This profile is part of a series on remote working on the Fuze blog (blog.fuze.com).
For many the idea of working remotely means working from the beach... when in reality those of us who do are often stuck next to a pile of dirty laundry.
The questions are intended to reveal how you work, the tools you use to stay connected and get sh*t done, and how you are managing your life beyond work.
What are you working on?
I am the founder and CEO of Worldwide101, an international virtual assistant company. I’m currently working on marketing strategy for our business, in particular a series of webinars to promote our brand and the business benefits of delegating to a skilled virtual assistant, or as we like to call it, a “Business-Grade Virtual Assistant”.
Many people still have a very limited understanding of what a virtual assistant can do. We are breaking the mold by offering skilled, and educated professionals with extensive corporate experience, who can fill key positions and functions within a business – remotely!
What’s the biggest challenge of working remotely right now?
Sometimes working remotely can make it harder to connect on a human level, for example just to say hello and chat about our day. It seems most of our communications end up being about work, clients, and deliverables…so we have to make extra effort to make a virtual kitchen or water cooler to congregate around!
Describe your workspace/ How do you choose a spot to work from?
I work from home, and I love the versatility, and ability to pick up my laptop, and work from wherever around the house. I can choose to work at my desk in my home office, which I do for meetings, and work, which require focus, or from the living room sofa, or from the garden table if I’m in the mood for more creativity.
What are the most important types of tools you use as a remote worker (video, chat, email)?
I use a variety of tools, and apps to stay connected and on track with the team such as our dashboard tool, which allows us to monitor hours, financials and key metrics. The most vital ones are still email and audio/video conferencing. Being that we all work remotely and virtually, we’ve found that video conferencing is key to connecting, and building rapport. It makes a big difference to be able to see each other, and it helps to elicit engagement, and teamwork. We also use video conferencing to interview new candidates, and to ascertain their aptitudes and feasibility to join our team.
What’s the biggest misconception about remote work?
I think some people think that it’s not really work, and that anyone can do it! Those who make remote work successful must apply great discipline for consistent results and productivity. It’s not that easy to self motivate!
Top tips for working remotely?
Stick to a routine as much as possible! I think it’s the key to productivity, and lends to consistent professional results.
Do you think remote employees more productive?
I think it depends on the industry, and it also depends on the employees! Again, remote work is not for everyone. So for someone who is naturally self motivated and disciplined, and who has a distraction-free environment at home then yes, I do believe that that individual will be as or even more productive than in an “in office” environment.
Follow Sandra on Twitter @Sandra__Lewis