All Your Questions Answered About Working Remote5 min read
Six months ago, SparkReaction made the decision to adopt a remote work policy when a core, valued team member moved to Arizona. To maintain our strong team members while also increasing our chances of finding the best talent—regardless of geography—we knew this was the right move to make.
Thankfully, this policy is what lead me to become a Spark team member.
Working from home is becoming more and more popular, especially at marketing agencies.
While working remotely is becoming more accepted, there are still a lot of skeptics out there who question how working from home can actually work.
Marketing is a naturally collaborative industry, from strategizing with the client services team to relaying information to the creative department. How can this work when everyone is in a different location? Aren’t people less productive working from home?
I get questions like these all the time. And if you're thinking about adopting a remote working policy or are considering taking a remote working job, I'm sure you have these questions, too.
For these reasons, I have created a summary all of the conversations I have had with people, from my best friend to my father-in-law, about working from home:
Hey, Sami. Throwin' shade, are ya?
Why did you choose a remote job?
Believe it or not, there aren’t very many marketing agencies in Auburn, Alabama.
If I wanted to work in an office here, I would have had to compromise for a job I really wanted.
Working from home allowed me to choose from some pretty great agencies from all over while also giving me a flexible schedule. I also get to spend all day with my dogs — big bonus.
Things to consider before choosing a remote job:
- Ask the company about their remote work policy. If they don’t have a remote work policy, that’s a sign that they don’t have their shit together and you’re in for a hell of an onboarding process.
- Ask how the company spreads their culture to remote employees. Just because you aren’t in the office doesn’t mean you aren’t a part of the company culture.
- Ask yourself if you have the self-motivation to work from home. It takes a lot of self-control not to pick up your phone or turn on the tv when no one is around. Not everyone is successful working from home. Be honest with yourself about what kind of environment you work best in.
Don’t you get lonely?
Sometimes! But I have plenty of video calls throughout the week for human interaction. And when I’m not in a meeting, I’m typically working alongside my local barista.
Top Tips for Avoiding Loneliness
- Get a dog. Or cat (but I’d recommend a dog).
- Work from the library or a coffee shop.
- Find a coworking space. Ask your employer if they would pay your admission for you.
- Reach out to people on Slack
Our #random Slack channel, talking about March Madness
How can you possibly be productive?
It does take a good amount of self-control to be productive when no one’s around, which is why I live and breathe by my to-do list.
Each morning, I make a checklist of things that need to be done and I motivate myself by seeing how many I can get checked off.
In some ways, working from home allows me to be more productive because there are fewer interruptions.
4 Musts to Stay Productive
- Create a to-do list. Every day.
- Consider some great project management software, or ask if your company is willing to invest in some (ClickUp, Teamwork, and Flow are great options).
- Stick to your designated working spaces in your house. Never, ever, ever work from your bedroom.
- Set goals and hold yourself accountable. We create “rocks” and have weekly check-ins with our managers to make sure we are on track to achieve these goals.
Do you feel connected to your coworkers?
Absolutely. During my second week at Spark, we flew out to Phoenix for our company retreat.
It was a great place to really get to know each other right off the bat. We also have a company-wide video chat every Monday for everyone to check in with each other, discuss any challenges we are having, and work together to solve them.
Best Advice to Stay Connected
- Meet in person before you start the job. Don’t settle for a video chat interview before accepting a position. Don’t underestimate this, either—that initial human-to-human interaction can make all the difference for a happy employee and avoiding a bad culture fit. Some people are cool online, but vibe completely different in person.
- Stay active on Slack, or whatever platform your company uses to chat internally, and encourage your team to use it, too.
- Have weekly video chats.
- Schedule meetings with coworkers to brainstorm, discuss an issue you’re having, or just to chat. It’s worth it!
What do you enjoy most about working from home?
The flexibility. And not having to drive through Atlanta traffic has done wonders for my overall happiness.
I mean, who wouldn't want an office-mate like this??
What’s your biggest challenge working from home?
When you work in an office, there’s typically a set time that you arrive and a set time that you leave.
But when you work from home, you never really leave “the office.”
It’s been a big challenge for me to close the computer and be done for the day, especially when my to-do list hasn’t been completed. But I’m learning that it’s important to set boundaries for myself.
Best Ways to Overcome These Challenges
- Set a start time and an end time for yourself, similar to how you would operate in an office.
- Have a designated working space in your house. Close the door to your office when you’re done.
- Don’t open the computer back up when you get an email that you could answer really quickly, “it’ll just take a second.”
What advice do you have for someone new to working from home?
Get up and move. If you stare at a computer screen all day, you’re going to get restless and lonely. Take your dog for a walk or go for a run at lunch. Stand up and get a cup of coffee. By changing up your scenery every once in a while, you’ll be more productive.
Working from home is such a gift, but it’s not for everyone. I don’t know if I can stress this enough—it’s not for everyone. Being honest with yourself with your needs is important for an enormous shift like working remote, but if it can work for you, it can be so WORTH IT.
It’s a relatively new trend in marketing and not all companies have their remote policies ironed out. Hopefully, my answers about remote life help you figure out if working from home is right for you, and helps you choose your next career move.