Listener questions, answered

It’s time for another mailbag episode where Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson answer your questions! In this one, they discuss how to apply calm company principles to client work and classrooms, and talk about healthy ways for business partners to disagree.

Take a Break

Smell ya later! We here at the Rework podcast are taking off the month of August. Before we left, we interviewed three business owners about sabbaticals. In this episode: Adeline Koh of Sabbatical Beauty shares the story of how she ended up starting a business while on leave from a different job; Jason Fried explains why Basecamp offers paid sabbaticals as an employee benefit; and Rachel Winard of Soapwalla talks about what it’s like to go on sabbatical when you’re the boss.

We’ll be back in September with all-new episodes of Rework! In the meantime, you can catch up on episodes you missed at or peruse the archives of our previous podcast, The Distance.

Say No

It’s easy to say yes, whether it’s to a customer request or a deadline from your boss. But saying yes too many times can result in an unmanageable workload or distract you from the stuff you really want to be doing. It’s good to practice saying no and setting boundaries. In this episode of the Rework podcast: A personal organizer helps her clients say no to physical clutter; a programmer at Basecamp peers into the abyss of burnout and steps back just in time; and a healthy meal-planning startup rejects complexity, even if it means letting some customers go.

Workaholics Aren’t Heroes

Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more. (Rework)

Being tired isn’t a badge of honor. We’ve been saying this for a while now, because our culture loves to glorify toiling long hours for its own sake and we think that leads to subpar work and general misery. In this episode of the Rework podcast, we talk to a veteran of the video game industry and a member of Basecamp’s customer support team about workaholism and burnout. We also hear from the owner of a new business who’s balancing mindfulness with the demands of starting her own meditation-focused company.

The issue of workaholism, particularly in tech startups, continues to be a prickly topic—so much so that when DHH wrote a piece for this very blog entitled “Trickle-down workaholism in startups,” he kicked off a Twitter fight about it. We’ll be talking about that dust-up in the next episode, which is entirely devoted to why and how David argues on Twitter. So listen, subscribe (via Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, or the app of your choice), and stay tuned!

Work culture — important things you can learn from my salon

I’ve been seeing the same hair stylist for years — Valerie. Not only do I consider her a friend (and of course great at keeping me proud of my hair), she’s full of interesting lessons about business. She’s even recently opened up her own salon. (I’ve written about her and her partner before.)

I was chatting with Valerie about what makes a great place to work. She mentioned two things.

First, Valerie sees so many salons pretending that cutting hair is way more important than other aspects of employees lives, like their family or extracurricular activities. She wants to see salons encourage employees to go after what they want. Whether it’s performing in a band, or auditioning for an acting job, she’s wants an environment that works around the real lives and schedules of employees.

Second, Valerie doesn’t want employees to feel stuck doing a certain thing. Many salons silo their employees. You can only cut hair. You can only do color. Valerie wants her employees to be able to explore any facet of the business they want to learn and get better at.

As Valerie talked to me about what’s important to her, I realized those were the same things that drove my career direction and entrepreneurship goals.

One of the first jobs I had was as a consultant. I was on the road, living in other states 5 days a week. My life at home was completely ignored by my employer.

And it’s not just consulting companies. How many work places expect their salaried employees to work as much overtime as possible for free to help make the founders wealthy?

I also saw how companies stuck me into siloed places. I kept finding myself in positions where I wanted to learn and contribute to more aspects of the business, but didn’t see a path to do so. I didn’t expect my employer to hold my hand, but I felt shut out of even the ability to try and learn.

So when I would switch jobs or create my own companies, my objective would often be to overcome these obstacles.

Now don’t get me wrong. These goals are still aspirational to me as I run Highrise. I’m positive I’m still not the best at executing on these ideas, but I want to be.

I realize employees here at Highrise have important things going on in their lives other their work here. So instead of the typical “end of week retrospective” about work, during our end of week meeting we focus on everyone’s weekend plans and life updates. Or we try to promote and encourage the outside efforts of employees, like Alison Groves’ work to give girls a wonderful environment to learn about business, technology, working together, and more with Girls to the Moon.

I also try to provide an environment where Highrise employees can participate and learn about any facet of the business they want to. Any team. Any project. If someone in engineering wants the raw data to customer interviews or our website analytics to see what drives business decisions, it’s all open to them. If someone on customer support, wants to help with marketing and SEO efforts, the contributions are more than welcome. If anyone wants to sit at the trade show booth with me talking to people, they can. If anyone wants to develop, they can. If anyone wants to design, they can.

I want Highrise to be a place where you can absolutely grow into the person you want to be. I know I can get a ton better at this and hope I can. But if you are looking at building your own company and looking for some advice on the people side of things, those are two big ones that stand out to me.

P.S. Please help spread this by clicking the below.

You should follow my YouTube channel, where I share more about how we run our business, do product design, market ourselves, and just get through life. And if you need a no-hassle system to track leads and manage follow-ups you should try Highrise. And if you need a hair stylist in Chicago, go say hi to Valerie.

The Managerial Entitlement Complex

It’s popular for managers to bitch about how millennials have an entitlement complex. It’s always easy to pick on someone smaller and younger than you, isn’t it?

I’ll tell you who has the entitlement complex. Any manager that feels entitled to someone else’s personal time has an entitlement complex.

Any manager who expects a response from an employee at any time of night has an entitlement complex. Any manager who expects someone to get back to them at 4pm on a Sunday has an entitlement complex. Any manager who thinks someone’s life comes second to their work has an entitlement complex.

Paying someone a salary doesn’t mean you own them. It means they work for you. During work. Work is not always, work is sometimes. If a manager thinks work is always or whenever they want it to be, they have an entitlement complex.

As as owner, as an employer, as a manager, I don’t feel entitled to anyone’s nights or weekends. That’s their time. I’m an asshole if I think it’s mine. I’ve done nothing to deserve a right to that time. Treating people well at work is what I’m supposed to do — it doesn’t buy me more of their time whenever I want it.

Can I send someone a message through Basecamp at 9pm on a Thursday because that’s when I’m free to do it? Sure. But if I expect a response any time before the next morning, then I’m a shitty manager.

Are there exceptions? Occasionally, yes. True emergencies or crisis are also exempt, of course, but those should happen once or twice a year, if that. And if they’re happening more frequently, there’s an even deeper problem with the company, the culture, and the quality. More hours ain’t gonna fix that.

At Basecamp we believe 40 hours is enough. We’re not perfect, but we try our best. There’s next to nothing that needs to be handled at 9pm that can’t be handled at 9am the next morning. When things seem to require more time, we try to find out what we should do less of, not what we should do more of.

The outwork myth

Enough already

You can’t outwork people.

You may be able to outwork someone.

Maybe you have a lazy friend. Or you’ve met a few entrepreneurs who talk a big game but they don’t seem to want to do any work.

They don’t represent people, they each represent a person.

The world is a big place. It may feel smaller, but it’s actually bigger — more people in more places have more opportunity than ever before. It’s hungry.

If you’re ready to work on something, there’s someone else out there who’s ready to work on it too. Someone just as hungry. Or hungrier.

Or if there isn’t — if you’re truly on to something no one else has ever thought of — then you aren’t working against anyone anyway.

Assuming you can put in more hours than someone, or work harder than someone else, is giving yourself too much credit for your effort and not enough for theirs.

Hours are never the differentiator — it’s never about working more hours than someone else. It’s about the decisions you make. How you spend your time, what you do and don’t do. Especially what you don’t do.

You’ll have more opportunities to waste time than use time. If you’re going to measure hours, the ones worth measuring are the ones you don’t waste, not the ones you spend.

Like Peter Drucker said decades ago, “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”

The people who’ve made it didn’t make it because they worked harder than everyone else. There wasn’t someone 100 hours behind that would have made it had they put in 101.

People make it because they’re talented, they’re lucky, they’re in the right place at the right time, they know how to work with other people, they know how to sell, they know what moves people, they can tell a story, they can see the big and small picture in every situation, and they know how to do something with an opportunity. And so many other reasons. Working harder than other people is not the reason.

So get the outwork myth out of your head. It’s not a thing.

Is Basecamp successful because we worked harder than everyone else? Absolutely not. In fact, when we launched Basecamp back in 2004, David, our one and only programmer, only had 10 hours a week to put into it because he was still a student in University. It was a side project for us too.

Is Basecamp successful because it’s great? We hope so. Is it successful because we were in the right place at the right time? Certainly so. Is it successful because it’s original and unique? We believe so. Is it successful because it’s straightforward? We’ve heard so. Is it successful because it helps other people be successful? Absolutely so.

From the mountaintop to everyday life: how I embraced work / life integration

Saddle Mountain at dawn — photo by Natalie Keshlear

In June, I went on a 5 week sabbatical from work — I ventured out into the woods with my boyfriend and we hiked. We climbed mountains, slept in a tent and got dirty — we took showers infrequently and we had a hell of a time. We went all over Oregon and then onto the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. It was hiking heaven and the 5 weeks went by slowly — I felt fully rested and reenergized, daily.

During that time, I noticed things — small things; details. Slowly and then all at once. I noticed how my boyfriend’s beard seemed to grow more quickly in the wilderness — not kidding, beards grow more freely in the wild — they can’t be stopped. I noticed my legs and how they felt stronger after each day of climbing rocks and scrambling up mountain ridges. My attention and focus were sharpened — I felt a clarity after so many months of distraction and information overload. My mind in fact, became saturated with all the things I had failed to notice previously.

Out in the woods and on mountaintops, I was learning how to be quiet again and listen. I noticed so much more when I slowed down. The first week, it felt like coming off a drug — the drug of distraction. I could not sit still. I was jittery — I felt left out — I wanted to be connected. Then, it got easier to sit down and read — it got easier to avoid Facebook and Twitter and put down my phone and pick up a pen or my camera. The days felt longer — the hours stretched endlessly — I felt truly immersed in every bit of it and when it was time to sleep, I felt completely ready for rest. I felt incredibly fulfilled.

Over the last year and a half, my personal life has blossomed — I’ve learned new things — roller derby, I ran a 10K, started training for a half marathon and I hit the books daily — reading up a storm. I failed a lot too, but learned that failing does not make you a failure (I’m still working on believing that). I was challenging myself and it was invigorating. I learned how to say “no” more and build more healthy boundaries. I stopped asking “can I do it” and flipped the script to “how can I do it” — I was less afraid and more empowered to try new things. My mindset was changing from being okay with inner life complacency, to a more growth mindset.

As my personal life flourished, it sadly left my work life in the dust. I noticed a huge contrast in how I lived my life (weekends, evenings, vacations) versus how I felt and lived my work life every Monday through Friday 9am -6pm. I just assumed, “well this is how it’s gonna be — you can either thrive in work or life, but not both”.

But, something had been stirring for a while in me and having a break to really think, made me wonder if there was a way to apply the new ways of living that I was learning in my “off hours” life — to my work life as well. It was a whisper of a thought, but it intrigued me. Was there a way to integrate the two? Did they need to be separate? Was it possible to bring in more critical thinking, more self compassion, more growth, more vulnerability, a space for challenge and more mindfulness and use all those things to enhance my performance at work?

Then, I came back to work.

After 5 weeks of quiet and solitude and space to think, I tripped and fell headfirst into my old habits. Habits that left me feeling stuck to my computer, glued to my smartphone, email, Twitter & Facebook.

Falling into my old habits made me feel uncomfortable — like putting on clothes that are a few sizes too small. They didn’t fit anymore. The things that felt so normal before (rushing through emails, checking into work off hours to squeeze in more work, multitasking 5 things at once, distracted to the point of numbing, stressing, not taking time to respond to coworkers or talk to them because it was busy..etc), suddenly felt so wrong.

I had been doing an objectively “good job” every day, but looking back — I was in “low power or energy saving mode”— not really using my strengths or challenging myself to my full potential; saving my energy for something else — I’m not sure what. This is not in anyways the fault of my employer — my job is wonderful and we have amazing employee benefits — I am very lucky and privileged to work where I do. I recognize that daily. I am in the best work environment that I could hope for. I just did not have a very flexible mindset when it came to what kind of person I could be at “work”.

I was ready for a real change.

There are a few things that I think can help in the process of cultivating a healthy work / life integration. Consider this a guideline and not the only set of rules to follow:

Embrace mindfulness

Mindfulness is defined as “a sustained awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment.” This is the definition I identify with the most and what author Ellen Langer speaks about in her book by the same name. So, what does it mean? It means thinking more about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Langer expands upon how to bring mindfulness into work below:

“You can come to mindfulness in one of two ways. First, you can engage in noticing new things. It can be new things about a product you’re working with, your supervisor, your manager, about your family, whatever it is; you’ll come to see that by noticing them, they’re different. And when something is different it becomes naturally engaging. By having people notice new things it leads people to become mindful.

The second way to become mindful is by learning the importance of uncertainty and understanding the power in uncertainty. When you approach things with the mindset that you no longer think you know everything about it, you bring a different kind of attention to it. This respect and understanding for uncertainty leads people to become more mindful. “— Ellen Langer

For me, a way to bring mindfulness into work is by recognizing why I feel the way I do — when I’m angry, sad, frustrated, happy or any one of the many emotions humans have — I like to think about the “why” behind it all. Yes, I’m a person who likes talking and thinking about feelings and I’ve embraced that. For example, during the day, if I feel overwhelmed (if it’s a really busy day or I am doing a lot of things) I slow down and make sure to breathe and consider why I am stressed out. I know if I’m feeling flustered that I need to ‘put on the brakes,’ take a walk or just stop for a moment to recover a bit.

Define healthy boundaries

Defining healthy boundaries at work is really important. So what does it mean and look like? People who have developed healthy boundaries are described as:

“People who had very, very clear boundaries about what they were willing to do, what they were not willing to do, what they were willing to take on, and what they were not willing to take on.” — Brené Brown

Brené goes more in depth into this in the video below:

I like defining boundaries. When I’m going on vacation, I communicate clearly what my boundaries are while I’m out. I communicate that I’ll be out and define who can help in my absence. I politely say “no” if someone requests that I take on a new project the day before my vacation and I maintain consistency while “out of office” — by not checking emails or work stuff — so then, my colleagues know my words line up with my actions. Work can wait and being tired is not a badge of honor, but sometimes you’ve got to remind yourself and others of that — even when you work at Basecamp.

Care less and let go of control

Care less about situations that you cannot control — it might sound like not caring, but it’s not. It can be a much needed shield when working in emotionally draining jobs/environments. Chris Gallo from Highrise wrote about caring less in customer support:

“When I care too much, I’m putting the other person in control of a relationship I shouldn’t even be in.

You have to have thick skin working in customer support. You have to let some things go. One person being upset isn’t a reflection of you or the majority of people that use the product.

It sounds backwards, but you’ve have to care less. Not more.”

I agree with Chris. I also work in customer support and I used to get really stressed worrying about people’s replies. Something that’s helped me a lot is to know that I can’t change how someone reacts to a situation. I can do my best and be my best in an interaction, but it’s not a guarantee that an interaction will go well. Even if I reply and you can practically hear a smile or the aura of a rainbow colored mini goat dancing the tango, shining through an email. It does not matter sometimes. I can’t control how someone reacts to me. It’s not the end of the world and I can move on more easily.

Communicate openly and directly

Having the space for open lines of communication and the ability to directly communicate without fear of retribution is very important at work.

“People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool–even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, obviously they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open.” — Joseph Grenny

A safe space for open communication is key. This is given and I believe cultivated from the top. If team leads/managers, senior employees and CEO’s aren’t demonstrating that it’s okay to disagree or give constructive feedback without getting publicly snubbed, it’s hard to to believe it’s really okay. This can lead to silence and silence is a noxious gas. Claire Lew from Know Your Company, offers her perspective on how to create a space for more open communication:

“If you’re a manager, business owner, or CEO, the most important thing you can do is act on the feedback your employees give you. After all, that’s why an employee is giving you feedback in the first place — they simply want action to be taken.

Now I’m not saying that you should blindly appease every request that an employee makes. But you have to start somewhere. If you want an open, transparent work environment, you can’t just talk about being open and transparent. You have to act in an open and transparent way.” — Claire Lew (source)

Having open communication channels and being able to directly communicate, helps me to feel more connected with my teammates and bosses. If there’s a misunderstanding or miscommunication between myself and another teammate, I bring that up and prefer to talk through that — rather than leaving things unsaid. It’s uncomfortable — it does not feel great while it’s happening and it can be scary, but afterwards I’m always glad to have had those tough conversations.

My sabbatical is long over, but the lessons I’ve learned during it are still fresh in my mind. I don’t claim to know all the best practices surrounding how to integrate work and life and I’m learning as I go. My “real life” is something I’m more happy with now and it combines all parts of my life (work and life and everything in between). It’s nowhere near perfect — but, I don’t think “perfect” is a state that can be reached. My “out in the woods & on mountaintops” experience has continued to grow at my work desk, inside my apartment, on a busy street in Berlin. I now find comfort in the belief that I don’t need to be thousands of miles away to experience a fulfilling life — it starts at home — wherever that might be.

How do you maintain a work/life integration or balance? Is it important to you and how do you achieve that? Tell me in the comments below or tweet me here.

If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, communicating more openly, setting healthy boundaries, self preservation and more, I recommend the books and blog posts below:

Mindfulness by Ellen Langer, Daring Greatly & Rising Strong by Brené Brown, Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless by Laurie Penny, Crucial Conversations: tools for talking when the stakes are high by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler and Humble Inquiry by Edgar H. Schein.

If you liked this post, please hit the ❤️ button below.

Why You Should Care Less

Relationships are weird.

We have names to describe all sorts of the relationships we have with other humans.

Friends. Acquaintances. A husband or wife. Brothers and sisters. Father. Son. Mother. Aunts and uncles. A cousin.

So many names that indicate the context of a relationship.

Bosses and employees. Boardmembers. Colleagues or coworkers. Neighbors.

Defendants and plaintiffs. A judge and jury.

Customers or clients.

In all of these relationships, who is in control?

Over the past few years, I’ve worked directly in customer support for companies that make software.

It’s a job I’ve come to really enjoy. It brings a lot of purpose to my work.

People buy a product or subscribe by paying a monthly fee to use a product, and they have questions or requests. Someone needs help, and you help them. That’s my job. It’s to satisfy these questions and requests.

It’s an incredible feeling when someone says something nice about you or the product. The folks that work in customer support know they get the glory first. The warm fuzzies. The good vibes from the satisfied people that use the product.

But you can’t satisfy everyone.

For all the glory, there are people who only want to argue with you. The ones who say they have a question, but don’t ask one and end their email with please advise. The people who aren’t a good fit for your product. And don’t know it yet.

Customer support can get ugly. When a customer says something not so kind, it can really take the wind out of your sails.

I’ve learned you shouldn’t take it personal. After all, they’re not blaming you, specifically. They’re blaming the product. You’re not the product. You’re you.

But that’s hard to do. Real damn hard.

Over the past few years, I’ve found myself in a fair share of arguments or disagreements with customers. Situations where I get really worked up at times.

So worked up I take it out on the people around me. Or so angry, I need to take a walk. Or play music like this with the volume turned all the way up.

When I feel like this, I realize it’s because I care. And it’s because I care a lot.

I care about my job. And the people I work with. I care what people say about me and them. I care about the product.

I take pride in being able to help people. If someone is complaining, it’s my job to address it and listen. To try to understand why, so we can improve the product.

But when someone says something nasty or uncalled for, it’s hard not to take it personally. It’s so hard to give it a good five minutes. To take some deep breaths before replying and do something silly.

And because it’s hard, I’ve had my fair share of spirited back-and-forths with customers. Email conversations or threads that are exhausting. That are a road to nowhere and that leave me mentally spent.

Why do I do this to myself?

It’s because I care too much.

Gordon Livingston was a therapist and author. He wrote lots of books on being human.

In one of his books, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now, he shares a lot of wisdom.

Each chapter is a truth that you need to know. And one chapter is on relationships. Livingston had lots of experiences with relationships, and cites helping couples navigate their marriages.

Here’s his truth about relationships:

Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least.

Livingston continues to explain that in these marriages, there is one person that cares a lot more than the other. The person who cares the most is at wits end about what to do. This person is pushing for the marriage counseling and they’re the one invested in the relationship.

And if the other person is not, the person who really cares feels powerless.

This idea really hit me.

It got me thinking about my own world. How I let myself get so worked up when a customer says something unkind. And how I care too much, putting the other person in control.

When I care too much, I’m putting the other person in control of a relationship I shouldn’t even be in.

You have to have thick skin working in customer support. You have to let some things go. One person being upset isn’t a reflection of you or the majority of people that use the product.

It sounds backwards, but you’ve have to care less. Not more.

This applies in every relationship in life too.

A boss or colleague might not respect you. Or a neighbor or an acquaintance might be rude. You might disagree with others about politics, and others might say hurtful things to you.

If you get worked up and care too much about what they say, you’re putting that person in control.

That’s what they want too. The control. Don’t let them have it, they don’t deserve it.

Care less.

If you found this post helpful, please click the heart below to share it with others.

This was originally published on my blog. I also transcribed an interview with Gordon Livingston that you might enjoy, check it out here. And if you’re looking for a great summary of his book mentioned in this post, I’d recommend reading through Derek Sivers’ notes here.

Why coworking doesn’t work for me

But might for you!

Illustration by Nate Otto

As technology evolves, and companies wake up to the possibility of remote collaboration, more and more people are trying out coworking. Progressive as ever, we at Basecamp have written about “working alone in a crowd”, in an office you aren’t responsible for. And we’ve put our pennies where our pens are, offering our staff a stipend to help with renting a desk somewhere.

I’ve worked remotely for years, in and out of cafés and shared offices, and I’ve even managed my own coworking space. And here’s what I’ve found:

Coworking doesn’t work. Not for me, anyway.

I came to this realisation during a recent trip to Manchester, England, where I helped train the new support person who’ll soon take over my weekend shifts. Rather than making Jayne, who lives near London, fly halfway around the world to our Chicago base and learn new names, new systems and new stupid in-jokes while struggling with time-zone delirium, we thought it would be more humane to pop her on a train instead — which, in the UK, is sometimes quicker and less stressful than a transatlantic flight. Instead, we got team lead Kristin to fly in from Oregon and meet us in our temporary home, a shared office called Workplace.

Workplace was perfect for our needs. We were given our own meeting room, with a quaint mock front door we could shut when we needed our privacy. We had comfortable chairs, high-speed wifi and other essentials like a steady flow of drip coffee and as many biscuits as we could eat. At first, we enjoyed the buzz of other people getting down to business around us, while we actually had face-to-face conversations and got to know each other IRL. But, by the end of week two, that room started to feel like a carpeted cell.

Why? Because that’s just not how I like to work. Training is one thing, meetups are another, but in my daily working life, I much prefer to be in my own home office. Desk sharing does nothing for my work, the way in which I approach it, or how I wrap my life around it. Since I stopped coworking, I’ve never been happier or more productive. It’s been better for:

My work

Here’s how my day-to-day goes: I listen to loud music and reply to emails. I look for answers, troubleshoot problems and pitch solutions. I teach an online class at the same time every week, and, at random, field requests for phone calls. When it’s quiet, I write. I have my colleagues at hand when I want their help, and complete solitude when I need it. And when I’m done for the day, I’m done. No part of this is enhanced by having other people around, working on their own stuff. Coworking spaces are wonderful places to collaborate, socialise and escape home life — but none of those are things I need.

My introversion

Almost everyone in my team, maybe even the whole company, falls at the introverted end of the spectrum. We work remotely, connected but alone, and exercise our empathy muscles until they ache. During a busy day, I interact with more than a hundred people over email, Twitter, phone and online chat, most of them complete strangers. After that, I want one of two things: hangs with friends, with whom I can be my true, unfiltered self, or time to myself, cooking, reading or playing records. The last thing I need is more casual acquaintances with which to make small talk or awkward eye contact.

My family

Truth be told, the only company I really need is my wife and “daughter”, a beautiful four-year-old who bears a striking resemblance to a French Bulldog. Zoë is a photographer who sometimes shoots on location, sometimes in our home studio, spending the rest of her days retouching images at the desk next to mine. That means I get time with my favourite person, practising our karaoke jams and squealing at photos of other bullies (don’t tell Olive!), but also time to focus on me. Going to a coworking space would mean being away from my fuzzy family, a trade-off I never want to make.

My weird habits

Everyone knows that you should have regular breaks during your working day, time away from that screen. But not everybody spends that downtime doing pull-ups on their bathroom door. Sure, there are a few “active collaborative workspaces” where such activity would be encouraged, but, outside of those broworking spaces, anyone doing push-ups between the desks will be cause for concern. Other weird habits I’m better off keeping at home: mid-morning showers; preferring to listen to podcasts rather than other people; staring at my dog while she sleeps.

My non-commute

A quick poll of my fellow Basecampers revealed that having no commute is their favourite thing about working from home, and the biggest block against considering coworking. I’m lucky in that the space I ran was down one flight of stairs from our apartment (which brought its own problems!), and any new shared office would be a short bike ride away. But, for me, an office door is enough separation between my work and life, and I’d rather spend my journey time walking the dog. Did I mention I have a dog?

If this doesn’t describe you, by all means — consider coworking. Everyone is different and each person works differently. Maybe your job is isolating and you’re craving human interaction. Perhaps your projects would benefit from an outsider’s ideas or their complementary skills. You might not have space at home to dedicate to an office, or the desire to own a printer-scanner-fax. Or you just want to get out of the house more.

If you’re looking for a new way to work remotely, coworking could be the answer. But you might have to search long and hard for a space that suits you, and you might have to sign-up for some trial months. And when you’ve found the right fit, you’re going to have to make it work for you. Whether you end up in a shared space or your own home office, focus on making each day a healthy, productive time.

With Basecamp 3, remote collaboration has never been easier. We’re spread all over the world, working together across every time zone, and we built this tool to help you do the same.