Remote work is not for everyone

It would take me years to find out that the open-plan offices suck. It would take me even longer to understand that a designer doesn’t need to be collocated with the team they’re working with to do their job well. Working remotely doesn’t hinder collaboration. Ok, that’s only partially true. Let’s dig deeper into this.

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.

Two questions we ask designers in job interviews

We won’t ask you how many golf balls fit in a bus or how many times a day a clock’s hands overlap – nothing like what Google became famous for. While there’s some value in seeing how candidates react to curve-ball questions, they don’t really add much to a 45-minute interview. We also won’t ask you to attend an all-day session with a series of interviewers.

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.