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Working For A Fully Remote Company: PJ’s & Bon-Bon Time (not quite)

By: Lisa Crawford

Let me start by saying that this has been my first-ever remote job, and prior to accepting this offer at Cosmick Technologies, I had my concerns and doubts. To be clear, a majority (if not all) of those troubling thoughts tossing about in my head had to do with me being a “good employee” that would be of value to this company. I mean, how will I manage these tasks or this team if I can’t see anyone? How do you expect me to hire someone if I can’t do a face-to-face interview? How is change implemented and documented? I had more questions than I did answers going into this, but I just knew it was the right path for me.

If you’re considering making a change to remote work, I hope you find this post helpful and hopefully you get a chuckle here and there about my perspective.

The Switch From Office Life To A Fully Remote Position:
Cosmick Technologies is fully remote! There are no offices; everyone works from home. We have team members spread throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, North Carolina, as well as Pakistan and India. Obviously, we’re all on different time zones, this can have its drawbacks, but also its advantages. When we’re working on projects with strict deadlines, (that’s an everyday occurrence around here) those different time zones work to our advantage. Scheduling conference calls between different time zones with the customer and the team require a little more planning and attention to detail.

Rolling out of bed at 6:55 am, opening my laptop and checking emails in my PJ’s. This can’t be a legit workday, can it? I was getting a little too comfortable in my sleep attire and figured I better put some actual clothing on for my own sanity.

No commute to the office, no lunch to prepare, no more shopping for office attire, or worrying about driving in bad weather. Huuummmmm, the decisions were getting a little tough at this point though, I had to decide each day if I wanted to work inside from my office or outdoors on the deck….LOL

Do Communication and Productivity Suffer?
I have to say that one of the biggest surprises I found about working remote was the collaboration between the team.

Our team uses Slack throughout the day for communication. We have a main team channel, project channels and individual channels where we communicate throughout the day. When someone leaves for lunch, takes a break, has an appointment, or running late, we let each other know. Because we aren’t all sitting in the same building, or even in the same country (for some of us), we are very clear and precise in our communication.

Before starting this job I had myself convinced that implementing new policies and procedures along with hiring new staff was going to be an HR nightmare. How is communication going to happen here? I look back now and see that those were the thoughts of a closed-minded person. There are companies where this is all they do, they hire people and manage payroll for businesses without ever seeing that employee.

When your willing to open your eyes, learn new techniques and develop your own processes nothing is impossible, in fact, things work great!

I’m not gonna sugarcoat the facts here. Working remote takes a certain maturity level, personality, and mindset, it’s not for everyone. It’s very easy to get distracted and lose sight of your work which in turn hinders your productivity.

I find it very helpful to use my Google Calendar for all appointments and also to set up reminders. Because we have more than one calendar to maintain, we use SyncGene to ensure all appointments, vacations and free/busy time is the same on each.

Working Remote = Less Workload?!?
Let me answer this question for you in one simple word, NO! Working remote has had me on my toes more than I have been in the last several years.

Putting aside the fact that my job responsibilities have changed, you need to be more alert and work harder on communication, presentation, and delivery to your team and to the customers. Simply walking over to someone to give them an update is not an option. Documentation is a constant and necessary evil to make sure everyone is getting the same message.

Looking To Work Remote – Advice / Warnings
Ask lots of questions before you say yes to just any remote position. If the company is not organized, things can become frustrating very quickly. Remember, you’re not in an office setting, and resolution to concerns may not be as expedited as you were accustomed to.
Break down obstacles and celebrate those wins – it boosts morale and keeps everyone moving in the right direction.
Make sure you stay active, get out in public. Working from home can be very isolating.
It’s very easy to lose track of time sitting at home in front of a computer. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your hours and what’s expected of you.
Remote work tends to carry over into your personal life because it’s 100% digital, and we all live with our phones in our pockets.

Did I Make The Right Decision Working For A Fully Remote Company?
Look, I admit, in the beginning, I was like “what the h*ll did you just do”? It took me a few months to adjust to remote life, but I found that for me, the pros outweigh the cons.

I have the flexibility to adapt to major life changes. I’m not missing major family events and I’m able to travel with my husband for his job. My office view is always changing, and these remote views never get old:

Enjoying remote work life from my deck, admiring the seals in La Jolla, California, the beaches in San Diego, from a resort in San Juan, or watching my husband continue his flying lessons. WORKS FOR ME!!

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