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Issue 3 • Remotely, a lesson

Issue 3 • Remotely, a lesson
By Kerry from Try Catch • Issue #3 • View online
I’ve begun to hit my stride for the workflow of collecting and sharing stories, since this newsletter is done as live as possible, You’ll notice a few slight variations from issue to issue that will likely taper off, resembling that curve we’re all trying to flatten.
Communication is key in all relationships and any timesaving pro-tips to avoid technical or logistical issues are worth a share. Hit reply to share your experiences!
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You can access the archive of previous issues here.

Remotely, a perspective
Kim and I left the house yesterday. We took a short run to stake our claim on one of the pop-up outdoor boxing bags installations that Amsterdam boxing club BoogieLand set up, guerrilla style. An honest pubic service by the NDSM based collective - they fashioned the support fixture themselves and took the initiative to provide Amsterdammers cooped up inside with an outlet for much needed release. The initiative landed them on Dutch RTL News last night, displaying that even in this time of preventative measures that constraints can promote new expressions of creativity. You can check out more on their Instagram page.
I left the house again this morning. To physically follow-up on a Skype call I had yesterday with Cody Reid-Dodick, good friend and owner of the local favorite coffee house, Good Beans. I wanted to chat with him about how he’s doing given the government-issued hard close on bars, cafés, and restaurants with gradual allowances on take-away, delivery, and online orders. However, my attention was required to virtually attend to my team’s morning Hangouts meeting while curious passerby by passerby would come sauntering by the storefront to ask if the shop was open and if coffee to go was an option.
Is it an option? Is it permissible? Are other people doing it? Public Space, a coffee house in Amsterdam Noord, put out a video on instagram on Monday announcing that they’ll be syncing their webshop to a delivery service to allow their customers to continue to support them through the lockdown. Those crazy Noorders are taking the opportunity by the horns to innovate, prototype new services, and utilize razor-sharp social media marketing cunning to slice through the noise.
This switch of everything-delivered brings both Kim and I back to our time living in China, where everything has been deliverable on demand for a long time. I would occasionally text an order on WeChat for a large Americano (in Mandarin: 黑咖啡, which is coincidentally, also my Chinese name) from a company that operated most likely out of someone’s apartment. In less than 20 minutes I would have 2 large relatively warm americanos delivered to my door by a man on a motorbike. Will the Dutch government tolerate, as they are so famously known for, experimental business practices in order to continue operating in our current economic and public health crisis?
Cody was hesitant regarding the steady petering of passersby with money in their pocket. It probably didn’t help cull the curiosity that we were sat on the cozy stools across from each other while the pale morning light filled the place through the open door. Besides the collection of boxes he was packing for new online orders (and me being physically present, but digitally in a meeting room in cyberspace), Good Beans resembled how it always has: a place where people meet. Perhaps its the notion of routine, perhaps its caffeine addiction, perhaps it is the sentiment of “Keep calm and carry on” - nonetheless, I found it queer that given this neo-world experience, the phantom habits of swinging by the ol’ Good Beans die hard.
As I bicycled into the city center to our former co-working space, I was surprised that I was surprised by how many people I saw out in the street. The numbers were pale in comparison to those contributing to my normal commuting obstacle course through Harlemmerstraat, and I had all the room I could want, but from Good Beans to Magna Plaza I could have counted nearly 100 heads. I shouted “lekker bezig” to a cafe owner refinishing tabletops on the street and noted how construction and maintenance projects can proceed at optimal paces not having to mind traffic. The spirit of spring cleaning and reformatting as in the air, but maybe I was just smelling Dutch pragmatism.
As I arrived at the co-working space, all entrances were locked. I tried the bell and the code half a dozen times and rattled off an email to the location manager on my iPhone before grumpily hopping back on my bike to speed home. After I washed my hands and sanitized my phone, I got the reply that they sent out an email no one on our team got that the location would be closed effective Monday, although their official corporate social media channels stated otherwise.
Everyday misinformation, intentional or otherwise, is a modern reality. I think it’s always been a reality ever since we’ve lived in a society. But now we can track it. And it can track us.
Remotely, an industry
Recruitment, at College Life Part 2
Like many reconsiderations of how we’ve done things in the past follows the adage “hindsight is 20/20” - many of us may be taking the opportunity to re-evaluate how we’re doing things, how we used to do things and how we’re going to do things in the future. This optimization can be inspired by competition, dire necessity, or simply space to think. The hustle pornographers online love to pump the motivational phrases such as: “I never lose, I either win or I learn” - and I can’t believe I was able to rattle off the top of my head, I guess you really can’t unsee things from the internet.
In my conversation yesterday with Kristian Voldrich, Founder and Managing Director of College Life (which you can find in this issue, if you’re just tuning in), I grew to understand why he invested in his all-remote team: out of foresight. He saw that working and mastering remote-work within his own company would help not only to transfer that knowledge to his candidates and clients, but also smooth out road bumps along the way, allowing his team to spread and recruit across Europe while still delivering on weekly objectives.
While output is the most important measurement by a far margin in remote-work, there’s a steep learning curve to understanding how to measure it and how to work around the KPIs associated with it. For instance, Kristian’s team operates on end-of-week reports, allowing team members the agency to accomplish what they need to, during hours that work best for them, in a manner that compliments their work flow the best. Kristian is results driven. Knowing what his team is doing when is little of his concern. College Life doesn’t operate under a command-and-control management style, instead, during their end of week updates, the team presents their metrics and compares them to their goals, how they performed in the past, and how they would rank their weekly output.
In a conventional office setting, once an employee has become accustomed to the workplace culture and the style of work required of them, they might come to understand that high-output isn’t the goal of the work they do, more rather the hours spent doing work is what is measured. Out of how many hours a day do you actually generate output? How many of us have felt that you just don’t want to work anymore or you’ve finished your tasks, but you’re obligated to stay until 5? or 6? or later? Output is what’s generated during those heads down moments. Periods of high-output are required of me to get this newsletter out every day at 5pm.
At the office there’s distractions, at home there’s distractions - some managers feel because they can keep an eye on their employees that that can maintain output levels and that the fear of allowing employees to work from home is more like letting the, “work” from home. Because Kristian’s team has been fully remote, like hundreds of other companies, the wave that has crashed on a multitude of professionals, College Life as an organization has been able to surf casually along. Though they haven’t entirely mitigated from hardships, as many of the hiring partners he was working with pre-pandemic are undergoing hiring freezes. Some of the damage revealed in the wake of this wave is going to be determined by companies accepting the discomfort of remote-work and working from home in general.
This novel coronavirus might number that industry disruptor, co-working spaces, as one if its victims. After an extended period of time away from the co-working community (or lack thereof) what would an incentive be to return to a co-working space when the rent money could be invested in better digital communication tools, or re-allocated to other spending?
As mentioned above, gyms are being innovative to keep their customer base engaged, offering online tutorials, outdoor classes, and creative digital marketing campaigns, but what have the office buildings and co-working spaces been up to? Someone send me a link.
Remotely, some information
Not to alarm you, but coronavirus-focused news products are spreading very quickly | Nieman Journalism Lab
Remotely, a workout
We gotta stay fit, y'all. Healthy mind, healthy body. I know not every region is as lucky as we are in Amsterdam to still go outside (while practicing social distancing) so I thought it might be fun to start a section here sharing entertaining and high-quality home fitness content.
Allow me to introduce to you one of the greatest videos of the modern age - 8 Minute Abs. The introduction sequence and music itself is a dose of 80s ecstasy - and it’s a nice little work out sequence. Send over your recommendations! Even better if its original content!
Remotely, another day
Productivity wise, leaving the house today was a mistake. I lost three hours of output but gained saw the outside world and got some fresh air - the Dutch phrase for this is hilarious: “Een frisse neus hallen,” directly translated to “get a fresh/cold nose.” As soon as I hit send, kim and I are off to go hit that #boogielandboxingbag hanging in Westerpark. While practicing social distancing of course. Maybe I’ll make a pop-up instagram for our kickboxing content, hmm… 🧐
Get in touch by hitting reply, emailing me at or connecting on LinkedIn.
Keep it up everyone!
Ps, no one got in touch about 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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