Ruth Burr Reedy is a Director of Strategy at UpBuild, a technical marketing agency, where she manages a team of technical SEOs and provides strategic direction to grow the company and improve their services. You can find her in Twitter or LinkedIn.
1. Which are the main advantages that you find by working remotely?
Flexibility! I really like being able to work from different spaces depending on my mood and the task at hand. Working remotely also allows me to have more flexible hours, so I can rearrange my work tasks to fit my schedule.
This makes it a lot easier to have the life I want to have while still doing the work I love. I love to travel and I live pretty far away from my family, so remote work means that I can work and travel, and even see family and friends for extended visits, without having to take large amounts of time off work.
2. Do you think you have disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?
The biggest challenge I face with working remotely is isolation. Sometimes I don’t see anyone in person but my husband all day, and that can get a little lonely. I try to be proactive about scheduling time with friends and making sure I’m getting out of the house every day.
Wearing a FitBit, I’ve also found that I move around less over the course of the day than I did when I worked in an office, so I’m trying to be more aware of that. I also try to have really strict “work time” and “not work time” so I don’t end up folding laundry when I should be working, or working all hours of the day and night.
3. From which cities or countries have you worked from since you have become a digital nomad? Which is your favorite one?
Mostly just from Oklahoma City, where I live.
4. From which type of place do you prefer to work from? Coworking spaces, coffee shops or others? Do you have any specific place?
I work from my home office mostly, but I like to work from coffee shops as well. I can usually only spend about half the day at a coffee shop, but it’s great to get to a new location. I find coffee shops are the best place to go to when I need to write something. I haven’t checked out a coworking space yet, but I plan to.
5. Which places would you like to travel to -from where you would enjoy and work from- as a digital nomad?
I am most excited to be able to visit my family and still work. My parents, sister and nieces all live just outside of Portland, Oregon – about 2000 miles from where I live.
I am looking forward to spending some time with them over the summer. At my previous job, taking a vacation meant feeling very disconnected and spending a lot of extra time getting caught up. Working remotely, I can work while my family is working during the day, and then spend time with them in the evening.
6. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe on hiring employees who work remotely?
I think there are pros and cons for it. It can be really challenging to have one or two remote employees when the rest of the office is all in the same building. It can be done, though – it just requires some shifts in culture and some investments in technology to help make sure everyone is on the same page.
Don’t expect remote workers to just seamlessly integrate into your on-site team; spend some time developing processes and finding tools to help set them up for success.
7. Which tools do you use to work remotely?
Google Hangouts, UberConference, HipChat, Skype, Google Mail, Trello.
8. How do you manage your business and taxes?
I’m fortunate to be a full-time employee of a business where everyone works remotely, so my taxes aren’t that different from what they were before I worked remotely.
9. What advice would you give to people looking to become a digital nomad and work remotely?
Be very strict about boundaries. Work when it’s your time to be working, and stop working when your work day is over – or at least, have a few hours a day where working is not allowed! This might mean you work from 7am to 3 pm and then from 8 pm to 11 pm, or it might mean you have a more traditional 9-5 workday.
Whatever works for you, but make that time sacred and unplug when it’s time to unplug. If you can, set up a home office or other space in your home that is just for work. Even though I use my laptop for personal things as well, I don’t sit at my desk when I do it – that keeps my desk just for work.
Before you take a remote role, make sure you ask about how you’ll be expected to communicate and how frequently. Try to get a sense of how you’ll fit into the larger team. Find ways to add structure to your work day, and make sure you’re checking in with your supervisor/clients regularly so you aren’t “out of sight, out of mind.”