325 - Romain Decker
Romain Decker is currently a Principal Product Manager at Spectro Cloud, a software company based in Silicon Valley. They develop Palette, a management platform that simplifies the deployment and management of Kubernetes infrastructure at scale across different clouds, data centers, and edge environments.
He's based in France, right next to the border with Luxembourg. Fun fact: He can reach three other countries in less than 30 minutes — Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany.
Fortunately, he has a spacious dedicated office on the 2nd floor of his home. He has been working remotely for the past 9 years, collaborating with distributed global teams. This often required working in the evenings, and certain aspects of his office, such as the lighting ambience, are designed to enhance that experience.
His office is located on the top floor and features 3 large roof windows providing a ton of natural light: the only downside is that during the hot summer months, the room can get quite warm. But hey, nothing a fan can't fix!
Inside Romain's Workspace
- Desk: custom desk that was designed and made by a carpenter friend. In hindsight, I should have opted for a standing desk. Unfortunately, it's not easily replaceable since it's connected to the adjacent cabinet.
- Storage cabinet: another custom-made piece, the cover is made of white glass, which also doubles as a whiteboard.
- Chair: Herman Miller Aeron 2
- Laptop: Apple MacBook Pro M1, positioned on a Bewahly vertical laptop stand behind my monitors for easy access
- Docking station: CalDigit TS3 Dock (strapped below the desk in the cable management system)
- Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 38” Curved Monitor (U3818DW), and 2 additional Dell 24” monitors
- Desktop computer: custom made, serves more as data storage and family pictures management (with Lightroom)
- Headphones: Bose QuietComfort 35 II
- Keyboard: Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID
- Mouse: Logitech MX Master 3S for Mac
- Webcam: Logitech Brio 4K Pro
- USB charger: Belkin Boost Charger Pro 4-Port GaN Charger 108W
- Lighting: Benq ScreenBar Halo, operated by the wireless scroll wheel
- Lighting ambience: Nanoleaf Lines above my monitors, and Nanoleaf Shapes behind me to create a pleasant lighting ambience
- Lava Lamp: Mathmos Astro Black. While taking around an hour to warm up, it provides mesmerizing shapes and movements! Mathmos is the original creator of the Lava Lamp.
- Graphics: several prints on metal from Displate
- Sofa from Ikea
- Google suite
- Visual Studio Code
What is the most useful item in your workspace?
It's quite challenging to single out just one item, but if I have to choose, I would say my chair and headphones. These are the two things I'm almost in constant contact with during my workdays.
How do you spark creativity?
Creativity doesn’t always strike when I want it to. While my work is predominantly digital, I enjoy maintaining a notebook for jotting down notes and drafting ideas or diagrams on paper. However, most of my innovative ideas come to life when I'm experimenting in my lab or testing new versions of our products.
When I feel stuck, I find that going for a short run helps clear my mind and brings a fresh perspective.
How do you manage work-life balance?
Having two children, I start my day by taking care of them and getting them ready for school.
Once I settle into my office, I begin my workday by creating a list of objectives to accomplish, striving to remain realistic in my goals (although I'm not always successful).
I also block off dedicated time on my calendar for family activities (dinner) and usually incorporate a run or a short cross-training session during the day. After dinner, I often enjoy doing some tech work, either outside on the patio or in my office.
What do you think is the main benefit of remote work?
The flexibility it provides! It allows me to engage in deep work, hop on some school activities, get back in meetings, go for a run, etc. It reduces stress and fosters creativity as I am not bound by strict office rules but can focus on what truly matters in an environment that I have control over.
I also don’t have to commute and my wife is very jealous of this aspect, considering she spends 90 to 120 minutes commuting each day.