Working Remotely: Why Your Business Should Consider the Practice

I was inspired by an article today by Daniel Threlfall to explain how remote workers can be a great thing for businesses. I believe there are some people that work better remotely and I am one of those people. I will explain why.

I work remotely for several people:

  • I am an associate at Moz on the community team.
  • I am the editor for AuthorityLabs.
  • I am the editor for the ISOOSI blog.
  • I write for Copypress.
  • I have clients.

I appreciate the ability to work for all these people from home and because of this appreciation I have a constant weight on me to provide quality work. Basically, I work my butt off for people because I appreciate the opportunity to use my skills in my own environment.

Motivation and Discipline

Working for home isn’t for everyone. Some people are just not disciplined enough to get work done and some people don’t want to go the extra mile. I was personally motivated to work at home because I have kids and I wanted to be at home. My Masters is in mental health…I should be off counseling people all day, right? Well, I did that for a year and half for my internship and practicum, but I had a baby about 2 months after graduation. I wanted to be home. #Motivation

The bottom line is that if you want to be valued and wanted as a remote worker you have to work really hard and go the extra mile. You need to be come valuable to those you work for, which requires hard work. #Discipline

Clinical Attention Deficit Issues

I have met so many people in the search industry that are completely honest about having ADD or ADHD. After both of my kids were diagnosed with ADD I discovered that they got it from me. I am a smart person. I don’t say a lot of nice things about myself, but I will say I am smart. However, put me in an office or an environment with people and I will be so completely distracted it is amazing and sad.

The TormentorI don’t work well in a typical office, however sitting here in a quite home with a 27 inch screen, a laptop and only a cat to torment me I work 100 times faster and better.

I do know my limitations though. I rarely write an article on my 27 inch desktop. I just can’t do it and I think it is because the screen is so big and I get distracted. I take my laptop, leave my desk and get comfortable and then I can write. I can crank out a 1,000 words in no time if I can write “my way”. This is not something I could do in an office (unless I worked for Google because they offer flexible working environments).

There are also times when I know I need to step away from things and regroup. Because I have some flexibility I can step back and regroup, which allows me to come back and perform better work. In an office people are stuck there and often distracted by people, phone calls, chit chat…when can they regroup?

Adults with ADD/ADHD are some of the best multi-taskers I have ever had the pleasure to observe. If they understand their limitations and know what they need to do to focus they can be extremely efficient remote workers (they have to want to be though).

Remote Workers Work Long Hours

I don’t work 9am-5pm and go home and have the rest of the night off. Most of the remote workers I know work longer hours than most because they have more time to work by eliminating the commute back and forth. Here is kind of how my days break down.

Moz

I begin checking things for Moz the second I wake up. Do they ask that of me? No. I just want to make sure all is well for Moz because I care about Moz, the Moz community and the people at Moz. I take about 50 minutes to drive my son to school and drive back and I am working for Moz by 8AM Eastern every morning. I don’t drive to work so that time is spent working. As of 12:30pm daily I am typically done with my Moz time, but if they need me I can stay on all day and I mean ALL day. See, Moz’s closing time is 5PM in Seattle, but that is 8PM for me. So, by working remotely I can work longer hours than most traditional office workers. I still check Moz email all day long and there is a lot of it.

I do want to say that the community team at Moz works in-house and at home; they work all the time and I am in awe of them.

Editing Duties

As an editor I spend a lot of time reaching out to writers, trying to get articles in, editing, planning, writing, scheduling, etc. Because I deal with writers from all over the world I can’t stop checking emails at 5PM my time. I check email until I go to bed and I respond when I hear from people. THIS is work, people. If you add all the extra time remote workers put into checking emails and working before/after hours you would be shocked at how much they actually work.

Writing

As a writer you spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to write, what you haven’t said, what people have already written (you don’t want to bore people) and actually writing. Writing takes so much more time than you would ever believe. I spend time on the weekends and nights for writing assignments.

Clients

They take time too. I don’t need to explain that though :)

Time Tracking

By tracking hours I have found that in the past year I have not worked less than 50 hours a week and there have been many weeks where I have worked 70-80 (but I get paid well to do so).

The Remote Workers I Know Kick Butt!

In the last 8 years I have worked with many “remote workers” and I have to tell you that the quality, and quantity, of work they do is outstanding and often awe inspiring.  I know a few that really shouldn’t be working from home, but they are truly the minority in this field. It would be a shame for businesses to ignore the possibility of remote workers because they have no experience with the practice.

So What I am Trying to Say…

Be open to the idea of remote workers. If your business has duties that need to be completed and they can be done by the right person remotely please don’t rule out the possibility just because you think remote workers are lazy or not efficient. There are some people that will provide you with better work from home than they could ever provide you in an office. <- Read that last sentence again please.

Again, I was inspired to write this because of this article, How to Make Remote Workers Work for Your Business. So check these tips out. Also, because I was inspired and focused, I wrote this article on my desktop in 45 minutes (while working on other things). See? :) I know when and how I can work best. Often bosses don’t know these things about their workers, so trust your employees to tell you how they will work best for you.

 

About Melissa Fach

AuthorityLabs Community Jedi - Melissa Fach is the owner of SEOAware, LLC that specializes in consulting and training businesses. She is also the Community Jedi at AuthorityLabs, an associate on the Community Team at Moz, a past Editor of Search Engine Journal and a big cat volunteer. You can find her on Twitter @SEOAware.

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4 Comments

Daniel Threlfall

This is one of the best posts I’ve read on remote work, because it cuts through the junk delusions about work-from-home dream jobs and proves that remote workers can and do kick butt.

“There are some people that will provide you with better work from home than they could ever provide you in an office.”

You nailed it, Melissa.

Jordana Astrologo

Great post! People always tell me they wish they worked from home. They don’t realize how much time we actually put in. Your description is spot on. I am much more productive without the phone ringing and people talking and walking around the office. My cat isn’t allowed in the room where I work though. He insists on siting on the keyboard.

ronell smith

Melissa,

Kept this article open in a Chrome tab ever since I first saw it. Knew it would be good, something I needed to read.

You echo my feelings entirely.

I resent offices, finding them largely inefficient and often lacking in structure conducive to getting work done. (Not to mention the politics.) When I worked for ESPN a few years ago, I felt guilty I was only getting about three hours of work done each day in our cubicle-filled workspace, until I learned those numbers were consistent with everyone else.

For most of the last three years, I’ve worked from home, and my productivity is through-the-roof by comparison. I’m now in an office four days a week, but I get a couple hours of work done each day outside the office, and the day I work from home is usually a 10- to 12-hour work day.

Companies are jumping all over themselves to claim the open-office moniker, when, in truth, it’s a cost-saving measure. If efficiency really is the goal companies must consider flexible schedules and create spaces for those times when work demands zero distractions.

RS

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