I'm going to embrace the struggle here and be dead honest about how this particular MarketHer blog was conceived and ultimately posted for your reading pleasure.
Last Friday night, Brie, Angela, and I jumped on Zoom to record this week's episode.
All seemed normal until it came time to actually talk. Each of us were winding down from a full week of work, family, dogs, and well, life. We were really struggling to be inspiring and insightful for you.
So, we decided, we just weren't going to be.
Instead, I volunteered to do a written episode about my recent move to my own office (you keen-eyed viewers may have noticed my background looked rather different!)
I've been working remotely for 3-4 years. It's 4-years if you count the ROWE (Results Oriented Work Environment) that I worked in for about a year.
Being able to work in a location that is not Wallingford, CT, where our headquarters is brings a lot of pretty obvious benefits:
My family and I can choose to live in a region with a different cost-of-living
As an employee, I have a lot of freedom in what my work space looks, sounds, smells (helllllo pumpkin crunch candles) like
My cost of employment is fairly low, no gas, no lunch out, etc.
But, pretty often those benefits overshadow some cons of being remote, cons that I found started to hinder my work/life balance, things like:
Never. Leaving. My. House. Ever.
My calls schedule started to dictate our family's schedule (since we had relocated to a much smaller house in our cross-country move)
I was struggling with separating what was home and what was work, because it was all the same
My new rooster wouldn't shut up (okay, that may not be a problem for you, but trust, it was for me!)
When the Pros Outweighed the Cons
Now, for anyone who follows us on MarketHer, you know that I am a mom of five.
For the majority of the last five years, we were also a homeschooling family. We live on an egg farm and well, life is very bountiful for us.
After having worked out of our home for nearly half of my career, at this point, I would have loved to share with you that I had it all figured out.
I would love to tell you I have the secret sauce to balancing a single home into a workplace, a school place, a home, a farm, and...list all the other things we use our home for.
But, the ugly truth is that I couldn't.
I also knew I was horrible at setting boundaries with work (yup, I work too much) and I felt guilty when I was home, but not working. Even though, I shouldn't have been.
Over the past year, I've learned that working remotely from our new home simply wasn't working. My personality mixed with a new set of demands on our humble home is not a good mix.
So, I decided to do something about it!
Remote Doesn't Have to Equal Home
Matt, my husband, spent weeks calling every real estate agent in our county trying to find me a small office space to work out of. It was no small feat - considering we live in a rural county with no such thing as a co-working space.
Luckily, all of those calls paid off and a few weeks ago, I became the proud owner of a 400-square foot office space in downtown Sturgis!
After a few false starts with reliable internet, I am now fully up and operational in my little space in the world. It's only been one week, but the mental space this has created for me has been noticeable!
Wake up every morning and DON'T feel like I need to grab my computer and get to work, instead I'm building a routine around taking my babies to school and DRIVING to my office
Have a space that is all my own (NO HOMEWORK ALLOWED HERE!)
The distractions of being home (looking at you Syrus the Rooster) are gone
I am leaving my computer at the office when I go home at night; signaling to my brain that work is done now. Go home. Be home. Be present.
Here is my new home-away-from-home!
The Remote Culture at IMPACT
Let me not glaze over the importance of being at a company like IMPACT that no only offers a remote-option, but fully supports it.
None of this serendipitous remote-life-is-the-best-life talk would be possible if we didn't evolve as a company to embrace the pros and sometimes the cons of having and being a remote employee.
Intrigued by my own journey from in-house employee (who worked too much) to remote-employee (who worked too much) to remote-not-in-her-own-home-employee (who is working on working too much), I reached out to my fellow IMPACT Remote-Controllers (yup - that is what we call ourselves,) to get a sense of their experiences working remotely and what that looks like for them.
Here are some of their responses:
Marc Amigone | Client Success Manager
"I work at a co-working space since I don't have a big enough house (condo) to accommodate a home office and I've found it's good to have a reason to leave the house and not wear sweatpants 24/7" - Marc
"I work at home because I love my space and my grueling 50-foot “commute.” It is relaxing and quiet, which allows me to focus. Plus puppies and kitties make amazing coworkers. Surprisingly, I don’t miss the office interaction, for the most part." - Liz
Jason Linde | PPC Specialist
"I love the option of working from home. I appreciate the opportunity to create my own work space that surrounds me with what inspires me. Yes, I am a kid!" - Jason
Stacy Willis |Principal Strategist
"I work from home because I love what I do and it isn’t always easy to maintain a military family lifestyle and hold a single job. Working remote means that I never have to give up what I love when/if my family has to relocate." -Stacy
Stephanie Casstevens | Director of Audience Engagement & Community
"I work in a co-working space for three reasons. First, my partner works at night and sleeps during the day so working from home can be challenging depending on her schedule. Second, to record the IMPACT show and be on all the video calls required of remote work - I need reliable internet which is better in the co-working space. Third, as director of audience engagement and community - I'm a people person. I love getting up in the morning and seeing people in the office every day that I get to say hello to and catch up with". -Stephanie