Hi, I’m Vera Lakmaker, Remote Work Champion at Unlock. I’m extremely passionate about remote work and obsessed with how to connect humans through play.
I’m currently located in Antwerp, Belgium. Even though you might spot me in my hometown Rotterdam or on the Dutch island Terschelling :)
Remote Work Champion at Unlock
Where can we follow you on the Internet?
Describe how you work in 10 words or less?
Fragmented during the day with a mix of chaos.
Tell us a little bit about your background & how you got started with remote work?
My CV is weird! Back in 2009, I started studying history, which somehow led me to the world of gaming. I did volunteer work as a game journalist, community manager, project/HR manager, and marketeer during my studies. Which was all remote and distributed. (I wasn’t familiar with the concepts back then)
Then I worked several technical jobs in IT and later in gaming, and that’s when I became familiar with Remote Work.
I (officially) started to work remotely during the pandemic (like most of us). However, I soon noticed that the ideas and concepts and the way of communication are quite similar to my time as a gamer/doing stuff with games.
My life has been online for 20+ years, and how people can bond online has always fascinated me (I met some of my dearest people online). Now I focus on how we can create better human connections.
Take us through your typical weekday?
My work is so diverse and broad that I don’t have a typical workday. It all starts with a good cup of tea! I usually start my morning by checking my to-do list of what needs to be done. This varies from doing literature research and writing articles, designing some of our DIY activities, or focusing on remote operations.
I do spend a large portion of my time organizing our team times, testing the product, and making sure that everyone is happy and can lead their best lives.
What's your workspace setup like?
I tend to switch places a lot during the day.
If I’m in my office. My nerd stuff surrounds me: old consoles, manga, and guitars combined with two old screens, a Steelseries cherry MX black keyboard (it’s the heaviest sort)
During the day, I tend to sit downstairs, in the garden, or my local board game shop. Then I have my laptop, Sony Wireless buds, and Samsung S6 Tab Lite. I like writing stuff down, but I have hated paper ever since I was 13 years old. I’m glad technology finally caught up, and I can now write popper digitally.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can't you live without?
I’m a huge Notion fan! I used it to structure my random, endless stream of random ideas and thoughts. I used my tablet combined with my Steadler Digital Norris and Neebo to scribble my thoughts and then transfer them to notion.
I’m also a huge fan of Raindrop.io for my web clippings, Zotero for any kind of annotation, and Xodo to read PDFs and e-books.
Oh, and I need to have something music like in my ear or over my ears. So, you can always find me with my Razer headset or Sony Earbuds and Spotify.
How do you recharge or take a break?
It really depends on my day; the general answer is something nerdy. I either play a (board) game with my friends or watch anime or other random series. I love to sleep, so I like to take naps.
When I need creativity, I tend to wander around the neighborhood. I recently picked up table tennis, and I hope to start kayaking in the near future.
How do you stay focused on your tasks?
I build a pretty extensive to-do workflow in Notion. It is basically a big to-do list, but it also functions as my archive for random thoughts. My head tends to be a chaotic but lovable mess. Therefore, it is essential to be very structured in my work, or else I tend to get lost in the chaotic mess that is my brain.
How do you keep track of what you need to prioritize?
My extensive To-Do list also has a prioritization tool built in. ☺️
What working remotely really means to you?
For me remote work means flexibility and freedom.
Flexibility in the way that I can work, how I want to work, and where I want to work. Nothing makes me more anxious than sitting in the same kind of environment day in and day out, working at the same times.
Remote work allows me to spend more time with my family and use my creative brain at times that it naturally works best (during the evening/beginning of the night).
Advice for someone who is looking to switch to a remote job?
Before diving into your job search, take a step back and reflect. Do you actually like what you are doing? We are so focused on getting a job that we don’t ask ourselves the big questions: what do you want? What makes you happy?
I know that not everyone is in that position, but work is so much more enjoyable if you like what you’re doing. Even if it doesn’t fit 100%, remote work is incredibly hard if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing.
Then it's a matter of finding out how you like to work. Do you enjoy an async environment or a sync one? Do you like working in a very structured remote environment, or do you love the freedom to determine your own work? Research the companies that you want to work for. Make it clear what you want, and stay curious!
What is the most challenging aspect of working from home?
The most challenging aspect is the comfort of being in your own environment.
Even though it's great, I need to consciously remind myself to move out of the house, and get into the world. It’s better for my productivity, creativity and my mental health.
Want to work remotely like Vera? We recommend going over the list of top remote companies allowing work from home in 2022. Facing issues searching for a remote job and not knowing where to look?