Remote working at Raketech
Remote work is on the rise. While having the ability to work from outside of a corporate office has been feasible for a while, working remotely is only now becoming widespread. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many of us in iGaming to work from home for an extended period, although with the expectation that we will eventually return to the office. But what about those people who actively choose this working model over the traditional? WhyiGaming spoke to Paula Härkönen, who recently made a dream come true by relocating to Gozo in her new remote role as Digital Content Editor for Raketech.
- Was the ability to work remotely a deciding factor in your choice to move to Raketech?
For a long time I had been nurturing the dream of moving to Gozo, Malta’s little sister island, which had enraptured me with its charms, and kept drawing me back for yet another long weekend or hiking trip. When I felt like it was time for a change, career-wise, I was already weighing the idea of becoming a freelancer – with the freedom to work for whoever I chose, from anywhere – when Covid-19 would inevitably allow people back to work in their offices.
So I was craving new challenges, and was fortunate enough to have a couple of options which could help me to set a new life course. But then this opportunity arose, and on top of it being a very appealing position, it was also advertised as being remote. I thought ‘This is it!’ So yes, I would say the ability to work remotely was a significant factor in my choice to apply.
- How has working remotely allowed you to change the way you live your life?
Considering the overall situation for most of 2020, my new remote job didn’t immediately change the way I lived my life. But as a new norm – in contrast with pre-Corona – working from home has brought a lot of flexibility, and everything work-related just feels a bit more efficient and compact.
Commuting used to take up a large amount of my time, but now, since getting ready for work takes only a few minutes, it’s enough to wake up 15 minutes before firing up the laptop. Just imagine, I used to put on makeup every morning just for a day in the office!
I have always been an early riser; previously I was often the first person in the office. One reason is that I like to be able to enjoy those sunny hours outdoors after work. Working from home enables me to get on the move even more swiftly, if I take a couple of minutes in the afternoon to get my running gear or beach bag ready!
- Has it lived up to your expectations?
At first, I thought I would miss the abundance of free fruit and drinks and the fancy breakfasts at the office, and maybe even some co-workers. But honestly, I feel good about my social life all in all, and I feel quite comfortable hanging out with my colleagues online, whether it is in a meeting or a coffee break together.
I actually feel more included and part of the new team now than I did when working in the office at my previous company, even though I haven’t met almost any of them in person!
- Describe the main differences you have experienced between traditional employment and remote working.
Since I’m lucky enough to have an apartment without constant construction work going on all around the building – which is a common complaint here – I really love the peace and quiet that was lacking in an open-plan office. In my line of work, where one must concentrate on reading and writing, often for hours on end, I find the inevitable fuss of an office environment rather disruptive.
- How do you find the experience of working with colleagues who are geographically remote?
I find it surprisingly easy! That is of course partly due to the comfortable atmosphere in the team and the functioning interaction between my teammates.
I also value the practice of people being present in person when online, having their camera turned on. It generates familiarity with each other much more quickly, and helps create the feeling of having an actual sit down with your colleagues.
- What tools or skills are required to be able to remote work successfully?
In my opinion it mostly requires initiative, flexibility, and communication skills. You should also consider your workstation – it is important to keep ergonomics in mind – trust me, I know; back problems are not fun to deal with. Also, if you live with family, best to try and arrange a space where you can work without constant interruptions, if at all possible.
- How do you structure a typical working day?
As mentioned, I start early. I usually work for a couple of hours – check the general situation, read emails etc – and either continue with what I have pending from the day before, or outline the next tasks for the day. Thus I have worked up an appetite for a mid-morning coffee break and some breakfast.
Then I work until it is time for a late lunch, filling my time with my various tasks and attending meetings, and I can also take short breaks for loading the washing machine, picking up some water or having a chat with a colleague, for example. We also have some scheduled well-being breaks arranged by Raketech, such as daily meditation – a ten-minute brain break – every afternoon. I usually aim to be done with work by four o’clock.
- How easy is it for you to maintain a good work/life balance?
It is up to every individual to take care of their work/life balance, and for me personally, working remotely makes it easier. Not all days are as busy, and because some days I have the opportunity to take a moment for a quick workout or enjoy a coffee slouching on my perfect couch, I don’t mind an occasional long day or tying up some loose ends during the weekend. I love the flexibility, and I want to be flexible too.
- Have you experienced any unexpected benefits or disadvantages with working remotely?
Well, nothing truly unexpected to be honest. I might hear a random frustrated comment about issues with communication, which I believe is kind of inevitable if you compare having the possibility to walk up to your co-workers for a direct discussion with having to send emails back and forth.
Although working on tasks is more effective now, I guess that sometimes requests, approvals, queries, suggestions, corrections and such do cause some unnecessary – perhaps even excessive – “back and forth”. Although, to be honest, that was pretty much the case back at the office as well.
I also seem to be spending more money on groceries now compared to previously, since I’m not really the cooking type! There was usually an affordable lunch option either in the office building or right next door in the old set-up.
- In your opinion do you think remote working can work for anyone, or is it more suitable for certain types of roles?
People definitely have different preferences, depending on a number of factors like personality, life and living situation, and of course even their job description. Living alone in a small apartment might steer you towards choosing a large, bustling office environment, where you get to socialise with colleagues. Or it could be refreshing, if you live with your family, to be able to leave the parenting role at home and just be a professional during your working day. I reckon there are many who would prefer to have both traditional and remote options to alternate with.
- What would you tell someone who was considering working remotely?
I would tell them to choose a company that supports or even promotes remote working, where the policies and infrastructure are already in place, and in line with this kind of work practice. I would also remind them again of the importance of good ergonomics – much better to sit at an office desk if the alternative is working on a bed or a couch, day in, day out.
- Would you recommend it?
Remoteness is only one aspect to take into account when considering this type of employment. If the role is right, the pay is good and the arrangement works for both sides, sure! For me it enabled a move away from the turmoil of a bustling work environment, while also not having to worry about commuting. I am also looking forward to future travels, since staying somewhere for a longer period now doesn’t have to eat up all my vacation days if I am able to combine it with work as well.
Another thing I would also recommend is for companies to get more broad-minded about structuring their business a bit more flexibly – especially those which have actually increased revenue under these tough conditions over the last 12 months.