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Remote working: Insights from the Recharge team
Recharge Annual Retreat — Oceanside — January 2018

Working remotely (also known as telecommuting) is not a new concept in 2018. In fact, the New York Times reported that today, 43% of Americans report working remotely at least some of the time. That’s almost half of the workforce.
It makes sense as to why: Modern employees crave the flexibility and freedom that comes with working remotely. Gallup poll data found the ability to work remotely with flexible scheduling and in a work-from-home environment was a major role in an employee’s decision process to either take or leave a job.
But remote work is not all about an employees wants and needs. It’s also good news for a business’s operations and bottom line. Data proves this:

  • Higher efficiency: 30% said that remote work allowed them to accomplish more in less time -ConnectSolutions
  • Less stress: 82% of remote workers reported lower stress levels -PGi
  • Lower turnover: Job attrition rates fell by more than 50% when remote work was enabled -Stanford

Here at Recharge, we’re very much on board with the idea of remote work, too. While our headquarters are located in Santa Monica, California, part of our team works remotely from all over the globe.
To give you a peek inside the lives of our remote team members, we interviewed a few to hear about the pros and cons of remote work and to see how they manage day-to-day tasks while working outside our office.

Evangeline Couling: Onboarding Manager at Recharge

What are the major pros and cons of remote work in your experience? Are there things you love/things you miss?
Pros:

  • No commute! Being able to just roll out of bed a few minutes before you have to clock in is a magical thing.
  • Being able to give my work 100% of my focus without the usual distractions of an office space.
  • Sometimes it’s just a comfy sweatshirt and yoga pants kinda day. It’s nice to be able to have that option.

Cons:

  • Not being around my co-workers. I work with some really amazing, wonderful people and I would love to be able to go out and have a drink with them after a hard workday. Or go hang out on the beach with them in my off-time! I do very much miss that connectedness of working in an actual office space — especially when your co-workers are as amazing as mine!
  • It can be difficult sometimes to separate yourself from your work when it is physically in your house. It’s always easy to just pop open your computer in the evening and catch yourself looking at your work Inbox.

How does team collaboration happen in the remote work environment for you? Are there channels/tools that help foster connectedness?
Slack is our primary means of communication and collaboration. While we have our channels for more work-related conversations, we also have some rather silly, random questions that are truly the backbone of building an interactive, cohesive team. We have a channel to talk about our pets, a channel to talk about sports, a channel to talk about memes and ridiculous things on the web. It’s like standing around a water cooler together. It’s a very important part of the remote work experience because it helps to build culture and connectivity.
What’s your home office setup like?
I work a good bit from a co-working space just down the street from where I live. There I have a simple desk with a notebook, pens and my favorite coffee mug. Nothing too fancy.
However, my desk at home is a bit more personal. I have a little potted plant my Mom gave me. A jar where I keep my collection of sea glass from the lake just across from me. Various little nerd-related knick-knacks. A drawer full of office supplies. I think it’s important to surround yourself with things that you enjoy while at work. It’s sort of like putting pictures up in your cubicle. It just makes it feel a little more enjoyable to go to work.
What’s the #1 misconception about remote work?
That we never get anything done because we work from home. People say things like, “Oh my gosh, I’d be too distracted by the laundry I need to be doing or the dishes that should be washed.” I find it to be just the reverse. Most people I know find that they actually end up working harder and with more focus in their home space.
What tips do you have for other remote workers?
Finding a healthy work/life balance is one of the most important tips I can offer. It is so very easy to work yourself to death when you don’t have that physical separation of being able to leave your office at the end of the day.
Another thing that is incredibly important is scheduling yourself to get out into the world and socialize. It can be far too easy to just stay inside all day long when you work from home. Making sure that you have plans with other people is very helpful in getting yourself out into the world and giving yourself a bit of that work/life balance that you need.

Product Team Retreat — Playa Del Rey — May 2018

Lorena Maldonado: Customer Success Agent at Recharge

What are the major pros and cons of remote work in your experience? Are there things you love/things you miss?
Pros:

  • I can travel anywhere in the world!
  • I can be productive in any way that I choose: Sometimes I prefer to work in a garden with the sunlight or if I don’t feel like doing that one day, I just go to a coworking space.

Cons:

  • I do not get to see my colleagues every day
  • Retreats are one of the few times we get face-to-face time

How does team collaboration happen in the remote work environment for you? Are there channels/tools that help foster connectedness?
Slack and Zoom are key for this. We have meetings over Zoom and Slack is such a great tool to keep in touch with everyone.
What’s your home office setup like?
My current home office is the couch of my mom or my niece’s desk (at the moment, I am in my home country staying with my family for a couple of weeks). I have had over 10 offices over the past two years, but I think my favorites were:
– Coworking at the top of a mountain in Costa Rica
– Back patio of an antique house in Chile
– Kitchen table in Mexico
– Coworking space that use to be a warehouse in Uruguay
– Home desk in Argentina

Basically, as long as I have my computer and good internet (super important), I can work anywhere.
What’s the #1 misconception about remote work?
That it is easy because you don’t have to commute (and that you have no right to be tired when your work is entirely screen-based).
What tip do you have for other remote workers?
Travel if you can and if your company allows it! Traveling and having the chance to work while you do it is one of the most rewarding experiences that a person can have.

Growth Team Retreat — Las Vegas — March 2018

Lacey Grubb: Partner Manager at Recharge

1. What are the major pros and cons of remote work in your experience? Are there things you love/things you miss?
Pros:

  • I can wear yoga pants all day if I want
  • I get to snuggle with my dog
  • I don’t have to leave my house during a snowstorm or sit in traffic
  • I can work from another state or country if I want

Cons:

  • Not getting enough social interaction, I sometimes miss the “casual conversation” that takes place in an office setting.

How does team collaboration happen in the remote work environment for you? Are there channels/tools that help foster connectedness?
The biggest source of collaboration for me is Slack. It’s great for when you have a quick question for someone or just want to share a funny story or GIF with a co-worker. I like that we also have non-work related Slack Channels so we can get to know each other on a more personal level.
For instance, I know that Evangeline is into sailing, Nick likes riding his bike on trails, Corey is into a bunch of weird music, Oren likes finding interesting beers to drink, Garrett plays drums in a band and Pietro loves cooking. I wouldn’t know a lot of this stuff without our various Slack channels!
What’s your home office setup like?
I move around from my office to my basement quite a bit. I have a treadmill desk in my basement that my husband built me out of wire shelving, so I try to walk on that while I work for 1–2 hours a day. In my upstairs, I turned one of my guest bedrooms into an office last summer as well.

What’s the #1 misconception about remote work?
That you can get so much housework done because you’re home all day! It would be great if I were talented enough to multitask like that, but I find it too distracting to try to do housework while also trying to be efficient and effective at my job. You almost have to be more disciplined because at home, you can easily get distracted doing things that you wouldn’t be able to do in an office.
What tip do you have for other remote workers?
Get out of your house once in awhile. If I have an afternoon without any client calls scheduled, I make it a point to go work at a cafe near my house. It’s nice to shake up your routine and also helps you feel not so isolated from the outside world.

Remote Working: Part of the Recharge Culture

Our team, both in-office and remote, thrives in their work environments — thanks in part to modern tools that aid communication and technology that makes interconnectivity simpler than ever before.
But that’s not to say we work separately 100% of the time, either. We also make it a point to take group retreats together so everyone gets face time with their co-workers and company leadership. Check back for a recap of one of our Recharge retreats in the near future to get an inside look at what those events are like.