Remote Work – Part II – Lessons Learned from Changing Jobs (And Changing Back).


In a previous post, I shared with you three key lessons I learned during a rocky job change. One of the reasons I made the initial switch was the lack of physical connection to the majority of my teammates – who are five states away. In this follow-up piece, I explore my return to remote worker status and highlight four considerations that guided my decision. Driving 16 hours for lunch is just not an option, but some days…

Because of advances in technology, there have been welcomed changes to the traditional 9-to-5 work day and the 40-hour work week. In recent years, we’ve heard about remote workers, flex time, and distributed staff. There are slight differences in each of these descriptors, but the overarching premise is that for organizations today, there is a plethora of ways to build a team and conduct business.

The benefits of welcoming this sort of disruption are two-fold. Employers are able to expand the pool from which they select and assess talent, while employees use the flexibility to enhance their overall lifestyle. Why not reallocate stressful drive time to taking a yoga class?

Like most trends, after the initial excitement has passed, reality kicks in and the dynamic is more fully examined.  One of the push-backs to virtual teams and distributed staff is the need for community – both for the organization and the individual. Author Dan Schabel writes in this article that the number one new workplace trend for 2018 will be leadership’s encouragement of more human interaction. “While technology can make us more efficient, and feel highly connected to one another, it will never replace face-to-face conversations,” writes Schabel.

I agree.

As I transitioned back to working with the Employment Technologies team in Florida, I realized that I needed to be proactive in making adjustments to my situation in Indianapolis. I’d like to share four considerations that my husband and I discussed as we explored this turn of events.  I’ve added key questions for each factor to make the list applicable to others considering remote work.

  1. Personality. How are you wired?Introvert or extrovert? What keeps you energized and focused? What strengths are utilized in your position?
  2. Communication Style. How do you prefer to communicate with colleagues? How important is it to hear a voice rather than read an email or text?
  3. Structure.How are you accountable for your work product? Are you self-motivated to keep a to-do list and monitor progress, or do you need external structure to stay on task?
  4. Support.How comfortable are you with technology and troubleshooting? Are you energized by problem solving or are you demotivated when your work flow is interrupted?

With these questions answered, I was ready to dive back in. The major change has been my connection with a local coworking space. For a reasonable monthly fee, I have a secure, welcoming place to go that offers the essential C’s:  Coffee, Copier, Conference Room, and Companionship.

Coworking spaces can be confused with incubators for entrepreneurs, and there is actually some overlap. This article from the Harvard Business Review gives a solid overview of their purpose in today’s marketplace.

Enjoying my new workspace, I have 24/7 access to the building, where I bring my laptop and share a table in a tech friendly common room. If my needs change, I can pay more for a designated cubicle or office with a door. All users agree to basic courtesies, including washing our own dishes. We also take our calls in “phone booths” so no one’s attention span is stretched too far! I’m a month into the new arrangement, and so far, so good!

If you have a story to share about your remote working experience, I’d welcome the conversation. You can write me at