How a week of remote work boosts my productivity enormously

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I really REALLY like to travel.

I try to travel as much as my work permits me. And my work allows me to do it: I own a company called MarsBased whose core beliefs include remote working. Our entire team is distributed, and only 50% of it resides in Barcelona. Plus, we have no offices whatsoever.

I, however, am in charge of business development. That means, doing field work to increase the number of deals for the company. As a service provider, our main source of income is client work.

Slightly over half of our clients are from Barcelona. That means, I need to do a lot of field work there to meet them, attend the same meetings, do business lunches, and such.

On the other hand, the rest of our clients come from very diverse countries like Singapore, Germany or USA. I need to increase this, so I can travel more, and meet less people in Barcelona.

Every now and then (less often than required, but more often than some of my peeps like), I take a break from my city, and shoot for a week of working remotely to increase my productivity. As a matter of fact, I am writing this post from Ciutadella, Menorca.


I am forced out of meetings

Meeting someone in person requires some travel time. On average, in Barcelona, it takes me 30 minutes to go virtually anywhere, and another 30 minutes back to my place. If the meeting is one hour long, I'm spending two hours in total.

It can get worse: people are late most of the time, thus adding more time to your already-too-long meeting. Sometimes, they even push it back to later in the day when you have already travelled there. Outrageous, but it happens. This is an ultimate time-drainer.

However, when I am working remotely, I ask people if it's possible that we meet on Skype for a short chat. I will then schedule 30-minute calls. Therefore, total time invested: 30 min tops.

Why only 30 minutes? The rule is simple: if you meet someone for 10 minutes, you'll spend 15 talking. If you schedule for 30, it can go up to one hour. If you schedule an hour, it'll probably go longer.

By doing shorter calls that require no commuting, I save a ton of time.

I don't get dragged into events

While in Barcelona, I always keep an eye out for interesting events in the city. I am just talking about business events, where I can potentially meet new clients, follow up with existing ones, scout for new hires, or even learn about technologies or market tendencies.

As it happens with meetings, events also require some travel time, that adds to the duration of the event.

When I travel, I might go to events as well, but I normally go to islands, where not much is going on. Not even regular events. So chances of that are low.

Therefore, time invested in meetings: 0 hours and 0 minutes.

Wi-fi might be scarce

Well-travelled people know that wifi ain't precisely very stable nor very common on islands. I mean, good wifi. A mediocre wifi, you can find everywhere. But wifi for working, less so.

Because wifi might be uncommon or a precious thing to have, I try to make the most out of it when I do it, so I concentrate all Internet-requiring tasks for when I will have good wifi.

(Well, I always try to book places with wifi, but turns out it's normally an average connection with lots of intermission, not really suited for videoconferences nor intensive usage).

I will meet new people

I tend to travel alone, so I don't get a biased opinion on the place, nor someone who will show me around. I like exploring places by myself, at my on pace, or even choosing not to explore the place, if I really have work to do.

But when I do, I will meet people. As you chit-chat, or even when you break the ice, you ask and get asked about work. So I always tell them what I do. This helps me to perfect my pitch and, who knows, I might be talking to a potential customer, or to someone who might refer me to a potential customer.

Not only that, but I will also tell them about what I am working on at the moment, so I can get their feedback. For instance, if I am writing a blog post about the Ionic framework, I will try to explain them what that is, so I can polish the post's structure by explaining it to someone else. This might help me to restructure it or to rewrite a paragraph where I was stuck.

And finally, they will give me very valuable feedback. Most of the time, as simple as it might be, it's valuable. Believe me.

There's time to enjoy yourself

Last, but not least, these small breaks from your city allow you to explore new cities or countries.

This, in itself, might trick your brain into thinking that you're on holidays. If your trip is long enough, you will take advantage of a weekend or two abroad. You're already there, so travel time didn't count, right? It is obvious that a weekend somewhere else feels better than a weekend in your city, to break away from the routine.

Also, because you might want to make the most out of your trip, you will work more intensively so your working hours don't stretch during the day (I do that all the time). This way, you will have time to explore your surroundings & try new stuff (food, beverages, parties, long walks, etc).

Mentally, and also physically, it will feel like a small vacation.

All in all, it feels like this is the way I recharge my batteries outside of holidays. Does that work for you, too? Where do you usually go?

Now Playing: Sodom - Styptic Parasite

Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

CEO and Founder at MarsBased and Director at Startup Grind Barcelona. I run a team of 20 people, where I spearhead the sales and strategy areas. My background in consulting and development (ex-Deloitte, ex-VASS) and my international profile help me with the technical and the business perspective. I love loud guitars, cats, travelling and tacos.