Monthly Archives: August 2016
It’s happening. One friend after another is remarking on how he or she “worked from home” yesterday or is going to be “working remotely” on Wednesdays this summer. They claim they get so much done, and it’s a great way to mix up the office routine. Making calls is easier and so is zoning out on tasks that require a ton of focus and not a lot of distraction. Suddenly you wonder why you’re not doing this on occasion or even regularly. Wouldn’t your boss be all for it if she knew how much you’d accomplish? How insanely productive you’d be?
But how can you convince someone who thinks this is a foreign concept, best left for contract employees who don’t actually live in the same state as the company? It may not be easy, but with a little finesse and a proven track record, you can make it happen.
Depending on the type of person you’re dealing with and what his or her hesitations are, here are four ways to approach the often tricky subject.
If Your Boss Really, Really Likes Face-Time
You have your twice-weekly one-on-ones, and aside from that, your boss prefers striking up a face-to-face conversation to chatting over Slack or on Gchat. He even ignores your headphones when he’s got something to ask you. He values in-office time above all else, liking all team members present when they’re on the office clock. Working remotely isn’t something he cares to do, and so he can’t understand why you’d want to do it either. This type of manager is going to take some convincing, but it’s not a lost cause.
Because he likes in-person communication best, avoid emailing your request and instead initiate a face-to-face discussion. Say, “I wanted to run something by you. I wanted to see if you’d mind if I worked from home on occasion. Maybe every other Thursday to start and then if that goes well, on a weekly basis? I really value our chats about work projects throughout the day the day, so I’d make sure I’m still completely available—email, chat, phone. Let me know how that sounds and if we can test it out.”
By stating your availability and flexibility (starting out slow and then establishing a regular pattern once he sees how well it’s working out), you address his desire to get in touch with you at random and not just over email. It’s unlikely that he’ll start calling you every hour of every day that you work remotely, but giving him the options to get in touch however he prefers should at least put his mind at ease.
If Your Boss Is Suspicious
True story: I once had a colleague (not my boss, fortunately) who bluntly told me that she wouldn’t allow her reports to work from home because she didn’t “trust them.” She didn’t think they’d actually work. I shook my head and tried to convince her otherwise; they were adults, after all. Whatever assignments they had to complete, they’d get done—or face the consequences. How could she not realize this?
Unfortunately, I know she’s not the only person to harbor suspicions about what her employees might do should they be given a little freedom every now and again. If this sounds like your boss, you’re probably going to have to be explicit about what you intend to do while you’re at home. Assume that there’ll be lots of regrouping on the subject if it goes into effect. Send an email along these lines:
Hi [Name of Boss],
In the past when the subject of working for home has come up, I know you’ve expressed doubts about it working for your team. I want to do what I can to show you that working from home on occasion would actually enable me to be quite productive, in some ways, more so than being in the office. It’s not something I’d want to do often—I genuinely enjoy being in house—but it is an option that I’d like to take advantage of sometimes.
Work in your PJs, avoid the commute, answer emails from a hammock while sipping a pineapple daiquiri—you’ve heard the common benefits of working remotely (and yes, they’re true!). But there are some things that might surprise you about what it’s like when you don’t have to go into the office every day.
Take a look at these 10 ways your life can be different when you work remotely, then go out and get that great remote job you’ve dreaming of!
1. Your Office Can Be Any Kind
You’ll probably work from home if you work remotely. But that doesn’t mean you have to have fill a corner of your living room with a clunky desk, a huge monitor, and an ugly rolling chair. You can fit your office wherever it fits in your life. I’ve heard about a remote worker who uses her kitchen breakfast bar as a standing desk (all those health benefits with no investment!) and one who converted part of her bedroom closet into a “hidden” office so she can just shut her work away at the end of the day.
2. Your Office Can Be Anywhere—and I Mean Anywhere!
And you’re not tied to your home, either. That doesn’t mean your only other location will be the coffee shop around the corner: You can take care of your job while traveling (passengers only if you’re in the car, please!), enjoying the great outdoors (thanks to long laptop battery life and tethering to your phone), or even listening to your favorite band at a live concert (a tested and true location of a remote customer service manager I know who’s a die-hard country music fan).
3. You’ll Save Money
Of course you’ll see an immediate difference in your bank account when you don’t need to bear the costs of commuting. But you’ll also find savings in other areas. You won’t have to force yourself into a suit and polished shoes anymore if that’s not your style—no more separate wardrobes for work and for the rest of your life! And you can also save on food costs since you’ll easily be able to whip up your own lunch and coffee if you work from home.
4. Your Schedule Can Be Your Own
A lot of the work that can be done remotely nowadays can also be done on a flexible schedule. For example, if you’re a web developer or a content creator, you can most likely do your coding or writing whenever it suits you as long as you meet your deadlines. So, night owls, rejoice! You can still put in your eight hours without starting at 8 AM.
If you do need to work specific hours, you’re sure to still have some break time—time you can use however you’d like! Even if you have just 10 minutes, you can do something that just wouldn’t be possible in a traditional office: bust those samba moves, play a few tunes on your guitar, or take a refreshing power nap. You’re guaranteed to come back feeling more refreshed than you would after 10 minutes at your desk surfing Facebook.
5. You Can Learn More and Become More Independent
Because you don’t have colleagues just a few feet away or a tech team one floor down, you’ll find yourself developing the skill of looking for your own answers and becoming more proactive to find what you need on your own. Of course you can still ask questions and get help if you need to. But, a lot of the time, you can do a Google search, download a free guide, or check out your company’s wiki to find the answer yourself just as quickly.
And you’ll also end up with some skills simply because you need them to work well remotely. For example, you’ll probably notice that you’re writing more clear and concise emails and being more sensitive to your team’s different schedules out of necessity once you’ve worked remotely for a while. Not bad things to be good at!
The 9-to-5 workday is losing its appeal, and it’s not difficult to imagine why. Night owls are rarely fully awake before 11 AM, and expecting a morning person to perform at 100% productivity in 4 PM meetings is just unrealistic.
Thankfully, more and more companies see the merits of offering flex work hours to keep employees healthy and happy. Need proof? Today, we bring you a series of jobs that let you make your own schedule.
1. Data Engineer
Launched in 2013, indico is a powerful, comprehensive, and developer-friendly platform for building text and image machine learning software. The company’s on a mission to demystify data science and share the magic of machine learning. indico is currently looking for a scrappy developer who is comfortable with data preprocessing, data normalization, and data collection. indico gives its employees the freedom and flexibility to set their own individual work schedules, aiming to incorporate as many types of workers as possible.
Dedicated to designing made-to-measure menswear with a personal touch, Trumaker seeks to combine tradition with technology. The company is seeking Outfitters to work directly with customers to deliver the best in menswear. This job is perfect for fashion-savvy salespeople, style consultants, budding entrepreneurs, customer service fanatics, and “do-gooders.” Dividing their time between in-office meetings, customer visits, and work-from-home hours, Trumaker’s Outfitters are self-motivated and autonomous.
Three Day Rule is helping people find love every day. The TDR team is made up of world-class matchmakers and dating experts who act as personal dating concierges—hand-selecting, vetting, and personally meeting every potential match before making formal introductions. While being a Matchmaker is definitely a full time job, you’ll hardly spend any of it in the office; Matchmakers spend their days hopping from coffee dates to events to meet new people, so you’ll get flexibility to decide when and where you work.
4. Health Care Executive Recruiter
A nationwide HR services and talent acquisition firm, Ascend’s top-notch team specializes in recruitment process outsourcing. The company’s Health Care division is looking for someone with three to five years of progressive recruiting experience and strong verbal, written, and interpersonal communication abilities. Benefits range from video conferencing software to a flexible schedule.
5. Part-Time Marketing and Communications Associate
HighTower is a financial services company that helps support leading financial advisory practices. If you’re a college student or recent graduate with working knowledge across social media platforms and experience with email marketing tools, then check out the Part-Time Marketing and Communications Associate opening. This position supports planning and execution of marketing activities, client events, and client communications. You’ll be expected to work 10 to 20 hours a week—but you’ll get to do it on your own time.
Let’s take a quick poll: Would you rather have unlimited time off, work from wherever policies, and no set office hours or be expected to be at the office at 9 AM sharp every morning and sit tight at your desk all day?
I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most of you chose the first option, with a dreamy, wouldn’t-that-be-nice sigh.
But at many companies, those sorts of flexible work policies aren’t just an as-if dream—they’re an integrated part of the company culture. These employers understand that you’re a human being who has your own work preferences and your own life outside of the office that sometimes needs a little extra attention, and they give you the ability to do your work in the way that works best for your life.
So without further ado, check out 10 companies with amazing flex work options. (Oh, and they’re all looking for talented people—like you!—to join their teams.)
CaseNEX, a leader in the EdTech field, supports out-of-the-box thinking and creative solutions. So naturally, the company offers its employees lots of freedom in choosing how they get things done.
There are two offices (both in Pennsylvania), but CaseNEX team members work remotely from around the nation.
“There is a vibrancy and a ‘can do’ attitude that defines us as a company, and this is at the heart of our success,” says Mercedes Cordero, PhD, Vice President of Professional Development.
Working at LivingSocial, an online marketplace offering local deals, means being employed by people who truly care about your well-being.
That translates into multiple work style choices. The team can work flexible hours in the office and take opportunities to work from home, all while staying connected to team members and the company.
For example, Engineering Director Jessie Link has always appreciated the ability to travel, and LivingSocial’s paid time off and remote working policies allow her to control her own destiny—and vacations. In her favorite example of this, she went to Hawaii for a couple weeks while simultaneously managing her team and their projects.
To buy an awesome pair of glasses from software start-up Ditto, you don’t even have to get out of bed—the company has invented an innovative way to try eyeglasses on virtually.
The virtual theme continues with Ditto’s extremely generous paid-time-off and work-from-home policies. Basically, as long as team members are getting their jobs done, they can take the time they need, work the schedule that works best for them, or work from where they need.