Something Magical Happens When You Hire Talent From Across The Globe

Remote Work Stories
11 September, 2021
Remote Work Story of Evert Velthuizen

Can you please introduce yourself?

Hi folks! I'm Evert Velthuizen, the Head of Support at Doist. I have the pleasure of leading and supporting a team of 17 talented people. During the evenings and weekends, I work towards getting my MBA remotely at Heriot-Watt University.

What’s your profession, what do you do?

I'm the Head of Support at Doist, the fully remote company behind Todoist and Twist.

What company do you work for? Are you a freelancer or Digital Nomad?

I work full-time as a contractor for Doist.

How did you start with a remote work journey?

I stumbled upon remote work by pure chance. I attended two weddings in 2017, where I met so many people that were passionate about their career path. I decided I wanted the same. The morning after the second wedding, I set out on my journey to find a new career by Googling "startup jobs" and found a job ad by Doist. They were looking for a Bilingual (Dutch & English) Support Specialist. After testing out their products and reading their blogs, learning more about the benefits of working remotely, I decided I had to give this a shot. I've been working remotely ever since.

What do you think are the main benefits of working remotely?

Greater work output and a higher quality of life.

If you're a knowledge worker and want to work efficiently and effectively — to get the most impactful output — you need to do deep work. No interruptions, just you focussed on your craft. Remote work allows precisely for this. (Make sure to use asynchronous communication tools, and reduce meetings to a minimum.)

Remote work allows you to plan deep work, but perhaps more importantly, every aspect of your schedule to suit your needs. Want to play some chess with your kids in the afternoon? No problem, start earlier or finish work when they're in bed. Need to take a break and recharge by taking a run? Do it. You're in charge of your schedule. Heck, do you want to see the world and still make money? Work remotely.

Magical Happens When You Hire Talent From Across The Globe

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

Isolation. If you live alone and don't see many people outside of work, remote work can get very lonely. Make sure to connect with others and ensure your social needs are met!

From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favourite countries or cities to work from?

Primarily, I work from home and haven't spent much time working while travelling, so the list is short. My favourite places so far, besides my home office, have been Vancouver and Ghent.

Vancouver is the first city I worked from since joining Doist that wasn't my home town. I had my first in-person co-working session with a fellow Doister and my then mentor, Galina Skovorodnikova. Vancouver has a lot delicious lattes, great public transport, and offers plenty of opportunities for hiking right outside the city.

Ghent, I visited recently to meet up with my friend and colleague, Hugo Fauquenoi. The city is stunning, and the people are wonderful.

Hmm, it seems that co-working with colleagues is a common denominator of my favourite places.

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From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, co-working spaces, coffee shops, or others?

Home. It's hard to beat the one-flight-of-stairs commute.

What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?

As you might have guessed, I like to travel to place where I can meet up with colleagues. I'd like to visit Porto or Madrid next.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? Share your remote productivity, communication, management, etc. tips based on your experience!

One of the biggest challenges for me has been making time for learning. It's easy to feel guilty for taking the time to take a course, read an article, or listen to an audiobook without any direct, tangible output.

I'm still working on improving this to this day. For my current method — which has been quite successful so far — I use Todoist. If I come across an article or book that benefits my work in any way, I add a task to read it. I use labels (@knowledge-building and @read) to filter for tasks, making it easy to pick one every week. At the start of the following week, I write a short reflection on what I've learned and then pick a new task.

What tools do you use to improve productivity and manage work efficiently?

The main tools I use are the ones we've developed, Todoist and Twist. (I may be a little biased.)

Todoist: For anything that needs doing, writing a post, reviewing a document, or sending an invoice, I add a task in Todoist. Having all tasks in one central place allows me to keep an overview all the work that needs to be done and plan each task effectively. Plus, it helps me keep a clear mind because whenever something pops up, I just add a task for it. As a result, I stay productive and achieve my goals

For any internal communication, I use Twist. We built the product to optimize for asynchronous communication, allowing users to process communication and reply to anything whenever works best for them.

I check in on Twist in the morning, handle anything that doesn't require a longer reply (anything that takes more than 5min to write), and add a task for anything that takes more time to Todoist with a @follow-up label. Then, as I go through my tasks throughout the day, I eventually process these tasks too.

I can't recommend async communication enough. Don't let pings and red dots distract from your work!

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

I manage it myself. It's not that complicated in the Netherlands.

What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely?

If you're already work in a place that you enjoy and remote should possible, advocate for it and convince whoever needs convincing at your company. We have a blog article with scripts and email templates to help you out with that:

If you're looking for a remote job, make sure you read up on the company's values. Ultimately, it's essential that your core values align. That a company promotes remote work is a great start, but do your homework to make sure you're a match for each other.

Would you like to share any interesting stories while you worked remotely? Please share if you can.

It's not a story, but I wanted to share that I've made the most amazing friends through remote work. Something magical happens when you hire talent from across the globe with the same values and unite them behind a goal. I've been introduced to schools of philosophy, new hobbies, music, art, books, and more. Besides the obvious benefits of working remotely, having the opportunity to work with people from all over has truly enriched my life.

If you're looking into starting a company, or if you're running one, and are intrigued by remote work, check out How to make remote work happen. You, too, can create a fantastic work environment that empowers people to live their best lives.

Can you please share some photos of your work life and experiences?

Before the pandemic, we used to meet annually for a company retreat. I'd love to show you some pictures of the brilliant people I've had the opportunity to work with so far:

Doist in Pucón, Chile (2018):

Doist in Pucón, Chile (2018)

Doist in the Azores, Portugal (2019):

Doist in the Azores, Portugal (2019)


Keywords: remote work story, remote work success stories, live remotely, tips working remotely, work from home tips, working from home tips for success, wfh tips, work from home productivity tips

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