Interview with Jonathan Jones

Jonathan JonesJonathan Jones is an SEO & Business Intelligence specialist who works remotely at Forbes as SEO Director. You can find him in twitter, LinkedIn, or his website.  

1. How do you start working remotely? 

I only recently started working remotely after a 5 year stint at a FTSE 250 price comparison website called MoneySuperMarket in the UK. I switched to Forbes as I was approached last year for a job there, with full knowledge that the job would be 100% remote. 

2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?

There is complete freedom to work wherever you want to work without it feeling unnatural. It sort of feels like I can set my own hours as long as I complete the work that I need to complete.

I also save about £162 or so per month not having to commute to work, and I don’t have to jump on a packed underground train full of people. I definitely feel more motivated and productive as there are fewer distractions.

3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?

I like being with people, generally speaking, and I’ll be honest in my first week of working remotely I have felt somewhat isolated. I think being with others and speaking to others was genuinely a nice touch and that’s something that I think is slightly harder to do in a remote job. I’ve noticed that I am definitely emailing more than speaking to others which is probably something I’ll need to figure out as it’s still possible to call people up, but it’s a lot harder than rocking up to someone’s desk to have a chat about anything.

I liked the collaborative approach to the office work space where you could organise meetings with key people and talk face to face to try and solve difficult problems. This is still possible – and in fairness a lot of the meetings I’d have in my previous job would be over Skype anyway. 

4. From what type of place do you prefer to work?

I have an office setup in my flat in North London, and right now that’s my favourite place as it’s obviously very convenient and comfortable for me. There is a coworking space that Forbes has in London near where I used to work and that’s likely a place that I’ll use every now and then to separate my personal life and work life a little more if I have enough of myself!

5. What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?

Taiwan. It’s where I have family, and I’d like to work and travel whilst out there to see if it is even feasible.

6. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe in hiring employees who work remotely?

It’s definitely a big change and commitment for a business that has traditionally only done the whole office space working environment only. I would say that my previous employer is sort of doing it gradually with a policy they have called “Work Your Way” which is very popular.

I do think there are more advantages to remote working than disadvantages. Employee happiness is a key advantage, given the part of having to wake up early and jump on packed trains to commute into the office is completely dropped as a result of remote working. It feels like a weight off my own shoulder and I only lived around 20 minutes by train to the previous office I used to work in.

7. What tools do you use to work remotely?

I use Trello, Slack, Google Data Studio, Google Hangouts, and Google Sheets to track all the work I do remotely and work with others

8. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?

Give it a go. I am still learning how to remote work, but I feel like even after a week of doing it, it’s going well and I am way more productive (so far). I definitely feel happier and I feel more energised.

You’d think working for a global company like Forbes where I interact with people over in Mumbai, Zurich, Los Angeles and New York – it might not work, but that’s further from the truth & remote working seems to work really well is effective.

Everyone is considerate of each other’s time zones and adjusts meetings to make things work. I am really lucky to be in this position, and at first I was really skeptical, but I can see myself growing into the remote working way of life quite easily.

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