This post was originally published at Kisko Labs’ blog on last month.

In August last year I did something that I guess is usually considered as something you shouldn’t do. First, I told my employer that I might be leaving in the beginning of this year. Not long after that, I told that I might actually leave even a few months earlier. Then my plans changed again. The reason for thinking about leaving Kisko was purely personal.

I wanted to go abroad and work 100% remotely, so I could explore the world.

Telling your boss that you’re planning to quit is often something uncomfortable, that you can end up postponing to the last moment. But being honest and direct about your plans early on could benefit both you and your employer – by boosting positive change.

The discussion

Instead of just announcing that I’m leaving, I wanted to try speaking openly about my career moves. Also to see, if my employer really is the career incubator, the supporter in all situations.

It turned out it is. Speaking directly opened perhaps the most honest ‘development discussion’ I’ve ever had with an employer. I can’t say how it is in all other companies out there, but you might want to be part of one where you can have these kind of honest, constructive discussions. Our discussion – and discussions with my significant other – made me do the last change of plans, decide to continue at my current workplace.

Kisko doesn’t have a lot of experience yet with actual remote workers, even though short periods of remote work are totally normal among the team and freelancers. By sharing thoughts, we’ve been able to help each other. I can start planning to move abroad and we, as a team, can find ways to make remote working possible for us.

Towards remote work

We’ve already taken a few steps forward. As a first step, we decided to measure how many Kiskonians feel that they could work remotely for a month. We took that as a goal during our last OKR season of last year. Results weren’t that good, only 3 out of 12 felt that they could do that (we didn’t measure how many actually would want to).

As a second step, I took two personal goals for our first OKR season this year. First, to spend at least three weeks working abroad and secondly, to come up with at least three proposals on how we could/should change our way of working to give better support for remote workers.

I’ve started to work from home more, even full weeks, but usually trying to visit the office about twice a week. I’ve also noticed that others have increased their remote-day count, and we’ve had more internal meetings with people participating remotely.

Focusing on remote work and doing serious research on it has made it possible to really optimize my ways of working for better productivity.

Experiments in time management, such as using weekly reviews and planning, have given me the freedom to arrange my work schedule closer to what I want it to be without sacrificing the quality or amount of work done. For example, I’ve been able to do gym sessions at noon, something I previously didn’t do because it felt like cheating. After a break I’ve been able to get back to work with better focus.