Becoming better through the crisis!

Change is about people.

My first seven years of working 100% remotely

I entered the world of remote work in 2013 — the year I moved from Poland to Germany. After moving to Berlin I did not have to look for a new job — my employer transferred me. What I had to do, however, is to change my role, my manager, and the way I was delivering value for the organization. My new manager was based in the UK, my team with approximately 55 members was distributed across 12+ countries and I was new in the PMO role (Project Management Officer), expected to work remotely. I was located in Berlin and indeed my company had an office in the German capital city, nevertheless, I was the only team member in this location. Therefore I was going to the office only once in the while to socialize.

My home office in September 2014.

Back to working remotely

Suddenly, a lot of people, who were not used to work remotely on a regular basis, have been sent home to work remotely, due to the coronavirus. Let me be very clear here. Working from home or working remotely once a week is not enough to prepare yourself for this disruption and this is a very different experience. It’s a choice. For sure that helps, you are not starting from scratch, but this is not the same. Working 4 days a week from the office and 1 day from home/remotely can help you gain time for focused work. If you plan it well, during the 4 days in the office you can complete all the tasks that require in-person meetings or collaboration. This 1 day of remote/home office work can be used for uninterrupted, focused work.

How to best cope with remote work?

Here are a few thoughts that may help you deal with the situation.


1. Reframe the perspective

For those familiar with the design thinking mindset, there is no need to explain how powerful it can be. For those who are new to the concept, here is a super-short introduction. When we talk about reframing, we are referring to the unique way that each individual views the world around, and how that perspective can be changed. This includes aspects like personal experience, ideas, concepts, or emotions. Design thinkers believe that any of those aspects can be revisited and reframed to create a new, more creative and powerful, reality.

2. Working remotely is still working

When observing different social media (especially LinkedIn) I get the impression that according to many people businesses/companies are shutting down. This is not true! Don’t make this mistake! We cannot treat a lockdown (temporary limitations) as equal to a (complete) shutdown.

Simon Sinek’s books can help you to find your “why”.

When you are working with a strong sense of purpose, you can never run out of thing to do, projects to plan, or ideas to execute. You can never be done!

I think this sentence is more important today than it was ever before. Is it applicable to you too?

3. Time is our most valuable resource

Every day, I need 60–75 minutes for my commute. I’m always trying to use this time wisely and listen to some podcasts or audiobooks. I need to admit, however, that this is not always easy. Distractions are coming from every corner and staying safe in the urban jungle also takes a lot of energy. Sometimes, I simply decide to practice mindfulness and on my way to work, I only focus on my way to work. I know it might sound ridiculous, but try it first before judging. It sounds easier than it actually is. Now, because I am working remotely from home, I am saving over an hour every day on commuting.

Readings recommendations.

Bookstores are filled with tiles about productivity (how to make time for things that matters, deep work, flow, etc.). Here are some titles which you can consider reading:

  1. Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day” — Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
  2. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” — Cal Newport
  3. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  4. The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress” — Gloria Mark, Daniela Gudith and Ulrich Klocke



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Sandra Subel

Sandra Subel


I am passionate about solving complex problems, driving organizational change at scale, and helping people in building their creative confidence. My views only.