1. How did you started working remotely? How did you make the switch?:
The transition to working remotely coincided with the start of the pandemic. However, while the remote work environment was temporary at my last agency, the switch to full-time remote work became possible with PathIQ, a division of Vision7 International. While other sister agencies have offices in New York, Toronto, and Montreal, our agency is the first remote-focused company.
2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?:
From an operations perspective, I think the best aspect of remote work is being able to work with the best talent regardless of location. With the way software has evolved, communication tools and productivity software allow everyone to collaborate on the same project without missing a beat, sometimes at a more productive pace than being huddled around a desk in an office.
On a personal level, it’s removing the stress of daily transit and all other extenuating factors. Being able to control your workspace and cut all the time wasted from public transport/driving to and from work gives you more time to invest in yourself.
3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?:
Not all home office setups are the same. I do think there are some drawbacks for people that may not find it easy to be productive in the same environment where they want to relax. I know my own perspective on this shifted once my fianceé and I moved into our new home. With more open space and the ability to carve out an office, I have the ability to disconnect from my workspace. For most people, this isn’t an option, especially if you’re in a smaller apartment (previous situation).
4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favorite ones?:
Just Canada – would love to be able to travel in the future and work permanently in a new location.
5. From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, coworking spaces, coffee shops, or others? Do you have any specific place?:
For the most part, I’ve invested in my home office setup as a means to (1) become more productive and (2) force myself to create more content as I start to market my personal brand. I do enjoy being able to work in coffee shops, so that will be an option once pandemic restrictions loosen.
6. What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?:
Multiple countries in Europe (Germany, Italy, England), as well as Thailand. Australia is also on the wishlist.
7. What advice would you give to overcome the main challenges of working remotely? Share your remote productivity, communication, management, etc. tips based on your experience!:
You need to be able to separate work from personal in your home office environment. I think the biggest challenge working remotely is that there’s always the opportunity to get back online and tackle a couple of extra tasks. It’s important to be able to disconnect and recharge, or else you’re going to see your performance and desire to work suffer.
Communication is also extremely important. If you’re communicating upwards to team leaders, make sure you’re in constant communication via chat/email to make sure you’re aligned on core responsibilities and tasks. If you’re managing a team, communication becomes increasingly more important as you need to monitor productivity to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
8. What tools do you use and are your favorites to work remotely?:
- Asana –> project management. Asana has been my go-to for agencies, as it allows you to build projects with internal members & freelancers.
- Slack –> communication.
- Google Docs/Sheets –> working on documents in a live environment makes it easy for everyone to access information on the fly, especially if you set up an organized shared drive.
9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?:
All of this is managed with our company in a typical fashion – we have a central Canadian office where shared services are coordinated.
As for my personal consulting business, I make sure to keep copies of all invoices and reserve funds to remit taxes at the end of the year.
10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?:
For companies, I think NOW is the best time to make the switch. There’s an inordinate amount of talent residing in smaller cities eager to take on new challenges and make an impact. Additionally, the productivity and operations tools available make the switch to remote work a seamless transition. I’ve built internal project management processes & internal systems for agencies in both environments, and there’s absolutely no difference in either setup.
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