Our colleague Christian has been with bevuta for a long time. A technology all-rounder, he has been moving between software development, mobile app releases and classic ops work for over 10 years by now. Some years ago, he and his family decided to leave Cologne and move to the north of Germany. He thinks it’s brilliant that the possibility to work remote has given him the freedom to do this without having to change his job.

In this interview we talk about the freedom to choose where to live, collaboration via Jitsi, and his daughter’s first steps.

You’ve been with bevuta for a very long time. Have you always worked from home?

Correct – I started working for bevuta over 10 years ago. During the first few years, I was always in the office, in Cologne. It wasn’t until 2020 and the Covid pandemic that I increasingly worked from home. Nowadays, I only work from home. To start with, I almost always worked with colleagues I already knew from the office. When bevuta began to grow ever faster, I met my new colleagues in online meetings. And bit by bit I was able to put a face and a voice to almost every person I work with on a regular basis.

Do you miss spending your days at the office with your colleagues?

Sometimes I do. For example, there are some new colleagues I really enjoy working with, but I’ve never met them in person. I think that’s a pity.

How do you organize your working day? Do you keep regular hours of work?

My day has its own structure that’s determined by my eldest daughter having to be taken to and collected from kindergarten. I work in-between those times, and from lunchtime onwards. In that sense, I have fairly regular working hours.

What are the most important advantages of remote work for you?

I have more time for my family because there’s no commuting. And I’m much more involved, much closer to everything. Even though in the afternoons my wife usually looks after the children, I can always help, if required, and I’m right there if something important happens. If need be, I can even take on one of the many appointments that are part of day-to-day family life.

For example, thanks to working from home, I was able to be there when my daughter took her first steps. This was such a precious moment for me, and without home office I would have missed it.

Closer to family life: Thanks to working from home, I was able to be there when my daughter took her first steps. #worklifebalance #familyandwork #childrenandwork

Another massive advantage was the ability to choose where to live, independent of work. We could decide as a family where and how we wanted to live and didn’t have to base this around where we would find work. As long as we have stable access to electricity and the internet, that’s an option.

And that’s why we now don’t live in Cologne anymore, but in the north of Germany. This freedom is invaluable.

What do you regard as the greatest challenge for remote teamwork?

I think that the greatest challenge is the same as when everyone works in the same office: communication. It may well be that this challenge is even greater when communication doesn’t take place face to face.

But in my experience, the greatest barrier to successful communication isn’t so much the way communication happens (by text, by videocall, or face to face) but the level of trust between the people involved, and the mutual goal of communicating clearly and transparently.

Are there moments when you would prefer not to work remote? And what are they?

Of course. Being in an office by myself can be quite lonely at times. But all in all, I’m really happy to be able to work from home.

Do you have important things or routines that would be difficult or even impossible to utilize in an office environment?

Nothing that would make a really significant difference.

But this has a lot to do with the bevuta mindset. Even in the office I had a lot of freedom concerning my particular workplace. I could go outside to get some fresh air, I had good headphones and could listen to music while working, could continue to use whatever technology suited me best, and so on.

Do you have a favorite tool you couldn’t do without?

Jitsi. I wouldn’t be able to have remote collaboration without being able to work with my colleagues via videocall. This enables an invaluable level of direct communication with my colleagues. Not to mention the technical abilities such as shared screen content, which makes working in pairs and solving problems together even easier than in an office.

Also, we are all of us equipped with good headsets and a reliably high audio quality. This is very much part of what makes Jitsi a most valuable tool without which I couldn’t imagine working from home. Aside from Jitsi, I would also like to mention Mattermost, our chat software, which is at least as important a means of communication.

Do you have any suggestions how we at bevuta could improve remote collaboration?

Right now, no. As we’ve grown so much over the past few months, remote collaboration is very much in a state of development. What I like about bevuta is that everyone is open to change and wants to contribute to ongoing mutual development. This willingness to keep working towards improvements makes such a huge difference and helps us not to get mired in patterns and routines, where you end up ignoring for years the fact that they don’t actually work, or don’t work well.

Would you work at bevuta even without the home office option?

Possibly, seeing as I did just that for many years, inclusive of the daily commute to the office.

When my family and I thought about leaving Cologne and moving farther afield, that wasn’t a problem for bevuta. Other colleagues had done the same thing – so I’d just work from there. If that hadn’t been so easy, we would have had to choose between moving away or keeping this job. I’m very glad that I didn’t have to make that choice!

Not having to choose between job and moving away is a huge advantage of remote work. #remotework #flexiblework

We are glad too! We’d have hated to let you go and are happy to keep having you on board.

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