Why Working Remotely is Awesome
Here at FormAssembly, our entire team is able to work remotely if they choose. While our physical office is located in Indiana, our staff lives anywhere from California to New Hampshire in the United States, and in countries including Canada, Australia, Luxembourg, and Peru. So far, it’s been an adventure.
We really love being able to work from anywhere in the world, so we’ve put together some reasons why working remotely rocks.
Say goodbye to commuting
When working from home, you don’t have to worry about traffic or long commutes. That’s right: No more bumper-to-bumper traffic or super-late dinners.
According to studies, the average telecommuter saves a whopping $2,000 — $7,000 per year.
Not bad, right?
Want to work from a coffee shop? How about taking the computer outside on a beautiful day? No problem.
Even if you prefer being in an office most of the week, you may want to break up your routine every once in a while — and what better way than by working from another location?
Some people thrive in a traditional office environment, while others excel working from home. With the option to work remotely, you’re free to choose how you work best. And that feels psychologically good.
FormAssembly’s Director of Business Development, Jaret, works in this basement space (AKA the “startup dungeon”). This picture was taken just after moving.
If your company is ready to try remote work, there’s no reason you should have to limit yourself to local candidates.
After all, you never know — the perfect addition to your team may be several states away. It’d be a shame if you missed out on an amazing candidate because they didn’t live nearby.
Or take this scenario: Say a great employee has to move out-of-state unexpectedly due to family circumstances. But rather than let go of a top-notch employee whom you’ve invested in, you could always keep them on board by letting them work from another state.
At our company, we hire all over the world and have team members in countries like Canada and Australia. Many of them found our job listings on websites like Hacker News — and we’re so glad they did.
Our remote stack
For a successful remote work environment, your team has to be 100% committed.
Even if just a few employees work from home, everyone in the company should be on the same page.
Here are the tools we use to get the job done, no matter where we are:
- Flowdock: We use Flowdock to chat and keep each other up-to-date. We have a “flow” for each department, and a main room for general discussions that apply to everyone. It’s our solution for in-office chats, and a great way to ping someone if you have an urgent question or comment.
- Basecamp: A great tool for project management and team collaboration.
- Box: To efficiently share and manage files.
- Google Hangouts: Perfect for video meetings and screensharing.
- Google Apps: To create, edit, and manage documents.
- Salesforce: To assist in automating the sales process.
- Cirrus Insight: Salesforce + Gmail integration.
- Gitlab & Redmine: To track development.
- Email: Because you can’t deny the power of a good old-fashioned email. If it’s urgent, chat is better. If it can wait, go with email.
Exercise (easier said than done)
It’s easy to forget about physical activity when working from home. You sign on, get lost in your work, and all of a sudden the day is over before you know it.
And let’s face it: It’s pretty convenient to let a workout slip your mind. Most of the time (or at least in the moment) it doesn’t sound very appealing.
But going for a walk increases blood flow, which is said to increase creativity. So, if you’re feeling dull or uninspired, it might be time for a quick walk.
It’s also worth mentioning that working remotely isn’t a dream come true for everyone. If you have trouble maintaining focus, it may not be the best environment for you.
Hillary, our Director of Customer Success, working from home (9 months pregnant)
People who thrive and really, truly excel in remote environments are natural self-starters and excellent communicators. On top of this, it’s important that they are comfortable being alone for extended periods of time.
Working from home doesn’t mean you can slack off and call your BFF. Work is work, no matter where you are.
Your friends will think they know what your job is like. Trust me: their vision of what you do all day will be VERY inaccurate. They think it’s one big pajama party. (Alright, there may be some truth to the “pajama” part.) But many people forget that working from home takes a tremendous amount of self-control, accountability, and drive.
For this reason, it’s important to set clear boundaries with your friends and family so that they know your work hours are set in stone.
Some people feel disconnected when they’re not in an office everyday.
If you’re feeling isolated, it could be a sign that you need to get out of the house. Pronto.
Location still matters
Environment can make a big difference, too — and the virtual workplace is no exception.
You have to take into account factors like internet speed, quality of life, and more. Make sure you are comfortable where you live, because you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Nomad List, a community for digital nomads, has a complete breakdown of the best cities to work online.
With the rise of flex work options, more and more companies are giving it a spin.
And this means that there’s ALWAYS something new to learn.
Here are some great articles that have been written by companies with distributed teams:
- The Pros & Cons of Being a Remote Team (Alex Turnbull/Groove)
- What Remote Working Means & The Tools We Use at Buffer (Courtney Seiter/Buffer)
- The Challenge of Remote Working (Adii Pienaar/WooThemes, currently @ Receiptful)
- How to Manage a Remote Team (Wade Foster/Zapier)
- Managing Remote Teams: Top 4 Tips for Success (Jana Rhyu/LoopUp)
- 50 Resources to Help You Optimize Your Startup for Remote Working (Founders Grid)
- Part 1: How We Make Remote Work *Work* (John Wood/UrbanBound)
- Part 2: How We Make Remote Work *Work* (John Wood/UrbanBound)
And if you haven’t already, check out the book REMOTE: Office Not Requiredby 37signals.
All in all, we think being able to work remotely is pretty awesome. While it’s not for everyone, it works for us and opens up many new opportunities — and we think that’s pretty cool.
Like what you’re seeing? Follow our brand new publication, Off the Assembly Line, for more inspiration and best practices on remote work, productivity and company culture from our team of digital nomads.