The Recruiterbox team is distributed throughout the globe. Everyone on our U.S.-based team is a remote worker. I’m one of two employees in a hybrid role combining sales and support. Even though I live right outside Chicago, my efforts are concentrated in the Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia). Though I have been with the company for only a few months, I’ve gotten to chat with a lot of cool people. Some of these folks work at UN Agencies, the Government of Australia, software startups in Germany, recruitment firms in the UK, boutique agencies in South Africa and schools in Vietnam. I’ve also been able to talk with customers from even bigger-name organizations like The Onion, Zomato, and housing.com. As you can see, being remote doesn’t mean I’m lacking for human interaction.
I’ve only had two other employers that allowed remote working, Groupon and a non-profit called Open The Books, a project of American Transparency. I occasionally worked remotely at Groupon but I really got a feel for it at American Transparency, where our main tasks involved sifting through Excel spreadsheets for data analysis. I noticed my productivity was so much higher when I was able to take my dog for a run in the middle of the day. I found I churned out more work than ever when I managed my own deadlines. After leaving Groupon I weaned myself off of Keurig K-Cups and started brewing my own cardamom tea with raw honey.
I used to be an English teacher at public schools in the Republic of Georgia and summer camps in Italy. I’ve also studied abroad in Central America and Europe. What can I say? I love to travel. But after starting full-time work several years ago, I didn’t have as many opportunities to do so. However, in my four months at Recruiterbox, I’ve had a chance to explore Napa Valley, San Francisco and Yosemite National Park; the Upper Peninsula and central Michigan; Milwaukee; and Las Vegas. I even spent a couple weeks at my college town in Champaign-Urbana. Next, I plan to work in India for several months.
Given the increased productivity, flexibility and opportunity to travel working remotely affords me, you might say I’m an evangelist for remote work. I’m actually not so sure about it. Despite its many pros, working remotely isn’t exactly a bed of roses. The abundance of distractions are the primary reason employers shouldn’t transition into a remote workforce en masse. There are passive distractions like the latest TV shows, enthralling books, and delicious food in the fridge. There are also active distractions such as when friends come over, or when your dog wants to go for a walk. It’s fairly easy to overcome these challenges, though, because the whole concept of remote work spurs greater self-awareness and shows how you can optimize your environment.
Beyond personal distractions, working remotely could also be challenging for certain types of companies. At Recruiterbox, like many other software companies, we’re always on Slack (literally always, I have no idea what we would do without it). But I can see how companies that are not as immersed in the world of technology could experience lower productivity without immediate access to the people needed to complete projects. I have two or three daily video calls with everyone else on my team. We bounce ideas off each other and check in with our CEO, Raj, on to make sure that we build our own unique processes to keep us on our A-game.
So what does it take to be a remote worker? Well, it goes without saying that you need to be loyal to your company and invested in its mission. It’s important to be able to communicate expectations. And the ability to manage deadlines is essential. Basically, if you’re built to be a project manager with military-like diligence, consider yourself to be a self-motivated peak performer, and have access to a great internet connection, you’re likely a good candidate for remote work.
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