If you’re a content writer like me, and you want to work remotely, I have great news.
Content is still queen. So if you're smart, experienced, and ambitious you can have your pick of the litter when it comes to landing a remote position that fits your lifestyle.
That said, as you embark on the job hunt, keep in mind that the interview is a two-way street. There is a BIG difference between a company that lets you work from home once a week, and a company that truly nails remote work culture.
Of course, it’s difficult to gauge a company’s norms from the outside. But here are a few tips that can help you spot a lemon, and land an awesome gig instead.
The Chat App Choke Collar
How a company uses their communication platforms says a lot about how much they trust their workforce. For example, is there an expectation for immediate responses to slack messages or emails?
I write content, I don’t save lives. So 99% of what I do doesn’t require an immediate response. That sort of thing detracts from my workflow in a big way, and I need the ability to go “dark” sometimes to focus.
If an organization wants to keep you tethered to a chat app, or uses it like a time clock, it signals a major deficit in their understanding of remote work functionality. Either they don’t trust remote workers to actually work, or they have a problem with micromanagement. Steer clear!
Flexibility = Trust
Many companies have employees spread all across the globe, which can make live connections a bit of a challenge. This is easily solved by having everyone work at least one day per week during an interval of pre-scheduled core hours.
Think about it. If a company is based in China and you live in Philadelphia, that’s a heck of a time difference. In this case you should expect the occasional odd hour for important calls.
Hourly expectations and working conditions correlate directly to how much a company respects its workers. Of course deadlines matter, but good hiring managers know that it’s the end product that counts, not the time stamp. Run like the wind from any company that wants you to work nights to accommodate their workday.
Some companies like Buffer are setting the bar for a fully remote workforce. But if you’re interviewing for a remote position in which some colleagues are required to go to the office, ask about that dynamic.
There should always be some solid strategy behind the decision to offer a remote option to some employees and not others. If not, that’s a red flag for disorganized leadership. Hard pass!
Sure we can talk about the intangible markers of a positive remote work culture. But none of that matters if a company doesn’t provide the basic tools you need to get your job done.
Contract work aside, be wary of any position that requires you to purchase your own supplies. Cloud-based storage, video conferencing tools, quality hardware, and a stipend for home office costs should be the norm. If they don't have the tools to properly equip a remote workforce, they aren't really ready to embrace remote work culture.
According to CNN Money, working from home can save your employer about $11,000 per year - so don’t be shy about acknowledging both sides of that benefit. If they can’t purchase you a laptop at the very least, keep looking!
Remember that with the right position you can advocate for positive change from the inside. One of the great things about working remotely is that you aren’t limited by the job pool in your zip code, and you so you don’t have to settle. Seek out work environments where autonomy, opportunity, transparency, and respect are the norms - they’re out there I promise.