Deborah Franco works as as a remote Social Media Specialist, at YourFranchiseOptions. Looking back on her career, she highlights the important transitions she made and offers a few tips for working remotely.
What was the lure in getting a remote job?
For me, the main reasons I wanted to work from home was flexibility in my schedule, the ability to organize my time based on my lifestyle, and honestly not being micromanaged. Working from home provides a certain freedom that makes a difference, it's the little things like being able to pick up my son from school without any trouble that reminds me why I work from home.
What were your first steps in trying to land your current remote job?
Research, research, research. That's one of my biggest tips for working remotely. I may have overdone it with the amount of looking I did online, but I wanted to make sure I could not only find a remote job but something that I was actually interested in. I went back to school in 2017 and now that I am concentrating on business marketing I know what I'm looking for in the type of job I want to have. I used a combination of sites, to help me, but I found that sites like Glassdoor gave the most honest opinions. I made looking for a job, my job and it really paid off because I was able to find a job within a week. Though my previous remote work experiences helped, I had the same attitude when I applied to my first job.
Tell us about your remote work journey?
I took some classes at a local community college after high school but took a break from school until I joined a job training company called YearUp in 2015. I was really able to network there and it opened a lot of doors for me. After a year there I started working at Dell EMC which was a partially remote job and a great introduction to working from home. Soon after I landed a full-time remote job with Advantage Solutions, it was there where I started to learn more of the remote culture and the nuances of team communication and self-management.
Seeing the necessity in work requirements for positions I had aspirations for, I decided to go back to school in 2017. I enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University for an online degree in business marketing. I was unfortunately laid off from my job at the time and that is where I began my journey once again, however this time strategically in search of a remote job that could align with my education. This time around it was also easier since I had a trusted background in remote work, but I still used the same method of research to find my job. Overall, I would have to say working and learning from home has become a big part of my lifestyle.
How has your experience been so far?
Great! I love being able to work from home and self manage; there is the obvious con of not having social time with co-workers, but things like this can transition as well if you work on them with your team. A good example is weekly meetings, though they may not seem like much, a meeting to start off the week, with goals, questions, and visibility makes a difference in how people interact with each other.
As for management, they too have a role in how the remote team functions, there is one example when my team was not notified about an update to a program and as a result, some of the work we did was in vain. Our team at times felt neglected and you never want people to feel that they are left out or not as important. Communication is key in anything remote, and it can make or break an experience.
Do you feel there is a transition period when switching from office to offsite?
Definitely! It took me about a month to transition, and mostly because you need to build a routine for yourself, and that takes time because you go through trial and error figuring out what works best for you.
Have you made any changes to your home space?
Yes, I have! I bought myself a desk, a comfy chair, and the company also provided me with useful tools to make my job easier like a headset and software. I also have a dedicated room to work in, I find that although it may seem nice to work from a couch or from the bed I just cannot seem to focus, so I find myself in that room for the majority of the day. It also lets anyone else who may be around know that I am busy and "at work".
Do you do anything special to help you get organized?
Yes, I make lists for everything that I do, I know it may seem old fashioned, but it works for me. Having something tangible makes me feel more in control and able to focus. I have tried just using my computer, but notes just feel so much better. There is nothing like crossing off something from your to-do list to keep you motivated!
Do you have any tips for working remotely, and would you recommend remote work to others?
Not to everyone, I feel that you need to be a specific type of person to work from home, some people need that managerial push from their higher-ups and a lack of that can cause work deficiency. Working from home really requires you to develop your own system and that freedom can sometimes be overwhelming. However, to those that are willing to manage themselves and evaluate their own day to day schedules, I say join the club and you'll find it can be very gratifying to do things on your own time.
Looking for more advice on working remotely? Check out our newest book, 30 Hacks for Productive Remote Workers, part workbook and part guide that will help you work smarter, not harder. Oh, and did we mention that it was written by remote workers for remote workers? This advice is tried and tested, and we know it will help you maximize your productivity.
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