Working Remotely

About 6 months ago I posted about remote work. There are more and more jobs available where you can work from home some, or all the time. But, before you apply for those, I encourage you to take a hard look in the mirror.

Remote work is not for everyone. A few months ago, I facilitated two workshops on how to manage remote workers. One of the things that I learned from developing those workshops was that being a successful remote worker is a two-way street. Yes, there are things the organization and your manager need to do to help you be successful. But there are also some things you need to do as well.

Working remotely requires discipline. You must be able to avoid the distractions that live in your home, like dirty dishes, laundry, the television, food in the kitchen, mowing the lawn, your children, and the list goes on and on. An advantage of going to the office is you typically leave your house and go someplace else – ON TIME – and you leave those distractions at home. When you work remotely, you really just need to roll out of bed and walk 10-50 steps to where you work, and you bring all of those distractions with you. To be successful, you need to be able to clearly separate “at work” from “at home,” even when “at work” may still be in the corner of your bedroom.

Secondly, you need a place to work, not just sitting on the couch or lying on your bed with your laptop on your lap. That can work for an hour or so, but you can’t do that 40-hours a week. The kitchen table is better, if you are home alone, but distracting otherwise, and you have to put everything away every night. Really, you need a desk or table, a good quality chair, good lighting, and as much quiet as possible. Stable high-speed internet access is a must. While you may not need a “home office” if you can make that happen it really helps.

Finally, at least for today, you need the full support of the people you live with. Again, “at work” need to mean “at work.” You will be challenged to work from home if you are also caring for your kids, spouse, parents, etc. The research shows that it can take over an hour to fully recover your productivity after a distraction. If you hear “Mom, …” every 30 minutes, you’ll struggle to get your work done.

A significant part of the post-pandemic workplace is remote work, but before you raise your hand to work from home, make sure you’re really ready and able to be successful. If you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help

Working Remotely?

Recently I was reading a magazine article and was blown away by concept.  I live in the Greater Kansas City Missouri area.  Located in the Midwest, our labor market has been shielded from much of the craziness that seems to happen on both coasts. Our cost of living and cost of labor are much lower.  From an HR perspective, this is good news.

Then, the pandemic happened, and everyone learned that they could work from home and be just as productive.  Unfortunately (at least for me) organizations learned that they no longer have to hire staff in their geographic area. Now we have companies located on the coasts who are recruiting in my lower-wage labor market for employees who want to work remotely. These companies are able to offer higher salaries (because their cost structure is based on a different labor market) along with the ability to work from home, while you continue to enjoy our lower cost of living. Yikes!

Okay, as a Midwest employer this is bad for me, but this is great for you, the job seeker, wherever you are.  While you are looking for jobs in your area, also spend some time looking for jobs in your chosen field, but with firms located in higher cost of living areas like Chicago, New York, California, Washington D.C., etc. who are offering remote work. In job-search engines, use “remote” as a keyword.  As a test, I looked on and searched “Human Resources Remote” for Chicago and got 179 hits.  For New York I got 367!

Remote work is not for everyone. You need a higher level of focus and discipline.  You need to have a place where you can work, be organized, and have good internet access.  But, if you are able and interested, the pandemic just opened a new door to your job search. Don’t be afraid to walk through it – after you get vaccinated.

If you find that opportunity and need help with your resume or interviewing, this might help,