Arriving at the first Remote Workers Meetup in Beijing, organized by and Saent, nobody really knows what to expect of this initial get-together.

“Is this really the first edition, ever?” is heard more than once.

Organizer Tim Metz, founder of Saent, a soon-to-launch productivity device ( soon-to-launch productivity device ), greets attendees with a choice: “If you're a remote worker, you can pick a lucky clover sticker.”

There is a black hat, for managers of distributed teams and companies, and a heart-shaped sticker for everyone else. Those who are interested in the topic of remote working, but still holding a “regular” job.

The name-tags turn out to be more than just a practical conversation starter; they also end up being funny ice-breaker that puts everyone in a great mood.

The gathering is held on one of three spacious (think the size of 1.5 tennis courts) roof terraces at the brand new Manning Coworking Space.

A beautiful view of the city skyline and river below, the sunlight reflecting off nearby glitzy skyscrapers and free pizza and beer has everyone at ease. It’s a comfortable setting to exchange ideas and fire off questions at each other.

Eric Khun from Buffer, a company at the cutting-edge of remote work, is one of the main attractions.

Some of their standard practices seem completely alien to a few attendees who work at local Chinese companies.

“You pick up your own tasks? You set your own salary?!”

Yet conversions quickly turn to the practical, especially when several attendees give impromptu speeches.

Tim kicks things off, explaining why building Saent as a distributed team is as much a lifestyle choice as a practical one.

“I like to be able to go to the gym in the middle of the day”

Eric elaborates further on how those alien concepts work in practice, while Jurriaan Meyer, a Senior Director at Irdeto, emphasizes his belief that remote working is the future for companies small and large.

Tim considers the meeting a success:

“We had about 20 people pre-register and eventually over 30 showed up. But most importantly, everybody seemed to have had a great time. There were lots of smiles, many inspirational stories and serious networking going on, which is also an important element of every event."

The plan is to replicate the format around the world and make this a recurring meet-up, creating an excuse to get away from your computer and meet some fellow human beings in real life.

“There’s still so much to learn and explore” says Tim.

“What are the best tools to use? How do you manage at a distance? How do you keep yourself productive and sane?”

Everyone has different solutions and answers to these kind of questions, therefore it’s great to meet up and share tips, experiences, and generally get inspired. thanks Tim from Saent for hosting the event and giving his impressions over this first Meet-up :)