Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Remote worker’s luxury: changing offices for different tasks and better productivity


At Nozbe we all work from our homes. We’re really a “No Office” company. And as the CEO I usually work from my home office. I really love my home office. It’s the best place for me to work. But not this November. We have a renovation going on at the house and we had to move to a rented apartment for a month. And because of the works at the house, my home office has no electricity at the moment, so I can’t work there. So I took a month off… right? Nope. No I did not. I couldn’t. November is usually our busiest time at Nozbe so I had to work even more than usual… and I had to make it happen in these unusual circumstances. What I noticed over the last month was that I was working at different places depending on my tasks. I was living a remote worker’s dream: “if there is a specific task, there is an office for that”. Here’s how it went down:

Remote worker’s luxury: changing offices for different tasks and better productivity

Let’s start with the Internet connection…

At my home people are working so most of the house has no electricity. That’s why I moved my router to the garage (level -1) and thanks to that I had my high-speed broadband connection right there in the garage and in the kitchen above it.

In the apartment we rented there is WiFi… but it’s very slow and unstable. So it does work most of the time, but you cannot rely on it. And let me repeat that: it’s painfully slow…

Most of my devices have 4G/LTE sim cards: iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, iPad Air2, so in theory they are connected all of the time. I sometimes use my wife’s Macbook Pro which solely relies on the WiFi unfortunately.

Now that we’ve defined how I’m connecting to the Internet, let’s get down to my tasks and my different offices, here goes:

I used my rented apartment when…

I had to stay “at home” for some reason and had light web browsing to do. This office was used for my “alone time” when I wanted to focus on a few tasks and sometimes needed the Mac to get them done with the flaky WiFi connection here. I’d work 2-3 hours per day here. The place is pretty bright, with lots of windows, so it’s a pretty comfortable place to work, apart from the flaky Internet connection.

I used the kitchen at my house when…

I needed fast Internet connection. And when I had video calls. My kitchen is pretty modern so the background was pretty neat, the stable broadband Internet “pipe” was a plus and I could do our “Design Fights” and other meetings that required more people over skype with video. The downside was that sometimes the workers upstairs were pretty loud… That’s why after my calls I’d usually get out as I had hard time working with all that noise.

I used my garage when…

I wanted to quickly upload or download something. Or needed some total quiet time. When I was recording “The Podcast” I was there - it was quiet, no interruptions, no noise from the renovation work upstaris and my crazy-fast Internet connection. I also used it when scheduling our “Black Friday” Nozbe offer. This dark garage (no windows!) was a great place to work for 1-2 hours straight completely focused. I’d just drive in with my car, pull out my laptop or iPad, and get stuff done. In darkness, in silence.

I used my friend’s office when…

I wanted some social life. My friend is an architect and has a very nice office downtown so if I wanted to get something done and socialize, I’d go to his place. We’d chat a little, we’d work a little, we’d take coffee breaks, we’d take lunches. It was a nice simulation of a real office time. Fun, but not really that productive. That’s why I’d visit him max twice a week but I really liked it each time.

Over the course of the month I also used my other friend’s home office and my yet another friend’s home. Both for the same reason - nice socializing environment and a feeling of working alongside someone. After all, I’m really an extrovert who likes to work from home.

I used a cafe when….

I was hungry. Last year I lost weight and got into triathlons and a by-product of this is that I need to eat every 3 hours. By the clock. My body is hungry at 9am, noon, 3pm and 6pm.

OK, so it wasn’t all about food actually. I used a cafe when I wanted to write (for that a 4G connection is more than enough) or do my weekly review. I’d use my noise-canceling headphones and just write, eating something light, sipping a freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of a good espresso coffee.

I used my car when…

I needed o move between these places. Luckily I live in a small town without traffic jams and I actually enjoy driving my car. It’s more of a family kind of car but it’s still fun enough to drive. It’s not yet a Tesla X, but sill it was a nice bonus.

5 offices - can you beat that?

That’s the glamorous life of a person working remotely and not being forced to commute to the same office every day. I can choose an office depending on a task. I can choose to be alone. I can choose to work alongside someone. And I can choose that someone. And eventually: I can choose to commute. That’s right: I don’t have to commute, I get to, if I want to.

This, with my set of skills to work anywhere that I acquired over a long 9-year career of Nozbe CEO. This all comes down to my ability to concentrate, focus and enjoy every place in a different way… and optimize it for the task at hand.

Overall it’s been a crazy month but it’s been a pretty successful one. We’ve had our best Thanksgiving / Black Friday promo ever, the best month of sales in our company’s history… with the CEO working from different offices depending on his tasks… because as I already mentioned in my previous posts:

“Work is not a place to go, it’s a thing that you do”

Question: What does your office/offices look like?

Thursday, December 3, 2015 /5-offices/