Here’s a short interview with Chirag Wadhwa, Chief Compliance Consultant at Verificient Technologies. Originally from Delhi, India, Chirag is a full-time digital nomad. He has been leading the security and compliance team at Verificient since the past five years now. We caught up with him in Kasol to discuss his take on the remote work lifestyle.
What made you start working remotely?
I’ve always been passionate about traveling, and the thought of living a “normal” 9 to 5 life was honestly, quite suffocating for me. I was only able to travel 1-2 weeks a year when I had a job at a “real office”. My curiosity in remote work turned into a sought after interest when commuting began to feel like a chore. If you’re from this part of the world, you know how frustrating peak hour traffic is. Not only that, I was spending nearly $1000 on commuting expenses! I guess that was motivation enough for me to explore remote work and eventually consider a remote career.
How were you able to work remotely? Did you use anything specific?
Even though I’m a full-time employee, I enjoy the perks of a freelancer. The head honchos at my workplace strongly believe that “life is too short to be sitting at a desk with the same people every day”. The solution they came up with was truly ingenious- a remote monitoring software. Five days of tedious work hours (including the 2 hours of soul-crushing commute) were eventually reduced to three in-office working days with the use of Remotedesk.
Do you keep a remote work schedule? What is it?
Unlike my friends, some of whom work for MNCs, I don’t have core working hours. Typically, I’ll start work by 9 AM and go through until lunch. For me, steaming food and TV is the best combination. If time permits, I also squeeze in a 20-minute power nap. I resume my work from there and finish it by 6 PM. The best part about working remotely is that I don’t have to spare special time to run errands, do my workout or just catch up with friends. Remotedesk lets me do my work from virtually anywhere and at any time. All I need is my laptop and an internet connection (my phone hotspot works just fine)!
How do you keep in touch with your teammates when working remotely?
We use Slack pretty much all day. Be it questions, discussions or updates, we instant message most of it. I also attend a 45-minute standup call twice a week with my fellow developers. We also have Slack channels that are just for fun, like the #meme-lords channel where co-workers post memes. After all, random conversations and giggles are important for digital nomads too.
How do you deal with conflict when you work remotely?
I think conflict is very natural at a workplace, whether it is remote work or a brick and mortar office. I remember when two of my colleagues got into a heated discussion over a sales pitch. In such cases, mediation works similar to a face to face conversation. Asking for opinions, understanding expectations and talking it out is the best way to clear the air. We conduct such sessions on a Zoom or Skype (video)call where everyone gets a chance to keep their point.
What are the biggest benefits of working remotely?
For me, its flexibility and freedom. Being able to make an income from anywhere is probably the best feeling. My energy levels are always high as I don’t have to travel to work. I’m motivated to take up new tasks because I finish my projects way before the deadline. As I mentioned, I’m an avid traveler. Be it a quaint cottage in the Himalayas or a bustling airport terminal, Remotedesk lets me access confidential files with proper company compliance. This has allowed me to visit exotic places and meet interesting people- without ever “skipping” a day at work.