Upon graduation, I happily began my new role working remotely at Plaid Swan as a New Media Strategist. I moved back to Central Florida in order to be closer to my family and because Central Florida better fits my lifestyle. One of Plaid Swan’s many strengths is their flexibility. I am able to work remotely, but I will admit that I was hesitant at first. The obvious drawback of working remotely is the lack of social interaction, but now that I am settling into my new digs (aka my kitchen table, for the time being), the benefits are truly outweighing the drawbacks.
Naturally, I think some employers are worried that remote employees will become lazy. Personally, I have found the opposite. Offices can be very distracting with people always coming and going, meetings in every other room, and coworkers who are more fun to chat with than doing work is. I believe I am actually more productive now than ever before. In order to stay productive, I’ve established a routine, I create prioritized to-do lists each morning, and I don’t check my email during large tasks, like writing a strategy.
Time Zone Change
Moving to Central Florida has put me in the eastern time zone, one hour ahead of Plaid Swan’s central time zone. I start work here at 8AM (7AM CST), which gives me lots of time to collect questions and prepare for Plaid Swan’s morning meeting at 10AM EST (9AM CST). It makes me feel more productive to get more done before out morning meeting, eat lunch right after, and then power through the afternoon hours.
Working remotely means waking up and going to work in the next room. I don’t have to commute and I can shift my hours to better suit my lifestyle. I can work from 8-4:30 with a half hour lunch and still have time to go to the beach afterwards. I can work an extra hour each day, giving me Friday afternoons off. The flexibility and convenience of working at home has given me more energy and lets me live the life I want while working with the people I want.
Tips for Working Remotely
Create Your Own Routine
I personally feel that a daily routine is important in order to create a sense of stability in our work lives and to hold ourselves accountable. Most days, I begin working at 8AM and start the morning with a prioritized task list. I usually work at the same few places each day, and no, those places do not include my bed. It is important for each person to find a routine and a setup that works well for them.
Stay Connected With Your Team
One way you can negate the major drawback of working remotely, the lack of social interaction, is by ensuring you stay connected with your team. Email, chatting, and texting are great, but I really recommend using skype or some kind of online video conference service to maintain those face-to-face relationships. This will help you stay up to date on all the office happenings, not just the tasks you are directly involved with. Additionally, stay connected when it comes to big events like birthdays and office celebrations. You will continue to feel like part of the team, which is important for job satisfaction.
Use an Online Project Management System
I do not think that working remotely would be possible for me without the use of our online project management system, Teamwork. This program allows us to task ourselves and each other, enter time, share files, and so much more. Teamwork provides me the framework for what needs to be accomplished each day. It is an excellent communication tool that is always evolving.
Overall, when considering remote work, decide what is most important to you. Will the flexibility and environment you are choosing be more beneficial than the social interaction and environment you are giving up? Is your personality well-suited for remote work? If you answer yes, then give it a shot!
– Maggie Weldin, New Media Strategist