by Stephanie Roberts
VP, Client Services, CCP Digital
Luckily, in digital marketing, my work is wherever my laptop and good internet connection are. As companies are being forced into remote workforces due to the pandemic, many are struggling. CCP Digital made a decision to go remote last fall, unrelated to any health crisis, and the timing couldn’t have been better. My home office is above — make it someplace comfortable, with a door. (Dog is optional). In the past few months we’ve settled into working remotely and even our die-hard socialites (me) have to admit that there are some major advantages:
- Having control over your day and your work schedule (where possible) is empowering.
- You can use your former commute time for something luxurious, like going to the gym (in a non-pandemic world), or cleaning out your closets, or sleeping late.
- You don’t have to shower as often (but maybe that’s just me).
- You only have to buy half a wardrobe (although my flannel lounge pant budget did increase).
- Less wear and tear on your car.
- Less wear and tear on your nerves if you have co-workers who bug you (which, of course, we don’t!).
- You can save your lunch money (or apply it to your house slipper budget).
Our decision at CCP was made from an operations standpoint. While we had great offices in an excellent location, our co-workers found themselves coming into the office less and less, only as needs dictated. We probably hung onto the offices longer than we should have because we liked seeing each other, we liked the restaurants in the area, and we loved the foosball table. Once we evaluated the cost effectiveness of working remotely, it just didn’t make sense to do anything else.
The unexpected bonus: We are no longer limited by our local workforce. (Thankfully, I got in when I did). We currently have staff in 3 different states, and all of our clients and projects are digital and spread across two continents, so Zoom is our best friend (BTW, shout-out to Zoom for offering their video conferencing tools free of charge to schools, instead of price-gouging). In fact, the improvement in video conferencing in the past couple of years is what has made this type of workforce not just possible, but productive and profitable. It parallels the broadband streaming movement — the better our internet connections, the more work we can get done, and the more time we have for video “play” — games, TV, movies, social communities. And the more time we have for life.
This workstyle is most difficult for parents with kids at home. The distractions might seem insurmountable, but with a little discipline and a regular schedule, it’s do-able. Lots of people are doing it. If it makes you feel better, I have a friend in New York City and he and his wife regularly work from their small NYC apartment, with 3 children under the age of 8 and a dog. And there is a growing number of young families who hit the road and live in an RV so they can travel and expose their children to new environments daily. So find an affinity group online, pour out your heart, and take advice from those online who love to give advice. And maybe adopt a dog!
One other precaution: Set boundaries with your friends and family! Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean your mother-in-law can stop by whenever she wants to, or your mother can call “just to chat.” Let them know the hours you’re working and then make them respect that. Working from home is still working (but without a cool vending machine).
Those of us at CCP in the Kansas City metro area still plan get-togethers as often as possible — lunches about once a month, play dates on birthdays, pickleball on Thursdays… and dog parks when the weather permits. It’s really the best of all worlds. I’m guessing some of the companies forced to go remote now may not return to the office at all.