had to be changed – if only because we had never spent so much time at home. By the way, how is it organized? From whom did the cat take the workplace, who moved from the chair to the gymnastic ball? What unexpected skills did you discover?

We asked colleagues from IT, living in different countries of the world, to share a short sketch. This rubric is experimental. If you would be interested in some aspect of life and work at a remote location, for example, what bonuses are given to the company after going to a remote, write in the comments – we will make a comparative article.

“About the workplace, I would say that I have IKEA / Apple starter pack” ↓

Kostya Golikov

Data Engineer @ 0 + X / Spotify, Sweden

I am trying to clearly distinguish between work and life: for work I have an average ripeness of a 13 ″ MacBook (behind the monitor), for a fan, a new Mac-minik on M1. A similar story is with headphones: two main pairs, I use open wired headphones for home, they are not felt, you can sit quietly for 5 or 10 hours, ears do not get tired at all, and the sound is excellent. But you can’t put them in the office: you hear everyone around, and everyone around you hears you. Therefore, before the pandemic, I used wireless from Sonya. Now, with remote work and work from home, I continue to use them, but rather for making calls, when you can walk around the house and not be tied to one point.

I use the iPad as a second mini-monitor for things not very work-related: music, telegrams and chats. When you want to focus, you can just turn it off and with it all the distractors. Sometimes I draw diagrams on it for working with an Apple pen, but I never became a second Rembrandt.

A couple of years ago, I began to catch the early symptoms of tunnel syndrome, with the transition to a vertical mouse, they completely receded, although at first it was terribly unusual. One of these days I am going to change the default keyboard from Apple to MX keys, also from Logitech.

Table and charger from IKEA. They just work and please the eye with their minimalism. And of course, a cup of coffee, without it, especially in winter, in Sweden there is absolutely nothing.

We have been non-stop for almost a year at a remote location, and most likely, if not until the very end 2021st, then at least until the fall. The office is closed for work entirely, the developers are sitting at home, but if you need to come and pick up something, you are always welcome. For example, I took my monitor home from work: you can live on a 13 ″ MacBook, but it’s sad.

We, as a team and as a company as a whole, were ready for the remote: in 2019 and 2020 (even before the pandemic), our team was spread approximately equally between New York and Stockholm, which is doubly difficult due to time zones. For a couple of weeks I worked from Russia, my colleagues used to go home to France and work from there. Of course, to see not only pixels on the screen, but at least occasionally intersect, gives +100 to morale. While it was summer, we met from time to time, for example, played boulesbut in winter – especially in Swedish winter – it’s much more difficult.

Spotify tries its best to smooth things over wfh… There is a budget for employees to spend on home office decoration. Just before the pandemic, a hot lunch program was launched in the Stockholm office, but in the end it was transformed into a monthly budget that can be spent on meals in the town of choice or on groceries.

The office opening date had already been postponed a couple of times, but the company slowly began to send in special swag kits: from masks to special reusable tubes for drinks.

Heading “Fishechka at a remote location”: as a child, like many others, I had tamagotchiand suddenly in 2021 I found something similar in a completely different area. I have long wanted to try doing sourdough-bread, and with the transition to remote control, I finally rolled in: unlike ordinary bread with yeast, you need to look after the sourdough, literally feed it every day, and the dough preparation process fits perfectly into the breaks between coding and calls.

Anna Naumova

Senior Product Manager @ Zello, Austin, TX, US

We have been remotely since March 2020, no one knows how much more we will work from home. I think until the end of the summer. Everything will depend on the distribution of the vaccine. We often look up to large companies like Google or Facebook, they have already announced that they will not come out until the end of summer. There is a high probability that we will generally work in the office at will, or there will be a mixed system: 3 days at home, 2 in the office.

You can come to the office, but the rules are strict: you have to make an appointment in the calendar that you will come, you must wear a mask in the office, even if there is no one else, before and after you need to disinfect the surfaces that you touched, the kitchen is closed, you cannot eat in the office, half of the furniture is covered with duct tape crosses, indicating that one cannot sit there.

The removal was a pain at first. I am a sociable and conservative person, it is quite difficult to accept changes that are beyond my control. Now it seems the opposite is true, I’m used to it and even get a kick out of working from home. Pros: no need to spend money on travel, clothes, fees, I can cook and do household chores during breaks from work, I spend more time with my boyfriend, who also works from home.

Of the minuses – the lack of live communication and a comfortable workplace. I work most often from the sofa in the living room. I have a table and a stool in my bedroom, but my boyfriend sleeps there until lunchtime, so I sit there less.

In connection with the removal of bonuses from the company, nothing has changed.

“Fishechka” – multitasking (being at a meeting without video and cooking, for example), I continue to observe the “dress code”, at least on the upper body, I often wear shirts for video meetings, and often I put some kind of dress code behind my back. daughter’s toy (for example, a purple unicorn is visible in the photo with a sofa), colleagues like it.


QA Lead @ Wisebits, Cyprus

“Macbook pro 16” 2019, airpods pro, chair, table and IKEA lamp, massage ball “

Remote since March 2020, and this will continue until the end of the pandemic. If there was no lockdown, I went to the office once a week. But the rules are constantly changing, since February the conditions are: 50% full office, masks and weekly tests for covid.

I can’t answer unequivocally whether it’s good at a remote location. The main plus: there is no rigid binding to the office, you can live in any location. The main disadvantage: the loss of working hours. That is, I started to work harder.

Among the bonuses from the company due to the lockdown: a laptop that was given out, plus money is transferred to the balance of delivery services so that you can order lunch home.

My “remote trick”: I began to smoke hookah every day. It is very sad

Giorgi Mogelashvili

Coach and mentor, channel author “A man with a butterfly”and also Lead Developer @, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Remote from the end of March 2020, without the ability to visit the offices (they are closed). Now everything is still closed, and the latest information is that we will work online at least until October 2021, with the ability to visit the office by agreement if they open.

Remoteness is both pain and happiness. Pain – the workplace for many is not equipped, and someone simply has nowhere to place it (like me, for example). Plus kids, dogs, cats, and other distractions. Well, I want to see people live, drink coffee together and play ping-pong.

And happiness because the work schedule has become more flexible. You can wake up later in the morning, because you don’t have to go anywhere, or take a nap at lunchtime if you run out of strength. My time can be used much more efficiently and more in line with my rhythm, and not with the norms of the company.

The company compensates us for the increased costs of a communal apartment, plus you can buy an armchair, a table and the necessary equipment for work (monitors, headphones) at home. Parents with children are given extra vacation days to compensate for times when schools are closed.

My trick: I bought a new coolest grill and learned how to make cool steaks and smoked meats. Previously, after work, there was no desire to tinker with it, but now you can light up the grill in the morning, send a piece of juicy beef brisket there to languish, and in the evening have dinner with delicious meat. I got used to it so that now a line of friends is invited to visit us for a barbecue (but you don’t tell anyone, because in Holland you cannot receive guests now …)

Alina Kovalenko

Software Engineer @ Uber, Netherlands

Two computers: on one rallies, on the other builds are going

The last time I was in the office was on February 28, 2020, we played antikovid-beerpong … Now the office is completely closed, the expected return date is July 1.

Remoteness is both pain and happiness. On the plus side – you can sleep longer, you don’t need to go outside in nasty weather, you can work from anywhere: I worked from France for 3 weeks, a colleague in Russia has been hanging out for six months. But live communication with the people and coffee breaks are not enough. Communication through zoom is so-so fun, but learning is generally by no means, no connection with the trainees.

Due to the remote location, the company gave $ 500 for anything for a home office (no report), it was possible to pick up a desk chair from the office. Like there was nothing else.

My trick – the cat kicked out of the office.

Pavel Doronin

Product Lead @ Intento, Ireland, and musician

What is on my desktop: a table and a chair from Ikea, computers – a personal Macbook pro, a working Macbook Air – I thought it would be easier to carry it to the coworking space, but that was not the case with the covid, I have simple wired Sennheiser headphones for dialing up: a lot of calls every day, no wireless headphones can stand this, an HP monitor, and all sorts of musical things – unfortunately, the space does not allow them to be stored separately. Therefore, for various creative sessions I remove the work desk from the table, take out everything musical from the closet. As a result, after work, you get these things →

Intento is a remote-first company, it was originally built to work remotely, so basically nothing has changed. But from time to time I worked from a coworking space. It is not yet clear when the coworking spaces will open, but certainly not earlier than March.

Remoteness: pain or happiness – in general, it doesn’t matter. But meeting with colleagues in person would still be useful sometimes. And since initially Intento was focused on remote control, there were no bonuses – nothing has changed. But there is a “trick” – you can cut the working day into two parts and in the middle of the day ride a bike along the sea, and then work again with a fresh head.

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