Since we are all looking for work while trying to keep ourselves from freaking out over the acquisition, the question of working remote has come up a lot lately. So, I thought I would talk about that for a minute.
I have worked remotely in one aspect or another for most of my adult career. Even when I was stage managing, I was still working remotely for a good majority of the time (when you aren't rehearsing or in performance for the show, you are doing lots and lots and lots of paperwork and emails). I've had my fair share of this experience, and therefore think I have a thing or two to offer about this topic.
First off, know how you work. Do you work better by yourself? Do you need to be surrounded by co-workers and hear the buzz of the office? Or are you ok chugging along, hitting deadlines and celebrating when you complete projects with your own self-assigned co-workers (and I may or may not be talking about my dogs)? It takes a lot of effort on the remote employees’ part to stay in touch. If you aren’t a person who is good at picking up the phone and talking to your company cohorts, then remote working might not be the path for you. But if you are ok scheduling in time during your workday to call your people and really hear what they are saying on the other end of that line, then working remotely might be a good fit.
Another thing to consider is the fact that you will need to put up with other folks thinking you are at home eating bonbons and watching Days of Our Lives. When I started working remotely in my current position, I had to challenge that idea on a daily basis from my direct manager. It was funny to me because he lived remote and didn’t have an issue with himself working remote. So, was it me? Or was it because I was a woman? I will never know, but it is something that is a challenge. So be prepared to work harder than your teammates who work within the four walls of the corporate office just to prove that you do indeed work your ass off just like they do.
Something that I do that is extremely helpful, I think, is to set yourself up for success starting with your workspace. Don’t think you are going to plop in front of the TV and “just catch a quick episode” while you work. For me, I need somewhere I can leave at the end of my workday. I have a home office complete with everything you would think an office should have. A desk, printer, computer and tech equipment (I don’t have a fax, because, what are we – back in the 80’s?), books, shredder (for all the confidential documents I shred, including junk mail, haha!), office supplies, and my beloved pink velvet chair. (It is new and I am in love with it. Thanks, Pier 1 and Rory!) I have this whole set up because it is already difficult for me to detach from work. To really step away and stop checking emails, texts, slack messages, etc. So for me, I need a place I can literally shut the door and not think about for the night. Because if I see my computer, that sweet sweet glow of my gold MacBook Air screen, I will be SO tempted to “just check one email….just one! I swear!”
Lastly, you need a very supportive boss. I have run the gamut of bosses. Literally. I am not even including anything before my current position/company. That’s right, not even including my previous position at this same company. Within the last 4 years at my current place of work in my current position I have lasted through 8 different bosses. That’s right. 8 bosses in less than 4 years. I am not sure if that says more about my ability to hang in through change, or about my unwillingness to abandon something I believe in. Haha! Anyway, throughout those bosses, I had a couple that were awesome. Super supportive, really great communicators, and even one that ended up being a mentor-type and very good friend of mine. The others, yikes. I’ve experienced everything from micromanagers to flat out bullying. One created such a hostile work environment that I had to report it to HR. (I’ve never had to report anything to HR, even when I should have for sexual harassment, but that’s another blog). Anyway, the boss you have for your remote position can truly make or break your experience, so work on maintaining that relationship and keeping the channels of communication open. Touch base often and keep them up to date on your projects, and you should be fine.
My opinion is that remote working is the best. I love it, I hope to do more of it, and I am good at it. It isn’t for everyone though, which is great in case I need to find another job! I am trying to keep the hyperventilating to a minimum over the stress of the uncertainty of my job, but I think for now, I will go to the pool. Because, well, I can.