Smart Work Story With LAUFT Programmer Ravi Desai

Ravi grew up in Bombay and lives in beautiful, rural Cambridge. He fell into computer programming  by chance (lucky for LAUFT), and focuses primarily on database layers and optimizing processes. When he’s not programming Ravi enjoys skiing, sailing and planning road trips with his friends. While remote work isn’t necessarily new to him, he’s experienced more attention being given to output and results over how he’s doing something, which has offered an entirely new level of flexibility to the way he operates. 

How would you say work has changed for you in the last year?

For the better. I no longer need to deal with middle managers who insist on me warming a seat in an office. I think the biggest shift would be that people just care more about my output much more than they care about my effort. Back in the office, not everyone functions in the same capacity. So what takes one person three hours could take another person five hours, and that doesn't really mean anything to me, because that’s always been the reality. Over the last two years however, I’ve worked at a bunch of places where if I finished everything I needed to get done by two in the afternoon...I could just be done for the day.  I could go to a pub, go sailing, help a friend move - whatever I wanted I could do.

How do you stay motivated to do your best, smartest work?

(smiles) That’s just the job.

How do you harmonize your work life with the rest of your life?

It's not really an issue for me. There's 24 hours in a day, and I really have nothing to do apart from working and watching TV. I guess it would be an issue if I had a bunch of conflicting interests in those 24 hours of my day, but I don't.

Is there anything in particular that you love about working remotely?

I get to do things at my pace. It’s like going to school versus doing self-directed learning. Some kids pick things up way faster than others, that’s just the nature of the beast. The best thing about working remotely is that I get to do it at my pace. For example, most computer programmers are night people. They’ll happily wake up at 11 in the morning and if they can have their way, start working at 4pm and program until 2am. I, however, have always been a morning  person, which makes it difficult when every programming gig out there advertises that they start at 10am. For me, that means half my day is gone. I’d rather start my day at 8am.

Is there anything in particular that you find challenging about remote work?

Communication. I find that most people have been using face-to-face communication as  a crutch,  and they don't communicate precisely, which is particularly a problem given my job because precision is important when interacting with computers. (Tweet This!)

It’s either a matter of someone telling me something that’s vague, and then I guess as to what they mean, or I just have to go through two or three rounds of explaining something, so that I know precisely what they’re talking about.

What personal strengths have you been tapping into more in the last year?

Discipline: I have to be more careful to look after myself and go out walking more, since it's so easy to stay indoors and do nothing all day.

How good are you at asking for help?


What does mindfulness mean to you in the age of remote work?

It’s very hippy dippy.

What do you think  it means to be emotionally available or aware and how important do you think that is to your overall well-being?

I’m a very compartmentalized person, but if I was a manager and someone were to tell me they were having personal issues and needed time off, I would say, sure, that’s fine.

Is there a book, podcast or resource you’ve enjoyed that you might recommend to our readers?

Durable Trades by Rory Graves - a good book to keep things in perspective.

What does Make Smart Work mean to you?

Do work well. We’re no longer in the industrial revolution, which has been an economic paradigm for the last few hundred years.

For a long time now, it's been about people coming together and working together - but a lot of people are simply past that and the world has moved on. (Tweet This!)

There’s a lot more knowledge work nowadays, and that kind of work just doesn’t happen the same way. For example, if you are making 1,000 widgets a week in a  factory and you need to make 10,000, you need to improve machinery, hire more workers or throw more money at the problem. But when you’re dealing with knowledge work, it’s nearly always not about throwing more money at the problem. You can’t just solve a tough mathematical problem for example, by hiring ten more math grads. It just doesn't work that way. To make smart work, you have to use the tools available to do better work.

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