Author Topic: Remote Work/ Telecommuting  (Read 7827 times)

BrooklineBiker

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Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« on: June 27, 2014, 07:11:11 PM »
Hi,
I am investigating remote/ telecommuting work as a possible mustachian career path. I am curious to hear of people's experiences   doing that work. How did it go? What field did you work in? How well did your employer treat you? How connected did you feel to the people in the physical home office? What were the pros and cons of your experience? How did you find your work? E.g., Odesk, Flexjobs, an existing employer, social media, etc.?

taekvideo

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 11:44:00 AM »
My main income is through tutor.com.
Best job I ever had... just wish it paid more ^^ (about $14.50/hour right now).

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 12:31:19 PM »
I have two at-home gigs. One is Leapforce at Home, which I found online somewhere I guess. It doesn't pay enough to be "real" job but can be a nice sideline. (Full opinion at http://frugalparagon.com/2014/02/05/why-the-frugal-paragon-loves-leapforce-at-home/. Did a blog post so I wouldn't have to type it all out every time.)

I also have a side gig fact-checking and editing trivia questions. My sister found me the job; I don't know where she found it. Maybe Craigslist or Elance?

I'm actually currently looking for a "real" full-time job because I just finished a library degree.

rocketpj

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2014, 02:51:08 PM »
I love remote working, though I find it best to go out of the house to actually do the work.  I often go to the library, or if I'm feeling a bit frisky I'll go to the coffee shop in the harbour and 'rent' the wireless there by having a delicious coffee while I work.  (not mustachian I know, but I don't drink much coffee anymore, and the coffee is much cheaper than the commute would be otherwise).

That will probably change this fall when my youngest starts school and home becomes an oasis of peace for 6 hours/day.

The hardest part is focusing.  My house is full of things I love to do more than working, unlike my office (when I used to have an office).  So it takes more discipline.  But the commute is great.

Cassie

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2014, 02:54:20 PM »
I work p.t. from home teaching an online college class & some consulting. I did turn a bedroom into a home office. I love that I can work in my pj's & also do household stuff all at the same time.

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2014, 07:20:59 PM »
Hi everyone,
Thanks for the responses. It sounds like there is a diversity of jobs out there.  I would love to hear more from others who have worked remotely/virtually....

steadierfooting

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2014, 08:15:03 PM »
I am a data analyst for a large healthcare company that is telecommute friendly.  When I applied for the job on careerbuilder I didn't know that was an option.  The amount that I work from home though is a bit of a fluke, as many of my teammates are based out of the corporate headquarters and go in 4 days a week.  I go into a local office about 20 times a year.  Mainly because there's no reason for me to go in, there's only 1 guy on my team out of the same office, and we don't talk much.  So I'll go in if I'm on a random tight deadline (very rare) or if there's an event, like guest speakers.  They have good free coffee there that I like, better than the cheapest crap I can buy in bulk at costco, and the office is 5 miles away.

I haven't seen my boss in 2 years (I've been with the company 2.5), and I talk to him about once every 6 months, usually dealing with reviews, but work comes organically, I solve it, and then work on the next thing, so there's really no reason for him to be involved with what I do.  Coming from a layoff in the recession I panic sometimes about how isolated I am (I know maybe 10 people out of 200,000) but from what I understand they are fiercely loyal to staff members who eat the company culture and don't make mistakes.

Before this job I was interested in climbing the corporate ladder, but burned out by doing so.  Now I make good money, have 2 kids, work from home, flexible hours, so I'm going to coast on cruise control for as long as I can with this.  The only big issue, is it's going to be a MASSIVE change if I ever leave this place and go back to going into an office.  I don't know if I can do it.  I'm 32 now, and hoping with my growing mustache I can retire by 50 (arbitrarily picked, I think in a couple years as my net worth increases I might try pushing for a part time position wfh).  So I can deal with this for 18 years, especially since I'm not tied to this area --  I can work from anywhere in the US. 


deborah

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2014, 08:44:20 PM »
I once worked from home (Australia) for a company in England, almost as far as you can get from one another. This was before the internet. It was terrific! I would wake up at 6am, do some work, break for breakfast and put some clothes in the washing machine, work, break for morning tea and hang the clothes out, work.

By mid-afternoon, I had done everything I needed to do, so I could work on my own projects around home. Some days I had to discuss things late at night, so I would stop working at lunchtime.

Very relaxing way to work, and I got a fantastic amount done.

mrfilthyrich

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2014, 08:59:34 PM »
I have been working from home for a little over a year now.  I started doing IT managed services work 2 years ago for a company and last May I moved to another country and suggested that I would love to still work for the company assuming they would be open to me working remotely.  Thankfully 4 or 5 others had already set the precedence for working from home so they were okay with it. 

I have weekly conference calls and chat daily with my coworkers via instant messenger so you definitely still feel a part of the team.  For the year I was going into the office I spent an hour and a half commuting every day so it is amazing to get that time and money back.  I was always tempted to buy food from the cafeteria, but now I have no excuse and make all of my lunches at home.  It's not for everybody, but I like the peace and definitely recommend it.

WhoopWhoop

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2014, 11:07:37 PM »
Hi,
I am investigating remote/ telecommuting work as a possible mustachian career path. I am curious to hear of people's experiences   doing that work. How did it go? What field did you work in? How well did your employer treat you? How connected did you feel to the people in the physical home office? What were the pros and cons of your experience? How did you find your work? E.g., Odesk, Flexjobs, an existing employer, social media, etc.?
Been doing it full time for a year and a half. Working from home has been such a relief. I couldn't stand company culture/politics, so working from home was a great opportunity that I stumbled on (I quit my previous job and was introduced to this job through a friend of a friend of my mom).

I'm an assistant/secretary in the medical/workers' comp field. The business owner (my boss) got into business for herself because SHE wanted to telecommute full time, so I get to as well! If you want to find a job like mine, I'd advise you to ask everyone you know if they know anyone who started a business and works from home.

For me, there are only pros to working from home. No cons. The job isn't perfect, but there isn't a single thing about working from home that I dislike. I love that there is limited contact with coworkers, so there's a much lower chance of coworker craziness. However, the odds of my cats cuddling with me on my lap during work hours has greatly increased!

Before working from home, I knew I'd like it, but I wasn't sure I'd want to work from home 100% of the time...I was thinking that 90% would suit me better, because I do appreciate occasional human contact. I was wrong. I'm glad I telecommute 100% of the time.

rocketpj

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2014, 11:44:25 PM »
One point to add - it would be extremely hard for me to go back to working in an office.  I will not do it barring financial extremity (i.e. feed the kids). 

I see a parallel between working at home/telecommuting and home schooling.  It is great and infinitely better if you can keep the discipline for it.  If you can't, you will eventually lose your job, or your kid will be illiterate.

But now that I've tasted the fruit, there is simply no way I will spend another day working in an office - ever.  Unless I own the office, in which case it won't exist because all my employees will work from home.  60% of time spent at work in most offices is spent either being distracted by various forms of bullshit, or wasted by managers who don't respect your time (mostly through cluelessness).

Working at home is very good, but it will ruin you for office bullshit.  Unless you have trouble focusing or have preschoolers running around all day, in which case it would be very difficult.

Christof

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2014, 12:04:38 AM »
I've been working remotely since 1992 in the software development business. The few years I was an employee my employer was just a few houses away. After that I started my own business. I started out with my own office because I was to young to ignore any "no work permitted" in apartment rental contracts, initially sharing the office with another company to save the hassles of dealing with administrative stuff.

10 years ago we bought a house and turned one room into the office. I also visit clients regularly, one of them every week. My employees work from home, too, until recently. For most of them it took them a few months to get used to work without supervision. They easily got distracted. In one case I rented an office, because my employee struggled working from home. He has a small kid which is a lot different then working in an empty home.

Some people need a different environment to make the mental switch from "I'm at home" to "I'm working". I guess that's a bit age related. My employees are between 40 and 65. It would be different for someone in their twenties.

simonsez

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2014, 08:42:17 AM »
Federal employee, statistics/project mgmt.  Work from home ~2 times a week, love it!  Saves 2 hours of commute (shuttle+metro+walk) each day that I do work from home. 

I find being in meetings or conference calls better at home because depending on the meeting, I can work while in the meeting as compared to if I was at HQ I would have to physically be at the meeting.

steadierfooting

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2014, 09:17:06 AM »
Quote
Some people need a different environment to make the mental switch from "I'm at home" to "I'm working".

This reminded me that the first few months people didn't understand that working from home meant that I'm really working.  My dad or brother in law would drop by unexpectedly to 'hang out' and I'd have to turn them away, or they'd ask me to pick up something or stay at their house while a contractor is there.  It took some time for them to catch on.  My wife has always been understanding.

I have an office in my house that I try to stay in, if it's an incredibly slow day I'll carry the laptop around as I get things done around the house, but with telecommuting full time you can't blow off work like you might if it was one day a week thinking, "i'll just work extra hard and stay a little later tomorrow".  I'm suprisingly not easily distracted.  My kids are home with a nanny 2 days a week and I can ignore what they are doing and go about things as if they aren't there, but as they get older it's tough when they want to be picked up by me as I walk by.

Threshkin

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2014, 09:21:03 AM »
I have been working at home for over 5 years now.  I manage projects for a software company and work with teams all over the world.  I started working from home when I wound up in a situation where no one on my team was closer than 1500 miles away.  I just started doing my conference calls and emails from home rather than going to my office.  After six months I made it official.

I used to be highly opposed to working from home.  There is a lot of synergy when tight knit teams work together in the same location.  But the advances in teleconferencing and the emergence of global project teams have made telecommuting a viable option for some professions.

simonsez

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2014, 09:22:15 AM »
Quote
Some people need a different environment to make the mental switch from "I'm at home" to "I'm working".

This reminded me that the first few months people didn't understand that working from home meant that I'm really working.  My dad or brother in law would drop by unexpectedly to 'hang out' and I'd have to turn them away, or they'd ask me to pick up something or stay at their house while a contractor is there.  It took some time for them to catch on.  My wife has always been understanding.

I have an office in my house that I try to stay in, if it's an incredibly slow day I'll carry the laptop around as I get things done around the house, but with telecommuting full time you can't blow off work like you might if it was one day a week thinking, "i'll just work extra hard and stay a little later tomorrow".  I'm suprisingly not easily distracted.  My kids are home with a nanny 2 days a week and I can ignore what they are doing and go about things as if they aren't there, but as they get older it's tough when they want to be picked up by me as I walk by.
+1

I live in an apartment building and don't have the internet.  Physically getting up and going to our business office in the building across the parking lot to pick up wifi tells my brain to kick into work mode.  If I rolled onto the couch in my own apartment to work from home, I'm sure my productivity would suffer somewhat.  I need a little structure.

unix_kung_fu

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2014, 10:28:40 AM »
I am a systems engineer, have been working from home for nearly three years. I take a walk aorund the block every two hours when the weather is nice. Sometimes I'll break and hit the exercise bike (have a high intensity training (HIT) app I do 3x/week).

It's not for everyone though. I love being able to work in bed with my laptop or in my underwear in the my home office. I get to cook/prepare food from scratch, but after the work day is over I really need to get out of the house or I'll go stir crazy.

I found my job in an online job board related to my industry. I get contacted by recruiters on LinkedIn anywhere from 0-3x/week though, the thought of going to an office again kind of depresses me.

karaishere

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2014, 11:08:12 AM »
I'm an Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineer and I've been working remotely for almost 5 years as a contractor. I always say that it takes the right personality type to work from home. You have to be self-motivated to get your work done and not be distracted by your home. I personally like having a home office to separate my work space from my life space. I have two tools for work: a land line phone and a laptop that VPNs in to the secure work servers. It's a nice set up. :)

Pros:
- no commute/ extra sleep in time
- quite workspace
- fewer bs meetings/ meetings actually have a purpose to get stuff done
- somewhat flexible hours
- dogs are happy to be with me/ I can take a short break to take them outside or play
- comfy clothes! (as a rule, I always wear "real" pants, no pjs or workout clothes)
- cook lunch at home

Cons:
- can get lonely at times
- takes longer to learn the faces of coworkers
- people don't always understand that I'm actually working
- occasionally home can be distracting

Most of my cons aren't really that bad; they all resolve themselves with time.

Also, I noticed a comment on team communication and meshing at a unit, and I don't find telecommuting to be an issue with that. In my experience, having team members all over the US forced us to become very good at communicating via phone (primary) and email/chat (secondary). Our team supervisor has actually complimented us on our ability to work as a unit, better than some in-person teams.

I also agree with needing to get out of the house some in the evening after being cooped up all day. It's why I value my gym time so much - socialization and a different space to move around in. :)

oldtoyota

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2014, 11:57:09 AM »
Starting my current job, I knew I might be able to telecommute one day…Flash forward and the place now encourages telecommuting to save money on rent. If you are a web developer, you will likely interact with people in India. That means early AM meetings, which are just better done from home since they are so early.

In one recent call, I was on the phone with people from around the US (and even Asia). Being in the office has become less important over time. Too many times, I was on calls with people from around the country/world and then wondered why I was commuting into an office to talk to people who were not in the same office. My bosses agreed.

It also helps to have measurable work. Folks can see I am getting a lot done, so that engenders trust.

As you know, this saves me time and money (for food and clothing).



sobezen

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2014, 01:41:51 PM »
My team telecommutes on average twice a week; they use to tc four to five times!  Since I just transitioned to the team, I need to wait for six months than I can begin tc'g which will be nice since it allows far greater time flexibility (especially if you have children or aging loved ones).

nawhite

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2014, 02:05:35 PM »
Awesome to read all the responses and ideas for staying on task. I'm starting a work from home job next Monday and I'm a little worried but very excited about the change. Hopefully it works for me!

apfroggy0408

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2014, 07:16:10 PM »
I'm working on figuring out how I can start approaching this.

As an Aerospace Engineer working as a Mechanical Engineer it is still in the works, but we shall see!

I've thought about doing the treehouse stuff to learn some more skills.

I'm trying to get back home closer to my family, instead of 1800 miles away...

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2014, 07:18:59 PM »
I'm working on figuring out how I can start approaching this.

As an Aerospace Engineer working as a Mechanical Engineer it is still in the works, but we shall see!

I've thought about doing the treehouse stuff to learn some more skills.

I'm trying to get back home closer to my family, instead of 1800 miles away...
Can you explain about "treehouse stuff?"


basd

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2014, 11:52:13 PM »
On the one hand I'd love to be able to work from home (more), as I'm in IT this should be perfectly doable.

However I'm with a contractor, meaning I switch assignments roughly every six months to a year, and our clients pretty much expect you to be there in their office, if only to see what they pay for by the hour..

Don't fancy switching to one designated employer as I think I'd get bored soon, which is why I chose to go into contracting.

The best option would be to start my own business, offering services within my expertise that can be managed / executed remotely, I guess.. I've been thinking about it for a while but the right idea hasn't come by yet. Maybe it's time to just try and test some stuff out to see whether people would actually pay me for it :)

apfroggy0408

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2014, 10:23:21 AM »
I'm working on figuring out how I can start approaching this.

As an Aerospace Engineer working as a Mechanical Engineer it is still in the works, but we shall see!

I've thought about doing the treehouse stuff to learn some more skills.

I'm trying to get back home closer to my family, instead of 1800 miles away...
Can you explain about "treehouse stuff?"

To further the link I showed above I have thought about getting into software development so I can work remotely. I could use treehouse as a way to cheaply pay for an education or I've also thought about going back to school to get a masters in software engineer/computer science. I like the cheaper and quicker option, which is treehouse.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2014, 12:26:00 PM »
I've been enjoying the viewpoints on this thread.  One of my goals for 2015 is to get my work to let me telecommute for extended periods, so I can visit my parents on the other side of the country for 2-4 weeks at a time without burning vacation for it.  I think the hardest part, which was mentioned above, is having metrics to show I'm actually working.  I'm the only sys admin at the company and there's really no visibility into what I do on a day-to-day basis.  Sometimes there's projects people need me to do, but 95% of the time I give myself my own tasks.  I document what I can but a lot of it is reading, research and just making sure everything is running smoothly.

eostache

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2014, 01:33:23 PM »
I work in an office right now. It's not bad. 5 miles from home, I ride my bike most days. I have a nice office of my own, and big window that opens. The manager let me bring in an office cat, which I love. This is one office of several for this small company, all located in the Rocky Mtn west.

There are a few people that work remotely from home all the time. Many of the staff are in the field most of the summer and work from wherever they are. Other office people work from home a day or two a week or whenever they need to.

I think that if I was ever to move from this city that they would let me work remotely from home. Most of the work I do is over emails anyways. Right now I'm on a big desktop/double monitor PC machine. They said they will get me a laptop for my next machine. I really like the company. Employee owned and good people. Golden handcuffs.

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Remote Work/ Telecommuting
« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2014, 06:54:06 PM »
Hi everybody,
Wow! Thanks everyone! These are great responses. I think remote work is a great option both for people who have burned out on the cube scene and who are seeking FIRE.