My biggest observation after working remotely in Prague for two and a half weeks is that I constantly feel like I’m always and never working at the same time. The following has been a typical day for me in Prague.
- 7:00 AM – Work for two hours
- 9:00 AM – Eat breakfast
- 10:00 AM – Work for two hours
- 12:00 PM – Eat lunch/sight-see/go to yoga
- 3:00 PM – Work for four hours
- 7:00 PM – Eat dinner / attend an event
- 11:00 PM – Work for one hour
I end up doing just as much work as I would back in the Twin Cities but because I have the opportunity to leave my desk it feels like I’m not working as long. I really enjoy being able to break up working with other activities. It also helps that I’m in a different time zone and people aren’t waiting for my reply or looking to IM me about an issue. I have even found that I will do work on the weekends while I’m sitting in a coffee shop or café. I don’t see this as a problem; to me it’s not about ‘work/life balance’ but more about work/life integration. Some involved with Remote Year have had an even easier transition than I have, but there are some that still struggle and are required to continue working in EST. We all realize that when we get to South East Asia things will get a bit difficult.
In a discussion this morning over breakfast, we were discussing the challenges of working remotely on the other side of the world. We are likely to have a more difficult time just due to the fact that we are not able to be in person for key meetings and decisions. The cost to fly back for a meeting is just too high in most cases. I really can’t see many of us getting the opportunity to fly back and forth often. The relationships you make when interacting in person just are not as easily achieved over the phone and through email. This is certainly a big challenge and it will be interesting to see how we each handle it and what best practices and lessons learned will be gained.
Since Eaton is a global company, we have many company locations where I will be throughout the year. I had the great opportunity of visiting our Eaton European Innovation Center (EEIC) during my time in Prague. This location just recently opened and houses engineering for all of the business groups at Eaton. For those who are unfamiliar with our corporate structure, we are split into 4 main categories electrical, hydraulics, vehicle, and aerospace. The EEIC provides an environment for all of the business groups to work together with the hopes of continuing to create innovative and collaborative ideas. Since the facility was new, it was very nice and modern, but I was most impressed with the people and work culture. The employees were young and enthusiastic and seemed very passionate about their work. It was certainly inspiring for me to meet those I was able to when I was there. Next month, I plan to visit one of our plants in Italy. This should be a very different experience as it is a much older manufacturing facility.
As a group within Remote Year we are working from Locus Workspace. Locus has two different locations in the city and our group is split up between each. Both have a great environment for working and collaborating. I’m stationed at the Locus – Krakovska space but was able to quickly visit Slezka the other day. We are able to take advantage of the great wifi, amenities and events at each space. I really appreciated the Czech Culture session that occurred my first day in Prague!
It’s also amazing how easy it is to stay connected with people over the internet. My family seemed to think that I was never going to talk to them or provide them updates but with all of the options now to use data/wifi I can be just as much connected to everyone as I was back home. The following are the tools I have been using to stay connected at work:
– Plantronics Headset – Since I’m in a co-working space and make many calls for work, this has been pretty key in the quality of my phone calls. It hasn’t been necessary but has certainly made everything easier for me.
– ATT Connect Web Conferencing Tools – This is an Eaton standard and is not anything new to this trip. Luckily, I can call my ATT Connect number over Skype for free since it is an (866) number. I can also use the VOIP option to utilize my headset and PC audio.
– Cisco Jabber – I currently have this installed on my computer to connect my PC with my phone in the US and allows me to call other individuals for work as needed. This is certainly the least used as I am mainly in meetings over ATT Connect, but has certainly been useful.
To sum it up: I enjoy this work style but wish that I was able to have at least the occasional in person contact with those I work with.
The Culture of Prague