The following is a guest post from Tami Churns. As a founding partner and creative director at Twin Collective, Tami has designed, illustrated, and written for clients including Nike, Panasonic, Gogo Air, WebMD and Warner Music Group.
There was a 13 foot high dive at the community pool I used to go to as a kid. In my book the coolest thing you could be at that point in time was either a.) Mariah Carey in the Always Be My Baby video, b.) my friend’s older sister who was allowed to wear halters and drove a white Wrangler, or c.) any kid who successfully jumped off that high dive. So one day, I decided it was time to grab hold of that slippery ladder and make the fateful climb towards the upper echelon of coolness.
The feeling I had that afternoon was almost identical to the feeling I had the day I quit my in-house design gig to begin working from home for myself. There was a lot of humming and hawing, and an enormous amount of hypothetical strategizing beforehand:
Head first? Feet first? What if the work runs out? Should I keep my Aqua Socks on to absorb the impact? What if I go insane working by myself all day long? Is it actually possible that the water could shoot up my nose with such velocity that I could sustain brain damage?
You’ll find that you can make yourself quite at home at the edge of the something, tentatively peering into the metaphoric water below, finding a million reasons to make the walk of shame back down that board. But you’ve already made the climb. You’re already standing there. The cool kids are already in the pool, waiting for you to join the party, to find out what they now know. What you don’t realize is that the hardest part is already over – the decision to make the jump in the first place. The rest is just closing your eyes and falling.
Making the jump to working remotely is no different. Because, like most things, starting this new endeavor is just a series of vaguely strategic yet mostly blind tumbles into a great, blue unknown. Which, for those of an adventurous spirit and a hearty constitution, is reason enough to jump. The rest of us may need a few more to feel better about the plunge. So here’s seven good ones.
- LOW RISK. Dont hesitate just ask. Talk to your boss and see if you can work one day a week starting off. Or if you work from home already, go on a road trip with your laptop. It’s easier than you think.
- CONNECTIVITY. Wifi is literally everywhere. Just hit the coffee shop and try it for a few days. You can also get a mobile hotspot or something similar if you’re on the road.
- TOOLS. Working remotely doesn’t require anything fancy. Just the tools we already use everyday, like email, file storage, iChats, etc. We use Basecamp to manage our projects and Gchat to communicate in real time.
- SCHEDULE. Working remotely allows you to switch up the schedule, adding some diversity to your daily routine. Maybe you work better at night, maybe you’re more productive early in the AM. You’re also no longer part of the grueling morning commute. You make the rules!
- FOCUS. You have the option of working with others or shutting everything off and working in solitude. Make it work for you. You’ll be amazed at how productive you can be, when there’s no one stopping by your desk every 15 minutes to chat about fantasy football.
- TALENT. Planning to collaborate with others? Since you’re not required to be within the same four walls or zipcode, you can collaborate with any creative in the world. Not just because they’re in the same city. Finding a contractor should be about the talent, not the location.
- BALANCE. You can maintain a work / life balance with family and other interests you have. Work from home? Take a long lunch break to be with your kids. Love to travel? Go on a trip, bring your laptop, and work from coffee shops in between exploring.
What if remote working isn’t an option for you? Ask your boss about trying it out on a trial basis. Hustle, prove yourself, and hopefully you can make the baby steps necessary towards changing their outdated parameters of productivity. If you’re at home considering the remote lifestyle, take the (low risk) opportunity. You can see, do, and experience what you like while footing the bill by making the things you love to make.
So if you’re on the fence about whether this type of work-life future is for you or not, just come down to the other side already. Everything is more possible and more exciting than you think. We have a pair of pajama bottoms waiting for you.