In 2011, I faced an important crossroads in my career. At the time, I was working for a rising Boston startup in the clean tech space as deputy general counsel, eager to move up and gain a general counsel role. Personally, my wife and I decided to move to Pennsylvania as we looked to start a family. While the company was understanding and willing to work with me on a flexible schedule, it became clear early on that by making this move, I was sacrificing my chance to move up. I would always be the #2.
I eventually left in favor of a general counsel role for a publicly traded company in New York City. While I had realized my dream role, my family life quickly took a hit with such an unbearable commute. With twin toddlers, I felt like I was missing their childhood. Most days I’d leave the house before they were awake and get home well past their bed time, seeing them only on the weekends. I had to get an apartment closer to the city so I didn’t burn out from the long commute, which resulted in a financial burden. After doing this for two years, I realized something had to give. There had to be a better balance that allowed me to live out my career ambitions without missing my kids’ childhood.
Enter Fuze. When I got the call from Fuze offering a general counsel position, I realized it was the chance of a lifetime. Not only was Fuze offering me the opportunity to serve in this role for an emerging brand in a hot market, but they were also giving me the chance to have a more flexible schedule. Seven months later, I couldn’t be happier with my work-life balance. Rotating a week in Boston with a week home in Pennslyvania gives me more time to be at home with my kids without sacrificing face time with colleagues.
While the travel schedule can sometimes get tiring, the extra time it gives me with my children paired with the amazing people at Fuze truly make it seamless and easy. In evaluating the difference between my previous flexible work schedule to the one I have now, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that can help to maximize the remote experience for many workers in the same situation:
- Look for a company that embraces remote working strategies as part of their culture. While the clean tech company I worked for likely had technology available to make remote worker easier (video-conferencing, messaging, etc.), these tools and services were not widely available or embraced across the organization. At Fuze, people are excited to take advantage of the company’s best-in-breed UCaaS technology. It’s second nature. On top of that, we are proud of our cutting-edge technology. This culture, and office-wide adoption, makes it much easier and comfortable to be a remote employee.
- Invest in building relationships early on. When starting a new role or shifting to a remote position in an existing role, one of the best things an employee can do is invest in peer relationships early on to ensure longevity even when that person isn’t physically in the office. In my first 90 days at Fuze, I went on the “Fuze World Tour” – meaning I sat down with 30+ people to get to know them and their roles – to learn how I could best support. I made a point to go into the office as much as possible in that initial period to maximize those interactions. I made sure people knew me and knew where to find me. This helped solidify relationships and ease the transition once I moved to my alternating schedule.
- Don’t rely on emails alone to communicate with colleagues. While email communications are an important part of our communications toolkit, face-to-face meeting or calls are a superior method of communication. One of the most important strategies for remote workers to stay on the radar is to keep themselves as busy with calls and meetings as they would otherwise be in the office. I am always cognizant of the fact that I’m not in the office and need to be proactive in my team interactions.
- Be responsive and available. This is a key to success whether you are a remote employee or not, but I try and make myself even more available when I’m remote. It gives my colleagues confidence that, regardless of whether I am physically in the office or not, I am engaged and doing my very best to support them.
Ultimately, the move to Fuze has been a perfect balance for me and my life—allowing me to follow my career aspirations without having to compromise family time.
You can find more communication tips for remote workers here.