Open-plan offices are the sweatshops of the West

Six years ago, I joined a tiny startup and it was the first time I experienced an open-plan office. There were only three other people working with me in that office and we really got along. We went to lunch together, took walks together, hung out in our free time and built a friendly relationship based on trust. My journey would then take me forward to London where I’d end up working for other, larger startups. Little did I know, that the tiny Luxembourgish company would be the only positive onsite working environment that I’d get to experience in my career.

My favourite books of 2018

Similarly to last year’s favourite books of 2017, I wanted to write a quick blog post about some of my favourite books that I read in 2018. Out of the 19 that I managed to read (exactly the same number as in 2017), here are my top 5. Keep in mind these are books I read in 2018, not necessarily released in 2018 and they’re not sorted in any particular order.

Buzz junkie

It’s early in the morning, probably around 7 because it’s still quite dark outside. I’m reading a book and trying to relax a bit before another busy day, my phone is resting on the table not too far away from me, but still out of reach. The book is about stoicism and a lot of topics in it are about having control over our lives.

Going back to working remotely

It’s a regular working day but I’m not sitting in an office, rushing from one meeting to another. Not anymore and it’s because I decided to go back to working remotely. I spent the last five years getting up really early, commuting to work, attending standups, hurrying to meetings and hoping that I would be able to get some work done before time runs out. It’s a never ending struggle. No matter how optimistic you are, the number of meetings never really reduces. Commuting to an office, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk, can never be pleasant.

Eliminating distractions and getting things done

I lived in London for the past three years and worked for two companies in this time: a late-stage startup and an enterprise. Both are trying to emulate the early-stage startup working environment by designing an open-plan office. It sounds great, but if it’s not done right, it isn’t.

My favourite books of 2017

Last year I challenged myself to read 40 books, this year, I skipped that challenge. Reading has become such an integral part of my life that I don’t need to trick myself into doing it anymore (challenging myself to read that many books was a way to build a strong routine). Before that, I had to force myself to start reading a new book. Now, I can’t wait to dig into the next one.