The Nomad City 19 Chats- Marcus Wermuth
Introducing another one of our Nomad City 2019 speakers- Marcus Wermuth of Buffer, who will be sharing his extensive remote work experience with all of you this November.
As an Engineering Manager at Buffer, Marcus has 8 years of remote work experience and his current focus is leadership and management in distributed companies and building more effective teams across timezones. He is sharing his knowledge in various events from Masterclasses to Conferences and online in publications like Buffer’s Open Blog and FastCompany and he joins Nomad City in 2019 to give a workshop on Async Communications. We took some time to speak to him about his involvement in Nomad City, his career, effective practices, and more.
How did you become involved with Nomad City?
The NomadCity team reached out to Buffer and was looking for speakers last year. I was available and already had some talks prepared as I was giving them at other conferences in 2018. One thing came to another and I got connected to Nacho and we made it happen.
What’s your remote story?
I’ve been working remotely for my whole professional work live. I started out as a freelancer building iOS Application. All my clients be it agencies or various startups were all spread across the world, so I’ve never really worked in an office. After my freelance period of 5-6 years I joined Buffer, where I have been working at for the past 4 years. Buffer is a fully distributed company. I started out as an Engineer at Buffer, and for the past 3 years have been an Engineering Manager.
What’s your favourite place to work from?
Easy – my Home Office, seems boring but my office is where I am most productive as everything is set up as I need it to be. I have my sit/standing desk, my chair, ergonomic mouse and great video setup.
Can you share with us a failure of yours that later turned out to be a learning moment?
Assuming that people in your company team see your first and only message about an important request.
Big mistake on my side, something I learned the hard way. In remote teams there is no such thing as over-communication. There is nor guarantee that people will see your first message, keep repeating and asking until the message successfully was received by the people who need to receive it.
What does your workday usually look like?
My morning routine:
6:30am Waking up after at least 8 hours of sleep
6:40am Showering + Brushing my teeth
7:00am Walking my dog for around 20 minutes, while listening to an audiobook
7:30am Making coffee and having breakfast catching up on notifications
8:00am – 9:00am Writing
9:00am Start Work
Depending on the day I have various meetings with my team, 1:1s, or other teams in Buffer. In between that I’ll try to get things done for the day – helping to move obstacles out of the way and let my team work effectively.
My evening routine
6:30pm I‘ll try to be done at that time, depending on my calendar (I do a long lunch break, so my evenings get a bit longer)
6:40pm Walk the dog with my wife and catching up on the day
7:00pm Cooking Dinner
After Dinner it is reading time
Do you have any particular practices that help your through periods of work difficulties?
Sometimes the easy things help. Just taking a walk outside and listening to some music really helps me. Also a good night sleep can really work wonders to getting your thoughts straight and find solutions to a difficult situation.
Any resources you would recommend to people either starting out on their remote journey, or already on their way?
If you are just starting out there are some great courses out there, for example Workplaceless.
If you are already on your way and want to level up, something I would recommend is reading more about Communication and Writing. Books like “Radical Candor”, “Non-Violent Communication”, “On Writing Well” can help almost everyone in any role to get better at communicating and writing down thoughts. Essential skills.
What is something you wish more people knew about being remote?
It is not all shine and glory, just working from nice places all the time. It also has it’s pro’s and con’s. Working from home most of the time can lead to isolation and anxiety. Being aware of that, talking about it openly with your team is important.
Collaborating across multiple time zones can also be really hard. Having team members across the world and not having a chance to get everyone into the same video call when you need them, is a tricky problem.
What do you think people should focus on the most when venturing out to become remote workers or entrepreneurs?
Get good at communicating and writing. Does are two very essential skills. By communication I don’t just mean how to let people know about certain things, or that you should talk the whole time. It also involves being a good listener. Active Listening is a very important skill to learn when working remotely.
Same goes for writing. Being good and conveying your thoughts in written form will help you document and share all of your communication asynchronous with distributed team members.
What’s your favourite perk of remote work?
Having flexible time to structure my day as I see it fit.
Where do you see remote work in 20 years?
The standard of how teams will collaborate across the world even in industries where we could see it right now.
Any last words you would like to share with the Nomad City community?
I am excited to see you all in November in Las Palmas, and can’t wait to exchange learnings and see what everyone has been up to.