There’s no doubt remote working is on the rise — and it’s not just a popular “trend;” according to a World Economic Forum forecast, remote working is “one of the biggest drivers of a transformation of business models.”
Why is it so popular? There are many benefits for both employers and employees: no commute time, lower overhead costs, and greater flexibility being some of the more obvious ones. A growing body of research suggests that remote workers are, in general, healthier and more balanced.
Ian Bouchett, Reconciled’s Director of Revenue Operations, and his family are living proof that remote work can be both productive and fulfilling. We caught up with him to learn more about how he not only managed — but thrived — while managing Reconciled during his recent two-month family trip to Puerto Rico.
Leveraging the Remote Work Lifestyle with a Young Family
Having had plenty of experience working remotely as an entrepreneur in various businesses, Ian was not only used to working from home but also transitioning to different places and environments. As a remote worker, he already had a firm grasp of what was needed to sustain the business before making the big trip.
When asked why he chose Puerto Rico specifically, Ian listed a few obvious benefits: it’s affordable, it’s warm, and there’s plenty of nature and history.
“With our lifestyle the way it is and being in a position where we can work 100% remote as long as we have access to high-speed internet and I can match …nine-to-five business hours and be available for that period of time, we figured that there’s really no reason that we can’t enjoy the whole world in that same way.”
Ian says his family’s life was greatly enriched because the whole family — and his two young boys in particular — were truly able to immerse themselves in the country, getting to know the culture, hiking, exploring biological diversity, and learning about pre-American history. This is definitely not the type of experience they could ever get in the classroom.
As for school, Ian and his wife planned early and carefully. They were able to work out a plan with the school where they could homeschool the kids through the two months to make sure they didn’t fall behind.
Happier & More Productive
If you’ve ever tried to travel and work at the same time, you probably know that it can be …well, distracting, to say the least. But for Ian, this was actually one of the most productive times in his life, and even he was surprised at his level of output.
While he anticipated a few basic challenges like internet stability, he found much more comfort and stability than he expected.
“Once we got there, it was surprisingly comfortable and surprisingly familiar to the home/work experience I had in Vermont. Because the kids were able to do their homeschooling stuff during the day, we were able to spend a lot of family time after work and on the weekends, our happiness level as a family was so high. It was an incredibly productive period for me professionally as well.”
Ian definitely credits his wife for helping him minimize interruptions at home. No matter where you are based, the keys to staying productive while working remotely seem to be setting firm boundaries and expectations — for yourself, your family and your team.
On Staying Connected While Working Abroad
One of the things that can be difficult for some remote workers is the feeling of being isolated or disconnected from colleagues. But with a little extra effort and some simple tools, it’s actually possible to be more connected, in a sense.
But it’s not just about what tools you use. Ian says that one of the things he makes an extra effort to do is to stay accessible to his team and his clients while he’s on the road.
“We communicate with all of our clients that we’re a 100% remote firm and that’s…part of our value proposition. It adds value in that we are more accessible because we’re remote. We work hard to establish that same level of transparency that you’d have if you were meeting in person, through the use of video calls and things like that.”
All remote workers and leaders should take note of this important piece of advice: all team members need to be motivated and connected, with a similar level of motivation. They need to be able to support each other, and everyone needs to be able to rely on you to meet deadlines and connect regularly.
Advice for Workers & Entrepreneurs Interested in Trying Out Remote Work
Ian insists that working remotely is the way to go for him, and definitely recommends it to others. But whether you are planning on building your own business or you just want to give remote working a try, it’s important to have your boundaries and expectations in place and communicate them clearly.
Being completely up-front about not only how you are working, but also why you want to work that way, is key for both employees and managers. Focussing on the “why” is how Reconciled leverages this as a perk for recruitment and retention: “To communicate [about our remote model] in a way that demonstrates the value that it adds has really helped us be a leader in the remote workplace,” says Ian.
Advice for “would-be digital nomads” as well as entrepreneurs looking to transition to this type of model, he stresses the importance of discipline, and an ability to be very intentional about the way they spend their time.
“I think of remote work a lot as I think of entrepreneurship. It takes a high level of self-motivation and…the ability to basically assemble your day ahead of time and stay focussed on high-priority matters. So I think you need to have that level of self-discipline, and the ability to focus on the returnables of what your day has to offer.”
Living the Dream: What’s next?
So what’s next for Ian? This is only the first of many adventures. He says that his experience in Puerto Rico was “so positive and motivating” for the whole family, that they are selling their belongings and planning on traveling full time.
Want to learn more about managing a remote team? Interested in joining ours? Just reach out — we’d be happy to hear from you!