The Highs & Lows of being a remote worker
We are a unique organisation at Adopt & Embrace, as the majority of our team members work remotely. We currently have team members in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, New Zealand and Los Angeles. And whilst we sometimes work together in co-working spaces, we generally are working from wherever we are, whether that is in our homes or from our client sites.
This was not a new concept for me as I have generally travelled as part of my work. Not being with my immediate team on a day to day basis was not foreign. What is new, is the way we are still a connected team. I had never worked in an organisation previously that encourages and lives the values, ‘work from anywhere’.
How to make ‘work from anywhere’ work.
No 1 is trust
The trust that Paul (our Founder) puts in each of us to deliver the work we have been assigned is enormous. We all know that we can go to any other team member if we have any questions. We are trusted that we will just get the work done.
There is an old thought that just because you go to the office daily, that you must be working. Well, I have “worked” with many on a daily basis who have proven that just because you are ‘at’ work, doesn’t mean you are working.
I have seen the clock watchers glance at their wrist (watch or no watch. They indicate that someone is arriving “late” or leaving “early”. Consideration was rarely given to what had actually been produced in the day. The great bosses I have worked with, knew about swings and roundabouts – that some days you will do a 10-15 hr day and some days you will do 6hrs.
The working week
At Adopt & Embrace, we don’t have a set start or finish time. There is a general consensus that you will usually do a 40hr week – but there is no exact science to this. We focus on the outcomes. We have assigned scheduled work – so we know well in advance what the expectation is. We then get that work done.
There are times when I have needed to fly or drive to a remote site on a Sunday, so I can be with the client’s first thing Monday. This would be taken into consideration in my 40hr week. There are also times when I might need to fly home from a clients site and not get home till 11 pm. This is also considered as part of my week. And with that taken into consideration, when I need to take some time out, to catch up on life, on what for others would be a “work” day – it is not only “approved”, it is encouraged.
Now it takes a special type of manager to commit to this way of working – but trust and expectation setting is at the base. But it also goes both ways – We don’t take the mickey out of the trust that is placed in us. We work hard – but that is not just to make the boss happy but also to ensure our clients are getting the best from us and we are delivering on what we have promised.
No 2 is Communication
I would suggest that the second component of working remotely effectively is communication. And we communicate in many different ways. Despite where we physically may be, Office 365 provides the tools to keep us connected – and we rarely use email to do that. In fact, we have virtually eliminated internal email from our day to day working. We just use other tools.
Using Skype for Business
It would be a rare day where we are not using the video conferencing functionality within Skype for Business or Teams for our 1-1 catch-ups or team meetings. It is so great to be able to see team members face at the end of a challenging day, even if you are at a remote site. If we didn’t have this functionality, I may not see a team member for months.
Using Teams in Business
We use teams for all our project work, and with it’s integrated chat functionality, we can keep each other up to date on what is going on during an engagement, collaborate on documents or even ask questions that relate to a project – all in one space, that is not caught up in the noise of email.
Using Yammer in Business
For our wider organisation communications, we use Yammer. Working out loud is part of our day to day communication philosophy. We have a number of focused channels to provide the information we need. We manage our personal whereabouts and safety with a check-in channel. Where we can let the team know we have arrived safely at a site or discuss our week in the ‘What am I working on’ Channel.
I am often asked how do we keep up to date with the technology – well again, we help each other with that. If we come across an article or learn something new, we add it to the Today I learned, channel. This provides the opportunity for discussion or learning amongst our team.
So despite our physical remoteness, we are still a very connected team, knowing what each of us is working on, and more importantly how we can add value to the conversations that are going on around us.
No 3 is Flexibility
Another of our philosophies at Adopt & Embrace is “Work is a thing we do, not a place we go”. Using the tools that we have, we can work from anywhere, using whatever device is available to us at the time. I can check my emails, yammer and connect with others on my mobile device in a taxi or airport lounge, or sit in a café by the beach to write that report. As long as we have a Wi-Fi connection we can do anything. And even if we don’t like sitting on a plane to Perth for 5 hrs, we can work offline, knowing that as soon as we are connected to Wi-Fi again, everything will automatically sync.
Working from home
When I am not working on a client site, there is nothing better than working from my own home. I find that not having the distractions that an office brings, allows me to focus more easily. There is always plenty to do, but if I need to put on a load of washing or have a catch up with my beautiful grandsons, I know I have that flexibility. It provides me with the work-life balance that everyone has been talking about for years. We actually live it at Adopt and Embrace.
When remote working is done correctly
So the heading of my article is the highs and lows of remote working. And as you can see there are plenty of highs and I am pleased to say there are no lows. I love my job. I love working with this awesome team. I love working the way we do, giving me the flexibility and balance that I need in my life. I love the trust that is placed in me, and I work hard to keep that trust.
I love that we are a connected team, who help and support each other. I also love that I can work from anywhere, anytime on any device using the tools that are readily available to me. I have been to some amazing places in the time I have been with Adopt & Embrace, met some amazing people and been provided with some amazing opportunities to grow.
What more could a girl want?
Making Remote work, work!
Another insight as to how you can successfully make remote working a part of your organisation.