So many businesses are making the strategic business decision to move permanently to a remote-first workforce. In light of this trend being accelerated, we are launching an ongoing series of remote employee spotlights. Here we will showcase real-life benefits and helpful tips on making this adjustment – as a business owner or as an employee.
Benefits of Remote Work
Today we are featuring Bridget Chebo, a member of the team who has worked remotely for over six years in her current role and occasionally worked at home in a previous role. Bridget currently lives and works remotely in Winchester, Virginia. How did Bridget end up living in Winchester? Let’s rewind a bit. She was born and raised in Ohio but always liked the idea of living somewhere else. One reason why she wanted to work remotely was the freedom to move where she wanted to and also take a working vacation. Since joining the team, Bridget has lived in Florida and now Virginia.
So, what drew Bridget to Winchester, Virginia? She credits that it is in the Shenandoah Valley. This location means she is close to the Appalachian Trail and has access to lots of good local farm products and plenty of outdoor activities. After spending time living in Ohio and Florida, she feels that the beautiful weather there is her “Goldilocks Zone,” with just the right amount of winter. She also treasures that Winchester is one of the oldest cities in the Shenandoah Valley. The town has an abundance of history that has been preserved, with some buildings dating back to the 1700s. The central street of the old downtown area is closed to vehicles for two blocks. This area serves as a central public gathering place.
Along with the flexibility to live and work where she wants to, Bridget also enjoys being with her dog, Pepper, all day instead of being apart from her while she commutes and works in an office. With all of this flexibility, what does Bridget’s job entail? She oversees the teams that are in direct contact with customers, for both customer support and live courses. In all, there are about 145 people on those remote teams. Bridget keeps in touch through Skype and collaborates on projects with her team via Basecamp and Google Drive. She also notes that Salesforce and Hubstaff contribute to her productivity as a member of a remote workforce.
Tips for Working At Home
With all of her experience working at home, Bridget has some helpful tips for working remotely. Especially for anyone who may be missing the morning bagels and Friday pizza parties in an office environment. She says it is important to make a conscious effort to do things (safely!) outside of your home, whether it be making friends or spending time with nature.
If you are new to working from home and are working out kinks in adjusting, Bridget has tips for you. She suggests being open and communicating any challenges to your supervisor or human resources team. Additionally, Bridget says to create boundaries in your home in regards to your office versus personal spaces. She says this really helps with making sure you don’t feel like you are “always at work” since your home is your office to a large extent.
Global-Thinking as a Remote Worker
Since working remotely breaks down global boundaries, we also wanted to get Bridget’s opinions as someone who has the flexibility to work pretty much anywhere. Well, as long as a good WiFi connection is available. But, if WiFi, electricity and money were not a concern? Bridget says she would love the opportunity to live and work from a boat. She would sail from port to port, exploring each destination for a month or two at a time. She would use this opportunity to visit her staff all over the world. On a smaller scale, Bridget would also like to spend time in Spain. She would spend her time there getting immersed into the culture and learning the language.
Of course, a good part of traveling and experiencing local culture is also the local cuisine. If given the opportunity to order delivery from any restaurant in the world while working at home, Bridget says she would get the Key West Pink Shrimp Caesar Pita and a side of fries from a little place called Burdines Waterfront in Key West, Florida. If she were to keep it local, her favorite dish in her town is called an Apple Blossom. This dish is basically a single-serving apple pie featuring Winchester’s famous apples. This is so popular, the town even has an Apple Blossom Festival held annually.
Celebrating Global Cultures
With so many countries and cultures around the world and part of our team, we will be asking each participant in this series what they value about the culture of their country. Here are Bridget’s thoughts about the United States:
“Diversity is the best thing about the culture of America, in my opinion. Diversity of thoughts, ideas, backgrounds, experiences. I’ve been lucky to work at companies that value the differences that each individual brings to the team. Recognizing that those differences help us produce better outcomes. And with the diversity of my community, even though it’s a somewhat small town, I am lucky to be able to eat great cuisine from all over the world and meet and engage with people with different backgrounds.”
We hope you enjoyed this article and that it helped broaden your outlook on what it means to have a remote global team. If you are considering the move to a remote-first workforce for your business, or have already made the switch but need help improving your processes, drop us a line. We would love to work through your unique scenario and see how we can help you get started with quality workers from our global team.