I recently read an article showcasing REMOTE, a book written by 37Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. The book details how

[tweet_quote]employers and employees can successfully work together remotely.[/tweet_quote] I have yet to pick up a copy, but am very interested in the details of how they have become so successful with this type of work. Lately, there has been a little buzz going around on this topic so I thought I would share my first-hand experience on the matter.

Background

I have worked for Galvin for over five years, three of those years was in the office and the last two and a half have been remotely.

My husband went to IU School of Medicine and was transferred to University of Cincinnati to do his residency. This meant I had two choices, find a new job or find a way to keep my current one. The idea of remote work was very new to us at Galvin so I showed management an excerpt from 37Signals’ previous book REWORK that had touched on the subject. Their ideas actually helped get them comfortable with the fact that I could still do my work, do it well, and not be in the office. They ultimately decided to take a chance and it has worked out great ever since.

Inspiration

For me, it can at times be challenging to find inspiration. Inspiration fuels creativity and when that is blunted it’s hard to get work done. So what’s a designer to do? Well I had found that changing up my surroundings was really good at sparking some creative thinking. I go to a few local coffee shops around me as well as work in different areas of my home. Being in a situation where I can move around and change-up my surroundings has made me a better designer.

Productivity

I am a morning person. I get up at 6:30am, sometimes earlier, without an alarm. I’ve always been that way. So for me, being able to start my day around 7 has been wonderful and has allowed me to be more productive. I have very little distractions, like email or phone calls, and my best ideas come when I can really focus on something.

I will also add that I’m a hard worker.

I’ll give that credit to my mother as she instilled that on me from as far back as I can remember. I have never missed a deadline and I like getting my work done efficiently as possible. Even working from home can create distractions though. So it really does take some self motivation and willpower to keep on task. For people who need some motivation there are alternatives. One of our project managers, Joe Fiega, actually wrote a blog post about co-working spaces and how productive it can be to get out of the office.

Teamwork

There is something to be said about working in the office and being close to your peers. I miss all of them every day, but this can be avoided if you use different tools to stay in-touch.

1. We use Chatter. It’s a Salesforce platform where employees can connect online. It’s a great collaboration tool for people in the office as well as remote employees.
2. IM. Instant message has not only helped me save on my minutes, but is a very efficient collaboration tool.
3. State of the Company Meetings. I go into Indy at least once a month for a ‘State of the Company’ meeting. It’s a great way to see everyone and feel connected with the team.

Audience

I think this type of book is important because it speaks to a broader audience than just employers and employees.

We have quite a few clients that are not located in Indianapolis, so remote work doesn’t just apply internally. For companies to be able to expand their audience nation-wide remote work is essential to production schedules and budgets. For us, it has become second nature. We also use some great tools for this as well:

1. GoToMeeting. This is an invaluable tool. Anyone can share their screen and we can collaborate on wireframes and designs, things that are more visual.
2. Prevue.it. This is a great tool no-matter if you are remote or not, but I thought it deserved some recognition. This tool allows us to create projects and collaborate on designs online. The project has its own unique URL that the client can share with anyone, no matter where they are.

Responsibility

There are certainly pros and cons to working remotely. I’m very thankful my company has the trust and confidence in me to manage my work. My experience has been great, as it has made me more productive and has allowed me more freedom to gain inspiration for my work. It takes dedication but at the same time teaches you to focus and how to better manage yourself. I certainly am excited to grab my copy of REWORK to understand how others have mastered this skill.