Monthly Archives: October 2016

Work Wherever You Want Tips

Not much of a cubicle person? Luckily for you, plenty of companies nowadays aren’t either—which is why they love giving their employees the option to work remotely, from home, or even away from their desks around the office.

So if you’re craving some space, here are eight companies you should definitely check out for flexible work schedules, remote work roles, plenty of paid time off, and a lot of legroom.

 

1. VMware

A leader in cloud infrastructure, business mobility, and virtualization software, VMware entered the tech industry in 1998—offering game-changing IT solutions and simplified automated delivery systems.

Ranked 21 on Forbes’ “Top 100 Companies for Remote Jobs” (and on the list in 2014, too!), VMware is dedicated to providing employees with relaxed work schedules. The company doesn’t track which employees choose to work remotely and when they decide to do so and offers unlimited vacation time, trusting staffers to take the appropriate amount of leisure time to unwind and recharge.

 

2. DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean is a simple cloud infrastructure provider built for developers—making it easy for them to rapidly deploy, resize, and scale their production environments.

At DigitalOcean, 40% of staff works remotely. Brian Knox, a software engineer, is one of them, and he loves that he can spend time with his family and still be so involved with the company. Because Brian works from home, his days often begin with early morning dog walks and dropping his kids off at school. Around 8 AM, Brian is able to return to his home office and answer emails and then embark on a full day of programming fully refreshed.

“We have a really great remote culture here at DigitalOcean,” he says.

 

3. LivingSocial

LivingSocial is an innovative, web-based marketplace offering amazing deals—from weekend trips to gourmet dinners to one-of-a-kind events.

LivingSocial prizes itself as a company that truly cares about its employees’ well-being. One of the team’s favorite perks is the company’s multiple work-style choices: LivingSocial gives employees the option to work flexible hours in the office and take opportunities to work from home—all while staying connected to team members and the company.

“You’re your own individual here—but you have a great team here to support you,” says Angela Gardner, a marketing specialist.

How to Ask Your Boss

So you want to work from home. Maybe you’re moving further away from the office, maybe you’ve recently had a baby , or maybe you know you’d be more productive not being chained to your cube, trying to block out the ambient chatter of your co-workers nine hours each day.

The good news is, more and more companies are agreeing to part- or full-time telecommuting arrangements for their employees. So if you want to work from home, and you have a good reason, don’t be afraid to ask. I did—and here are the tips I learned for bettering your odds that you and your boss can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.

 

1. Weigh the Potential

These days, so many of us do work that can be completed from any location with an internet connection. But—not all positions are suited to working from home, and it’s important to know that before you begin. Do you do mostly solo work, or do you interact with people from different departments on a daily basis? Are you mainly on the phone and email, or do you attend lots of in-person meetings ? Do you supervise others ? Be honest with yourself about whether or not telecommuting would really make sense for your gig. Unfortunately, your desire to work from home and the practicality of the arrangement may not always be in sync.

Next, outline your responsibilities and detail how much time you spend working on each one. Make note of the tasks that might be more difficult to complete from home, as well as those that would be easier. You’ll need to show your boss how, exactly, working from home will impact your position.

Finally, make sure you think about your timing. If you’re new on the job or gunning for a promotion , now is probably not the time to be spending your days out the office.

 

2. Formulate a Plan

Rather than just having a casual conversation, it’s better to design a formal proposal—for your boss to take the arrangement seriously, you’ll want to show that you do, too.

First, propose a specific schedule of the days and hours you will work remotely, explaining that you will be fully available by phone, email, IM, or whatever, during those hours. Your plan is also more likely to be considered if you start off asking for a temporary, part-time schedule, say, two days each week to be revisited after 60-90 days.

Then, outline the benefits of your proposed arrangement. Remember, the arguments that will appeal most to your boss are ones that have the “what’s in it for me?” factor. Sure, telecommuting may relieve you of a killer commute, but it will also mean that you can start work earlier (and more refreshed) by avoiding 60 minutes in the car each morning. Present it that way. Be prepared to show at least three ways that telecommuting will make you a better employee and a better asset to the company.

 

3. Identify and Address Concerns

Alleviating possible concerns—i.e., concerns about your productivity or IT security issues—should also be a big part of your proposal. Try to put yourself in your boss’ shoes , think about what her biggest questions or hold-ups might be, and be prepared with solutions. For example, propose face-to-face weekly catch-up meetings or weekly task lists to serve as accountability that you’re not just watching daytime TV. Or, suggest working with your IT department to ensure that your equipment is safe. Many companies also have secure VPNs (virtual private networks) that you can log into and enjoy the same security benefits as if you were in the office. Doing your research, especially on these concerns, will show that you’ve thought through every facet of the arrangement.

Good Reason Going Into the Office

Whether you’re taking the bus, driving your car, or participating in a car pool, getting to work every day is costly. Maybe you pay to park in a garage, or you commute via train. You buy a coffee on your way into work and a piece of fruit or an egg sandwich some mornings. You button up in compliance with the office’s business casual dress code, and you even sometimes put money toward networking events. According to CareerBuilder, you’re spending an average of $276 to $3,300 per year on these various commuting-related expenditures.

The national survey looked at approximately 3,000 full time employees across a range of industries in both big and small companies. Harris Poll, who conducted the survey, examined how much people spend on gas or public transportation as well as how much money they put toward daycare or petcare—or both. If you’re one of the 50% of people who buys lunch each day, the amount you spend per workday obviously goes up significantly. But even if you always make your coffee at home, diligently pack food each day, and bring your dog to work at an office that’s within walking distance of your home, you’re still not off the hook.

We’re talking about making yourself presentable, and you do that primarily through clothing, shoes, accessories. You may be able to get away with staying in your yoga pants all day on a rainy Sunday, but they likely won’t pass muster in the office. When survey participants were asked how much they spend on clothing, shoes and accessories for work in a given year, 47% said they spend $250 or more and one in 10 employees (or 13%) admitted to spending $750 or more.

Of course, even if you work for yourself or don’t report to an office ever, you’ve still got to get dressed, and you’ve still got to eat. Having a job that you’re physically required to be at doesn’t necessarily have to add to your wardrobe expenses, particularly if you know how to make smart clothing purchases, but it’s probable that it will somehow. And if you’re on the job search, well you’re likely spending money to travel to interviews, and let’s not forget about the money you’re putting toward printing copies of your resume on pretty, ecru-colored paper.

If there’s one not-quite-obvious thing that the survey results indicate, it’s that we are more in need of flexible work policies and the option to work remotely on occasion. Think of how skipping the commute just one day a week would reduce the money you spend each week on getting to and from work—and everything that’s involved in that process. Whether you’re just saving money on the cost of a subway ride, on fuel for your car, or lunch because you forgot to plan ahead (again!), there’s no question that you’ll save more. The clothing you don’t need to get dry-cleaned? The dog walker you don’t need to schedule? I’m seeing dollar signs.

While you probably don’t want to present the financial implications of getting to work to your boss—hey, you took the job—you may want to revisit or initiate a discussion on flexibility and how it’ll help you be a happier and more productive employee. The cost of commuting is simply another nod toward not going into the office Monday through Friday.

Let You Work From Home

We’ve said it before , and we’ll say it again: We know the the best work doesn’t always happen in an office between the hours of 8 and 5.

Luckily, more and more companies are embracing this and incorporating flex time and remote work arrangements into their culture, both for their longtime employees and their new hires.

So, if you’re looking for a gig that’ll let you work from home once in a while—or even all the time!—check out these seven companies, all hiring for all kinds of roles now.

 

1. TNTP

TNTP helps schools, districts, and states grow and hold on to great teachers and build systems that prioritize effective teaching in every classroom. Staff who don’t work from the small Brooklyn headquarters work in districts and home offices in over a hundred cities across the country. Many staff work from home—often with a pet curled up at their feet—while others are energized by the daily opportunity to work alongside teachers and school leaders in schools.

 

2. Worldwide 101

Worldwide101 is a virtual professional services company, supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups around the world. As virtual professionals, Worldwide101 team members have the freedom to create a different lifestyle, live where they choose, and command their own schedule. Need to drop off the kids or hit the gym before your day begins? No problem. As long as client expectations are kept, Worldwide101 encourages its team to find a work rhythm that fits them.

 

3. Hudl

Serving hundreds of youth, high school, college, and professional sports teams across the country, Hudl offers a web-based platform where coaches and athletes can collaborate to dominate the competition. The quickly growing startup is based in Lincoln, NE, but it’s happy to hire remote workers based in NY, TX, or CA for any of its openings. (Added bonuses: unlimited vacation time and an annual team trip to Vegas!).