Becoming a Remote Employee

Yesterday my 3 year old daughter asked me a question as I was walking out of the door in the morning:

“Are you going to real work today, Daddy?”

I asked her what she meant.  She said:

“It’s not real work when you stay home on your computer.  It’s real work when you go somewhere.”

She’s not the only one with this opinion.  I have gotten push back from many about this topic challenging the validity of remote working primarily due to productivity and accountability.  I understand the perspective, but can’t disagree more.  I’ll save this argument for another post though.

I decided to go to Twitter and ask my followers their thoughts and interest in remote working.  Here was their response:

I was honestly surprised how many people wanted to work from home.  To be honest, I prefer an office.  I appreciate the flexibility of working from home or really from anywhere, but my preference is to be around the people I’m working with face to face.  

Let me share my journey of remote working and how we got started at Community Bible Church.

About 3 years ago at CBC we hired our first remote employee, Chris Tripputi, to be our Online Church Coordinator.  We had dozens apply for the position, but Chris was far more qualified for the position, but there was one problem: he lived in Colorado and with his wife in the Air Force regular moves would be expected in the foreseeable future.  We decided to move forward hiring Chris based on his job responsibilities all being online.

I would be lying to say that the situation has been perfect, but Chris has far exceeded anyone’s expectations as an employee and as we’ve learned to more effectively integrate him into our staff culture remote working has greatly expanded.  We now have 4 full-time remote employees at CBC and I expect this trend to only continue (even for local employees).  

A year and a half ago my family felt led to New York.  People thought we were crazy, but we pitched it to our leadership at CBC and were so grateful for their willingness to give it a try.  At that point we had one case study of success, but this was a different scenario as I sit on the Executive Leadership Team at the church and have several local employees who report directly to me.  

While transitioning to New York, my consulting business also began to grow far beyond what I could manage on my own, so I hired my first Virtual Assistant, which quickly led to a growing Virtual Team.  My business is driven by remote employees joining our team from North Carolina, Texas, India and the Philippines!

I have learned a lot along the way and my expectation is that this is a trend that will only continue.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • Efficiency – remote working is efficient for employers and employees.  Transportation time and cost can be significant as well as office space expense (consider IT support, security, facility rental or upkeep, furniture, etc.).
  • Technology – remote working is made possible through the developing technology that we have today with video conferencing and cloud computing.
  • Opportunity – remote working allows organizations to hire the best from anywhere rather than hiring the best in their local region.  It also allows people to work for the best companies from anywhere in the world.

I will be talking more about remote working in the coming weeks.  I have many opinions about the validity and future of it that I will share.  I will primarily focus on sharing with you the systems and solutions that we use to make remote working a viable solution for our church and for my business.

It’s my belief that when my 3 year old daughter enters the workspace that remote working will actually be the norm and not the exception.  I can’t wait to tell her this story and to ask her if she’s going to go to “real work.”

What are your thoughts?  Is remote working “real” work?  Would you rather work from home or from an office?