Interview with Tonya Benton

Tonya Benton is Business Analytics Management at Quorum Review IRB and you can see more about her on Linkedin.

Tonya Benton1. How did you start working remotely? How did you make the switch?

Working remotely started for me as a Research Study Manager and analyst at a major university. The flexibility and freedom went hand-in-hand with the variety of job demands in that role – community relations; technical training and project management- whether via email, phone or face-to-face in travel to research sites. Indeed technology drove the variety in the role as well the flexiblity to accomplish the job well. Fortunately, “academic freedom” offered the culture of trust to make the switch in that role, and is now allowing the switch in my current role.

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

Remote work can bring the opportunity to focus on complex projects without distractions of spontaneous interpersonal encounters. Of course, reduced commute times are a huge benefit. Finally, remote work allows space for creative problem solving and alone time to recharge.

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

There is a perception of missing something when changes happen that affect your team; non-verbal pairing with verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. Project and progress deadlines must be strictly enforced lest there be less pressure or accountability to meet deadlines. Ergonomics can also be a detriment.

4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favorite ones?

Washington State USA is my only experience with remote work. Quite simply it is a way of life in the metro Seattle area and has been since about 2005 for professional services work.

5. From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, coworking spaces, coffee shops or others? Do you have any specific places?

My current role makes double monitors and high speed VPN a necessity. Coworking spaces, home and onsite are key for productivity.

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

Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Hawaii, Continental US

7. What advice would you give to overcome the main challenges of working remotely?

They are constraining their potential for growth in profitability, as well as their employer brand perception (turnover is costly!).

8. What tools do you use and are your favorites to work remotely?

Zoom, my cell plan, JIRA, Outlook, NetExtender, my home wi-fi.

9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?

Remote working has not yet risen to the level of tax advantage – business management is really project management in my current role, so SaaS, VPN and meeting tools are ample, in addition to classic leadership and management tips and tricks.

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

For employees – ask questions regarding remote work policies – clear expectations enhance productivity.
For companies – try with a team and scale up with lessons learned throughout a 6-12 month period. Then plan for future commercial leasing cost savings!

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