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Issue 2 • Remotely, an opportunity

Issue 2 • Remotely, an opportunity
By Kerry from Try Catch • Issue #2 • View online
The first issue went out yesterday to 15 subscribers. While about half of those are my colleagues, I’m still flattered that a handful of my acquaintances and connections took the effort to subscribe, thank you.
To address some feedback that I received (and I’m hungry for more) was that the formatting was a bit confusing. Looking back, I understand why - I made a quite literal last minute decision to create separate pages for each post, but my description text didn’t express a clickthrough call-to-action.
I’ve reformatted yesterday’s newsletter to fit along with this long scroll format that I’m going to be try with this issue - curious as to what the readers feel about this.
💌 It’d mean a lot if you gave this newsletter a share, some love on LinkedIn, or simply just hit reply to let me know your thoughts.

Remotely, a perspective
Yesterday, at 7pm, I downloaded League of Legends. The second time it’s been on my 2015 Macbook Air. I had to make some space on my hard drive for it, but for all intents and purposes, it worked. I played a few games, shaking off the rust and trying not to be too frustrated at my criminally cheap bluetooth mouse I bought on Amazon years ago, or the stock Hewlett-Packard keyboard we inherited from Kim’s father. At around 11pm, the server went down and I couldn’t join any games, I was stuck clicking around the launch portal - looking at skins and items I’ll never buy, and gazing at my empty friend list.
This lockdown is in a way, a similar feeling to a server being down - but in material reality. You’re aware of the depth of possibility available to you just on the other side of the PLAY button, but it won’t connect. We’re stuck at the launch screen, our apartments, and not like a prison - fore we aren’t being punished for something we’ve done - rather, sometimes these things happen. In 2020, it turns out: sometimes these things happen, because it’s real. This is now a real possibility in the future.
What if, now the new normal are rolling lockdowns, roiling in different intensities and frequencies, scrambling across different locals. What if the next one isn’t because of a virus, but because of the environment? Communities have faced such measures before, but never has the world been hit with such a phenomenon. I find I’ve been using this word a lot and I think it’s important to define it.
Though Mirriam-Webster has slightly altered interpretations than my own, my understanding of ‘a phenomenon’ is ‘a unique first-person lived experience in which the experiencer has no directly relatable experience to draw upon to make sense of the experienced stimuli.’
As an example, 3 years ago while atop a mountain in Oregon, I stood mouth agape in pure awe as the moon covered the sun, my motor functions only allowed me to gasp and laugh at the sight. I could feel my brain spinning its gears trying to trying to liken it to something in its archives to make sense of what was happening, That’s truly an experience that I cannot put into words, but ask me about it sometime, I’d love to relive that memory outside of writing about it on the internet. A phenomenon.
In my experience, we are in the midst of a litany of global phenomena, I don’t truly know how this one is going to pan out - sure I have predictions, as a self-described futurist and wannabe wizard, but on day two of full lockdown, I really don’t know how this one is going to pan out. I’m really trying to maintain an optimistic attitude, as I’ve detailed in my Chill Manifesto: I have set out to avoid bummers at all costs. I hope that this newsletter carries its weight in helping alleviate any potential bummers, for myself and for its readers. Regardless of it all, for the foreseeable future, I’ll be sat at our dining room table, scheduling calls with my colleagues, with readers, with contributors, with my friends across the world, waiting for this server to come back online.
Remotely, an industry
Recruitment, at College Life Part 1
Recruitment is likely to experience be a bloodbath. This metaphorical death toll will only be mitigated by the speed in which companies are able to accept the inevitability of remote-work. Not just now because of this crisis, but because the companies that were already operating in a remote-work framework are highly resistant to such a drastic changes. To make an association, our more traditional workflows (flex, semi-remote, fully on-site, or any combination) are objectively less resistant to this plague (read: coronavirus) that’s threatening our way of life and work than those that were modified to be unaffected by such constraints of time and space.
Remote-work is like a modified, evolved crop from the old On-site work stock. Now isn’t just a surrendering of the old way of doing things, this is how we have to do things now: Remotely.
I spoke with Kristian Voldrich, CEO and Managing Director of College Life, today for over an hour. Our conversation is brought to you by WhatsApp - we didn’t do video, which made the call indistinguishable from a mundane phone conversation. We used this low-tech solution to discuss his fully remote-business, remotely. Now, there is a distinction that should be made between remote-work and working from home. If they were a Venn diagram, their overlap would be profound - but as many readers of this newsletter will find themselves sat within the overlap - working from home and working-remotely do have areas where they are not the same thing.
As Kristian and I talked, he illuminated me about some of these nuances. Remote work is more than just working from a distance, away from the team. There’s a different workflow involved, there’s different KPIs to focus on as a manager, there’s time differences, in many ways: it’s actually a whole new ball game. Working from home could potentially just mean logging in at 9am and trying to emulate your ‘normal’ workday but at home. We have to acknowledge now, that this is the new normal, we can talk about the old days, the pre-coronavirus days, but the future of work is being defined with us, right now in the present.
Kristian believes there is a correct way to execute remote-work and as remote-work is a skill: it can be learned, it can be taught, and it can be coached. His company College Life, maintains a community of quality college students and recent graduates around various European cities and connects them with employers. Some of these work remote roles, some of them work flex positions, some of them work in ambassador roles for a company moving into a new market, some of them of temporary festival or horeca gigs.
But we’re in the neo-world where gatherings and travel are postponed until further notice and College Life has a pool of students (growing rapidly since classes are canceled) looking for work. And responding rapidly to growing demand, College Life is helping to provide the humanpower to work in warehouses, deliveries operations, and other (now) public/private service sectors, until other industries begin opening more positions for remote-work.
The theory of time is different in remote-work, and its completely contingent on the individual’s experience - I won’t get all esoteric about the concept of time in this newsletter, but if you wanna chat about it, hit reply. Kristian explained to me that what’s most important on all levels; individual, team, and company; is understanding that hours ≠ output. Output is the key metric to understand when measuring the efficiency of remote-work. Reporting on a 40-hour work week at-the-office’s output can be a very different metric than reporting on 40-hours of output remotely.
Output, a bit of a tricky measurement to define, remember when flow state was a hot topic a few years ago? In a flow state, output is optimized, sky high, razor sharp, as good as it’s going to get. However, as popular of a topic it was, it remains just as elusive today. Working from home, especially for the first time in a prolonged fashion, flow state might seem like just a mythical energy. Outside of a flow state, in a new working environment, with a unoptimized workstation, all of these hinderances are going to create metaphorical drag on a workers output. This week is likely going to be a dud in terms of productivity for the uninitiated.
This is no one’s fault, don’t be too hard on your team, we’re all new to this. But we all have to get better at this, fast.
We were all sort of dropped into this Hunger Games of neo-work, but we’re going to get through this together, dear reader. We’ll continue part 2 of my conversation with Kristian later in the week to keep these issues digestible - also to give me some time to trial and error and give Remotely, its own flow state.
Remotely, some information
Impact of COVID-19 on European tech | via Google Sheets
Remotely, another day
I’m flying by the seat of my pants everyday sat in our little Amsterdam apartment. With the address by Minister President Mark Rutte made last night that this thing could go on for upwards of 12 weeks, we just have to stay optimistic, share our experiences, and make healthy choices.
If you have any desire to have a conversation to contribute your story to Remotely, get in touch by hitting reply, emailing me at or connecting on LinkedIn. I didn’t end up making a Remotely, Twitter account but if you do tweet, you should follow Try Catch where we will be posting all the updates!
Keep it up everyone, we’re all doing great!
Ps, let me know what you think of the new format!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Kerry from Try Catch

A daily pop-up newsletter sharing stories about working from home during a time of isolation and social distancing, by Try Catch

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