The Great Midwest Remote Experiment

37 days, 11 states, 4,000 miles.

For many years my career goal has been very simple - find a way to be able to work from my computer from anywhere in the world. 

I have an awesome boss who is a very strong advocate of working remotely and when he suggested our team read 37 Signals' new book Remote: Office Not Required, I knew it was the right time to ask if I could work remotely for the entire month of June.

He approved this request without blinking an eye and it only took one email to our VP of Sales to get his permission. On May 31st, BJ, Kaz, and I loaded up my Subaru and hit the road for a month in the midwest.

We spent 2.5 weeks with my family in Minnesota and 2.5 weeks with his family in Iowa. For over 10 years, BJ and I have lived thousands of miles from our families. While we try to see everyone a couple times a year, we miss out on all the little family interactions that happen when you live near each other. 

Working from my parents' house, I was able to go to mid-day yoga classes with my mom, BJ helped my dad in the yard, and we went out for wings with my brother with no planning save a phone call after work. By no means are these activities adventurous or exciting, but these are the moments that you never think you would miss when you move away from home.

I found that working outside of the office strengthened my relationships with my co-workers and I finished my work in a much more efficient way. When you don't have the ability to walk over to someone's desk and babble off the first question or idea that comes to mind, you have to sit down and compose an email. You have to really think about what you want to say and how to articulate your ideas and questions.

I found myself communicating stronger and more meaningfully with my colleagues and, without the distraction of meetings and inter-office chit chat, I was able to complete my tasks faster.

In working remotely, I found the most fulfilling work/life balance yet. Omitting things like soul-crushing commutes, time-sucking meetings, and the prep work of getting ready to go to the office gave me hours back to my day - hours I was able to spend doing things I enjoy with people I love.

After 37 days, 11 states, and 4,000 miles, we returned to Portland with happy memories of time spent with family and friends who we rarely get to see. I went back to the office feeling beyond grateful for the chance to work remotely and hopeful for more opportunities in the future.