BRIE REYNOLDS | November 2016 | As you go about the hiring process, you want to get a good sense of who your top-tier candidates are. From understanding their specific skill sets to determining why they want to work for your company, it’s critical to understand why any given job seeker would want to work for your organization – and yours alone.
If you’re hiring remote workers, you definitely want to find a candidate who is interested in the job beyond its flexible work options. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get inside the minds of those remote job seekers?
Well, now you can. Remote.co, a FlexJobs partner site offering online resources for remote companies and professionals interested in remote work, recently launched a new section that features real remote workers speaking about what it’s really like to work remotely.
The Remote Workers Q&A section allows employers to not only understand how remote workers and digital nomads think, but also to give job seekers a firsthand perspective on what it takes to work remotely.
Here’s an inside look at how remote workers operate – according to five actual remote workers:
1. Conni Biesalski, CEO, Planet Backpack
It was pretty evident that a 9-5 job wasn’t in the cards for Conni Biesalski.
“I realized very quickly that I need a lot of freedom and that I want to work on my own dream rather than on [the dream of] someone else,” says Bielsaski, who has been to more than 40 countries and 100 cities throughout her career.
Bielsaski says that being able to work anywhere – and to make money while doing it – is one of the greatest feelings in the world. She uses coworking spaces, although she admits that no two days are the same for her.
In order to combat loneliness, Biesalski Skypes with her family and friends and works hard to maintain personal connections as she travels around the world.
2. Scott Hanselman, Program Manager, Microsoft
Some job seekers are willing to relocate when they land a plum position. Not Scott Hanselman. Born in Portland, Oregon, Hanselman knew that moving was a nonnegotiable. In order to convince his company to let him work remotely, he says he “pushed and pushed, while trying to provide as much value as possible.”
It was well worth it: Now, Hanselman cites being able to drop off and pick up his kids at school every day as one of the biggest benefits to working remotely.
Although he does miss those spontaneous hallway conversations that come with an in-office job, Hanselman is not sure if he’d return to a centralized workplace. He stays connected to his professional community by using Twitter, iMessage, and Skype, and lists Norway and Denmark as some of his favorite countries in which to work remotely.
3. Karen LaGraff, Vice President of Employee Relations, North American Region, Xerox Corporation
Some employees have a tough time convincing their companies to let them work remotely. Karen LaGraff was lucky, because Xerox was already a strong proponent of remote work.
“It’s a big part of how we’re able to operate on a global scale and provide a great workplace that supports employees’ work-life balance,” says LaGraff.
But LaGraff was instrumental in helping Xerox implement a global work-from-home policy, and today, that policy applies to the business’s worldwide workforce of more than 131,000 employees.
LaGraff claims that having a dedicated work space is critical if you want to focus on work as a remote employee. Don’t try to work from the kitchen counter or sofa! One pain point for many remote workers is not being able to turn off work, but by physically leaving her home office, LaGraff finds she can more easily transition from professional life to personal life.
She credits remote work with helping her stay healthy and be there for her family when they need her.
4. Tom Paronis, Owner, MMaker
Tom Paronis is an early adopter of flexible work, having started working remotely in the 1990s. As a self-employed consultant, he knows the best way to be a successful remote worker is by being disciplined and motivated.
Although Paronis admits that working remotely can lead to feelings of isolation, he found that when he did work onsite, he would get stuck in more meetings and his productivity would lessen. He enjoys not having to commute daily into an office and the tax deductions that come with having a home office.
Paronis admits that “going to the same office day in and day out for years would definitely have killed my spirit,” but says that he would consider going back to a traditional office job – but only if he doesn’t have to spend more than 1-2 days per week on site.
5. Jenn Leaver, Documentation, GitHub
Pregnant with her second child and unemployed, Jenn Leaver decided to work contract jobs – and she loved it. When she decided to go back to work full-time, she knew that working remotely was the way to go.
“Rather than commuting four hours a day like I used to, I’m able to do things like eat breakfast with [my children], go to their doctor’s appointments, and in general, be there for them in a way that I wasn’t able to before,” says Leaver. “I found my current position at GitHub through FlexJobs and am grateful every day for the life I have because of it.”
Leaver claims that a key component of being a successful remote worker is working for a company that is invested in its remote workforce. She says that it can be hard to work at home without any coworkers around, so she’ll reach out to people via Slack or video conferencing in order to keep the connection.
Leaver works a fairly routine schedule from her home office and doesn’t think she’ll return to a traditional office job anytime soon. Says Leaver: “Working remotely means your life is more fluid. You don’t have to integrate your work with the rest of your life; you just have to be open to the possibility that you can have it all.”
The Remote Worker Q&A on Remote.co aims to demystify the thoughts and beliefs of remote workers and digital nomads. It also shows the multiple benefits of having flexible work policies, including a workforce dedicated to their positions and invested in their organizations.
Readers, are you hiring remote workers? What stands out about how they work?
Brie Reynolds is the director of online content at FlexJobs.