Interview with René Lönngren

Rene LonngrenRené Lönngren is the CEO and Founder of Teeming, a cloud based tool that makes it easy for remote teams to bond and do deep work, together, in real-time. You can find him in LinkedIn.

1. How did you start working remotely? 

Back in 2003 I started a publishing company in Barcelona, Le Cool. Over 15 years we built the business to cover 15 cities in 12 countries. That meant that we were remote from day one. I would travel city to city and work with local editors, writers, designers and illustrators to get the magazine published.

We did have a head office of sorts in Barcelona for many years but eventually we ditched that too and went 100% remote. That was about 5 years ago now. Since then we all work from home or from co-working spaces.

2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?

The freedom of choosing to work according to the rhythm that suits you best. It is fundamental for any deep work to happen during your energy peak times. Of course we are all different and being able to adjust when and where you work from is such a huge benefit.

3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?

While asynchronous work is all the rage, and for many tasks it is great, people are social beings that thrive from deep connections with others.

Developing the social tissue that is fundamental for wellbeing is often really hard when you do not get to spend time in person with each other. Personality styles and behaviours are often amplified when the main real time engagement is over video, i.e. the quiet are more quiet and the loud are louder.

Isolation and lack of social engagement is the key pain for most remote workers and it has been my experience as well. At the end we developed our own tool to make team building for remote teams much easier. You can read more about it at teeming.ai (and try for yourself – it’s really fun).

4. From which cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? 

The last 3 years my time has been split between Barcelona, Stockholm and New York. I have also worked from Bogota, Madrid, Istanbul, London, Lisbon and many more.

I personally prefer Barcelona. Sun, positive vibes, easy and safe. And pretty decent prices (although it’s getting more and more expensive as the sophistication grows).

5. From which type of place do you prefer to work? 

I mix depending on the energy/vibe needed for the task at hand. I like to do deep work from a co-working space, like design and development.

When I write I thrive from being in a hotel bar or any bustling place as the energy of people moving around seems to help me. And for inspiration and dreaming, a roof terrace with sun and a glass of red 🙂

6. Which places would you like to travel to while working remotely?

Mostly outside Europe – from Chiang Mai in Thailand to Medellin in Colombia. With a stint in Tokyo, why not…

7. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe in hiring employees who work remotely?

Well, not believing is a rather black or white kind of way of looking at it. There is plenty of recent research that shows that remote workers are happier and more productive, while the companies are saving on overheads. By doing more research and thinking through how one needs to structure a team to make it work remotely there are huge benefits to be gained. Having said that, there are many cases for sure where remote work might not be a fit, so I’d also be respectful for a different point of view.

8. Which tools do you use to work remotely?

We use Twist (www.twist.com) for chat and threaded conversations and find it more productive and less stressful than using Slack.

Video, every day, all day, using Zoom.

When we need to go beyond a quick one on one, we combine video with our own tool, Teeming (www.teeming.ai) and we use that to do check-ins, map out ideas, play a fun trivia game and many more things. Teeming helps us to have fun, bond and do work together.

9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?

I have a company and then I draw a salary and pax taxes locally where I reside.

10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?

Learn from others that have done it successfully in the past. Best practices from similar companies or teams is the fastest way to make the switch.

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