This is Part 2 of my article about Remote Working in Buena Vista. In Part 1 I discussed some of my personal experiences, which led us to the town of Buena Vista and the South Main neighborhood. In this article I wanted to focus on what makes remote working/telecommuting (I will use these interchangeably) successful and also include links to additional information and resources.
I was excited to see the discussions started in response to my first article on telecommuting – from the blog comments, to Facebook, e-mail and also several phone calls. It is clearly something many professionals are interested in regardless if they’ve been doing it 10 years or are just getting started. It was nice to meet people that are in similar situations and are asking questions about using telecommuting as a means to live in a place that they love. Given the growth and maturity of telecommuting, it is inevitable that more and more people will seek this freedom.
One theme that came up in multiple conversations on this topic was around knowing the right time and situation to actually make a move (such as moving to a smaller town with fewer jobs). Not surprisingly the employer and the job role itself need to be supportive of a remote working situation. Technology companies seem to be ahead of the curve on supporting a remote workforce. I work for IBM and at least half of the workforce telecommutes. This is true for many other technology companies, but I don’t see this limited to the IT industry. Distributors, artists, writers, brokers, lawyers, financial analysts, accountants, teachers and professors, researchers and consultants are just a few examples of professions that align well to a remote work environment.
Here are a few tips for creating a successful remote working environment:
- Decide if telecommuting is right for you. Though this sounds obvious, telecommuting is not for everyone. This article does a good job outlining the Characteristics of Successful Telecommuters
- If not already working remote, give it a test run. In my situation I worked remotely part-time for several years prior to doing it full-time. This progression allowed me to gain valuable experience.
- Build up trust with your employer. Put the time in to prove yourself and gain that mutual trust with your management and peers. Once trust and a track record are established, here are some ideas on How to Negotiate a Remote Work Arrangement
- Technology is critical. Make sure you have access to reliable high speed Internet, phone service and software that enables screen sharing and video conferencing. I use cell service as a backup to VOIP in case Internet access is down. Many larger companies will use proprietary applications while smaller ones may use applications such as Skype, FaceTime, and Yugma.
- Setup a defined and quiet workspace. It is important to have a space free from distraction. This also helps separate work time from personal time.
- Establish a schedule so that work time doesn’t constantly spill over into personal time and vice versa.
- Network with other telecommuters. Social connection is very important which is why coworking (shared working environment) has become popular. Meeting at coffee shops is a common practice. If you are in a small town that doesn’t yet have a large community of telecommuters, get involved with the community in other ways.
- Become familiar with resources and tools available for telecommuters. One great site that I’ve discovered is called Elance, which brings employers and employees together. They also have some great articles and resources available.
- Learn about companies that support telecommuting. It may surprise you how many big name companies support telecommuting. Kim Luedke, who reached out to me after my first post, shared this interesting article – Best Bet Work From Home Employers
- Remote Working in Buena Vista- Part 1
- Buena Vista Seeks New Planner
- A Beautiful July 4th in Buena Vista
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