How many best practices in remote work blogs or articles have you read? On my last count, it is easily in the hundreds! We wanted to take a different, more personal angle to remote work. That is, what individually works for each of us, and what advice we would have.
At Edgility Consulting, we have been a remote executive search firm, with collective remote/flexible work arrangements across our team totaling EIGHTY YEARS!
Across our team, themes of flexibility, autonomy, focus, and work/life integration came up.
Enjoy our remote work stories, and we would love to hear yours.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: Full-time since February 2014. I have had remote work flexibility at various jobs since December 2004.
Why Working Remotely Works for You: I thrive on integrating life directly into work. I want the autonomy and flexibility to determine how and when work gets done, within the right structures.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: You crave in-person collaboration and energy. You want to separate life and work.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: Setting my work and life schedule around when I exercise. I have the mental and physical energy to then be my best.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: 11 years
Why Working Remotely Works for You: I find it that I can focus better at home. I am an extrovert, so I tend to socialize when I am in an office setting. When I work from home, I have fewer interruptions and distractions.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: If you don’t set a work schedule and a home office. I don’t try to multi-task with childcare, house work, etc. I set up a productive work space and pretty much stay in there once I start my day. I make my work time sacred and 100% about work.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: I have to be really intentional about building in time to collaborate with my team, build relationships and building team cultures. These things can happen more organically in a physical work location, but I have found that I need to plan for these in a virtual environment in order to build a cohesive team. Some of the things we do includes investing in bi-annual staff retreats that are mainly focused on relationship building and team building, taking time for general catch-ups and checking in during our team meetings, and scheduling in collaborative work blocks around key challenges, questions and initiatives.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: I have worked remotely since August of 2016
Why Working Remotely Works for You: I am a person who likes to sit down and complete a task from start to finish and I often set up large blocks of time to complete tasks (sometimes even whole days if I am benchmarking roles). Working remotely allows me to do this flexibly without outside distractions that might take away from my ability to focus on a task. Without office distractions, I work smarter, I get more work done, and I am able to present strong work products to our clients.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: you get stressed out frequently and easily about background noises/partners/dogs/ kids in the house etc. It is a part of working from home and I’ve found that most clients/colleagues understand when it happens.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: Having a workspace that fits my physical needs. I have had problems with back pain in the past and so I put a lot of effort into finding the right desk (sit down to stand up) and chair so that I could work without pain at the end of the day. I also changed my work habits: I switch between standing up and sitting down, and I integrate stretching into my routine to keep my muscles nimble and flexible.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: 2 years
Why Working Remotely Works for You: It’s the best of both worlds in the sense of being able to have a career I love and stay close and connected to my family and personal passions at the same time. I enjoy the ability to work from home as it allows more flexibility as a parent of two young children, and I have found that I thrive best in a remote work environment because I can incorporate healthy harmony in my lifestyle choices such as more time with my family, slower and less intrusive mornings, and integrating mid day workouts to boost morale and remain in shape. These practices allow me to be more productive throughout the day.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: You aren’t self-motivated. Most often remote work isn’t closely monitored hour by hour and you are expected to manage your own time and goals. Working remotely allows for great independence, and with that can come a host of issues for people who aren’t normally motivated independently.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: Keeping a schedule and healthy boundaries around my work/personal and family time.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: fully remote: 2.5 years; partially remote, closer to 5 years
Why Working Remotely Works for You: Life requires actions to occur between the hours of 9-5, if you are working that entire time, then something will drop. Remote work enables me to integrate life and work, with no disruption to my productivity.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: You lack self-discipline.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: My work set-up. I’m not normally a gadget guy, but when it comes to work, I go for the best so I can perform at my best.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: On and off for the past twelve years
Why Working Remotely Works for You: I enjoy working from home because I can often be more productive and focus for longer periods of time. Working from home also allows me to maintain a more effective balance between my work and family responsibilities.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: you aren’t organized and or able to develop a work schedule that you can commit to and follow-through with on a daily basis.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: I am naturally an introvert, so ensuring that I set up virtual meetings on a regular basis keeps me engaged with my team both personally and professionally.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: Since I left the KIPP Foundation in April 2009.
Why Working Remotely Works for You: I never intended to work remotely but it just happened organically and I haven’t looked back. Originally, it gave me the ability to stay at home while my kids were very young and still be engaged in the professional work world. I feel like I’m able to have the best of both worlds.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: You are not disciplined about filtering the outside distractions. Also, as an extrovert it can be hard to not have that engagement with people on a regular basis but I also spent a lot of time socializing and not getting work done when I was in the office.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: For me, it always comes down to the people. What allows me to thrive is the team I’m working with and how we can encourage one another, even if we’re not sitting in the same room all the time.
Mary Joan Evans
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: 4 months
Why Working Remotely Works for You: I’m an extrovert that enjoys the comfort of my home. I find I have more time to socialize and enjoy my hobbies when I can be more productive and comfortable during the workday.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: You need competitive motivation from colleagues. I have found that observing my colleagues productivity in an office setting can be motivating, but also stress-inducing. Work from home eliminates the stress, but requires self-motivating habits.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: The midday shower. Though it sounds odd, on occasion I like to take my lunch break time and use it for personal care. After feeling refreshed from a shower it’s like starting your workday anew at 12:00 PM! I can gather thoughts and organize my to do’s in the prime under faucet thought time. It also prevents my midday slow down and post lunch sleepiness.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: 8 years
Why Working Remotely Works for You: It’s perfect for me as an introverted but social night owl! During my years working in offices with lots of constant chatting and interruptions, I was completely depleted by the end of the day/week and needed a lot of recharge time before I wanted to see or talk to people. Working remotely allows me to get my work done with few interruptions, be productive when my brain functions the best (afternoon-evening), and have the energy to enjoy social time outside of my job!
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: you get lonely easily :””(
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: Taking time to get to know my colleagues outside of our work context. It’s hard to feel connected when we live so far from each other, but chatting about our lives, experiences and common interests (like we would if we shared an office) goes a long way towards fostering a sense of community. It’s totally ok to veer off topic in a phone or video chat, and, in fact, I find that I’m more motivated to help and collaborate when I know someone as a person!
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: 2 years
Why Working Remotely Works for You: I really enjoy being able to concentrate independently on certain tasks and projects after receiving guidance from my team or a client. Working from home greatly reduces the number of distractions that may come up in a normal office setting. I would also say you can be a lot more intentional about when mental breaks are needed. I make sure to strategically place them in my schedule.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: You love attending coffee/lunch meetings, staff celebrations or happy hours. Working from home eliminates the possibility of going off to impromptu meetings or celebrations outside of the office over coffee or your drink of choice. That being said, our team recently held a successful virtual happy hour at the end of the week, so it can be done!
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: Dedicating time for meals. In an office setting, sometimes you forget to eat, but there is added flexibility (and creativity) when it comes to eating breakfast and lunch at home and having a full kitchen nearby! You can catch me somewhere around noon each day cooking up an eggwhite, pepper, onion and cheese omelette.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: Ten years this month.
Why Working Remotely Works for You: With a full family life and other social/volunteer obligations in my non-working time, I have found that working from home enables me to have some alone “think” time and recharge during the day; it also gives me flexibility to exercise and more easily integrate other personal tasks into my work week.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: You struggle to set and meet deadlines on your own, you do not have enough space or time carved out to work effectively or need external motivation to get your work done. Being in a project-based business has always helped me stay focused as there are clear expectations and deadlines to guide my activities.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: Ensuring I have sufficient childcare to cover my working hours, even if I am not “in an office.” Being able to focus on work between 4-6pm in the afternoons while my kids are being watched by someone else has really made a difference.
How Long You Have Worked Remotely: 5 years of flexible work arrangements; past 2 consecutive years
Why Working Remotely Works for You: Having the flexibility to choose where I work and the autonomy to drive how I structure my time makes all the difference – not to mention cutting out draining daily commutes to an office! As someone who gravitates towards structure, I also love the opportunity to shape ambiguity.
Remote Work Won’t Work for You If: It can be more challenging to transition to remote work if there isn’t a start/end to your work day. While it’s great to have the flexibility to take a client call from your couch, it can be harder to know when to turn work “off” since your laptop is always available! Creating a work day/workspace has always helped my productivity and efficiency while also providing space to recharge.
This is the One Thing That Allows Me to Thrive in Working Remotely: Working with teams that foster trust and a sense of community. Being on a remote team assumes a great deal of trust – a belief in one another’s ability to not only perform but to do so with significant autonomy. While I’m grateful for experiencing teams that make this kind of trust and community look easy, it’s something I certainly don’t take for granted.