Remote since 2015
I started working remotely (for Buffer) in the fall of 2015 (about 3 years ago). However, the year before that I was working for myself, so I had some experience working from home and setting my own schedule!
In my career prior to joining the Buffer team, I had one traditional office role and one less traditional one! I started my career working for an education non-profit in a communications role — a usual office job. Then, I transitioned into the startup world and had a really cool opportunity running operations, managing membership, organizing events and building a community at a coworking space for tech startups. It was a great introduction to how work could be energizing and lively, and how a creative work environment could break the stereotype of a “stuffy” office.
I’m part of the team at Buffer, a fully global and distributed team (with no office anywhere in the world). As the Community Programs Manager, I run operations for all of our community programs, including our Slack community, Community Hosts leadership program, Ambassador program, and online events. All of these programs support our community of social media marketers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others all over the world.
I was very lucky to start my remote work journey on the Buffer team, a group of folks who had been building a fully remote team for a few years before I came on board. Working remotely has been a core part of our company culture since the very beginning, so it’s important to us that all new teammates learn healthy work practices and remote work skills as they get onboarded to the team. I received a lot of support and encouragement from my fellow remote teammates as I learned the value of taking breaks throughout my day, communicating clearly through the written word, being transparent about my work, not overworking, and other remote work skills.
I do think it was helpful that I had spent some time working for myself, so I had a sense of what it would be like to set my own hours and self-motivate throughout the week. For anyone that's interested in transitioning into remote work, even if you're not able to work remotely for your current job, I recommend you take some time to reflect on your personal work style and how it would fit into a remote work lifestyle. Not only will this be helpful for yourself, it will also be helpful in interviews to show you've thought about what the transition would be like!
This one definitely changes a lot! In the morning, I try to start my day with a few minutes of meditation and yoga, take my dog for a walk in our neighborhood, and come home to cook/prepare breakfast (which I do every day!). I aim to start working around 8:30 or 9 am, and then I usually end up working a standard “8:30-5:30” sort of day — though I do often let my day be flexible.
I’ve found it to be really beneficial to my energy and productivity to change up my environment throughout the week. I aim to spend at least one day a week in my coworking space, and I split the rest of my time between coffee shops and my home office. Since all of my work is on a laptop (all meetings, chats with teammates and the work itself exist online!), it’s incredibly important for me to take screen breaks throughout my day -- getting outside, taking a walk, reading a book, seeing a friend for coffee or lunch, etc.
I’ve also found it to be helpful to schedule “hard stops” to the end of my work day. This usually takes the form of a yoga or dance class, meeting up with a friend to rock climb, cooking dinner with my partner or taking my dog for a long walk.
I love that it feels like I can live my life during the work week, instead of waiting for the weekends. Without a huge commute each day, I have more time to spend with my partner in the morning, cooking breakfast, and taking my dog for a walk. In the middle of a work day, I can head to a park, or meet up with a friend for coffee, or even stop by a food market to pick up some fresh vegetables for dinner. I can enjoy spending time in my house during the day while the sun is streaming in. I can work from my parent’s house and visit with them throughout the day. If I want to visit friends or family in a totally different part of the world, I can do so and not fall behind on work. All this to say -- I feel like I’m living a full life by working remotely, instead of compartmentalised one.
I’ll be starting an 8-month yoga teacher training in September, and I’m incredibly excited to dive in, deepen my understanding of the practice, and build teaching skills.
To take control of your work life, make sure you’re in tune with yourself! Understand how you work the best, when you have the most energy during your day, what re-energizes you, the circumstances in which you can get into deep and focused work, what distracts you, what environments inspire you, your comfort level with noise, whether you need to be around people or work alone… When you truly take the time to understand yourself, you can set up your work life to be the most enjoyable and productive and fulfilling for you. This is incredibly helpful as a remote worker, but I think it makes sense for anyone, in any office or work situation. No one else can tell you how you need to work — experiment until you find what fits for you.
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