It’s well documented through my LinkedIn profile that I work from home; from photos of my morning cups of tea, to the sun blasting in through my office window.
I’ve been working with Corinium for under six-months, which means I am still well within my honeymoon phase of employment. However, because I have only just begun my venture into remote working, it affords me the ability to directly compare my experiences with more “traditional” forms of working.
Before I started at Corinium I read a number of articles telling me what remote working would be like, never having worked from home before I wanted to find out a bit more about other peoples experiences. In all honesty I have found Corinium to be very different to what most of the articles suggested.
I want this article will dispel the main myths that I feel don’t apply to remote working with Corinium.
Myth one: You will become lonely.
This was one of my biggest fears when I started working from home. The thought that I may become a hermit overnight and never see anyone petrified me. This possibility of hermit-hood was increased because that I had chosen to stay in the city where I had studied my Undergraduate, rather than return to my family home, meaning there was a limited amount of people to force me out the front door to socialise.
However, I have found myself being more social now, than ever before! I am lucky to have a house mate who will gladly pull me out of the house for a walk or shopping trip, but even without her I still attend my yoga and dance classes and go to the pub with friends. When you work from home you make more effort, or at least I have found I do. I actively attempt to set up coffee dates, where as previously I would just count the cuppa in the staff room as socialising (when it really isn’t, let’s be honest!)
I think remote working could be a slippery slope to loneliness IF you allow it to be – yet, if you continue doing the things you enjoy when you were working elsewhere it really makes no difference. It also really helps to have a supportive team; Corinium is completely remote based which means we’re all in the same boat. We literally have Slack channels dedicated to non-work matters, because we all know that it’s crucial to build a relationship like you would in a physical office! All work and no play would not build a team spirit. Which leads me nicely on to myth two…
Myth Two: You won’t form a close relationship with your colleagues.
This could be one of those generational differences. Because I am under 25, I am used to forming and building upon friendships online. When it comes to talking to colleagues online, rather than in person, I really don’t notice the difference that much. I won’t lie, I personally think it’s still brilliant to meet people in person, as you get the chance to understand they’re made up of 100% sarcasm not 100% douchebag, which can be difficult to translate online at times (thank god for emoji’s!)
Between online messages, Skype, emails and calls I probably “talk” to my colleagues more in this job, than I have done in others. It can feel awkward talking to colleagues in an office, when you can see they’re right in the middle of doing something, even if you want to discuss a work matter. Whereas I know I can message someone in the team here, and they’ll pick it up when they can. We’re all pretty good at replying immediately and if a message does take a while to get a response there is usually a really good reason, and normally that reason benefits you, too.
As I mentioned above, we also have our company-wide non-work channels, where we post updates of our lives, from adorable doggie photos to our children’s first steps; remote working isn’t synonymous with out-of-touch. We also have a company running club, book club and online yoga classes, too!
A huge plus for me is the fact I’m now working with amazing peers all over the globe – which creates some great conversations about culture, foods and pronunciations of words (including Corinium’s MD, whose last name is a mystery to most Americans it would seem).
Myth Three: You will get very sick of the four walls you live.
I never understood this myth… Surly if you’re working from home, you’re working from your favourite place? I personally love my little apartment – my desk is set up in front of the big window which lets the sunshine pour in (I’m like a flower, I need natural light to produce my best). I guess it’s founded on the same grounds as myth one, loneliness. If I were to never ever leave then yes, I’m sure my little apartment wouldn’t be as appealing. However, I spent two weeks at my mother-in-law’s last month puppy sitting while she was on holiday, taking work with me. I also know of colleagues who frequent coffee houses, park benches and anywhere they focus best for their working day! Working from home doesn’t literally have to mean “home”- I think that tends to be forgotten by many. The flexibility Corinium allows means becoming sick of your surroundings is actually quite challenging.
Myth Four: The boundaries of work and play will be blurred.
This is something I was very conscious of when I first started at Corinium. I didn’t want to be constantly “at work”. This myth, probably more than the others, has truly been proved wrong. I have a very clear definition between work and play. Once the clock strikes 7pm I very rarely pick up work. It can be challenging when working on USA events as the time zones can mean a late phone call here or there, but largely most US folk understand and are happy to put you as a morning priority.
Any job has the potential to sneak into your social life, it’s up to you to make sure it doesn’t. For me, keeping my work emails restricted to my laptop, and not on my phone was a really easy way to make sure I wasn’t checking emails at 10pm. It also helps that my line-manager, who works remotely too, understands the pressures of working from home, so never hassles me out of work hours.
There is also the idea that working from home means staying in bed with the laptop and wearing PJ’s all day. Now, we are afforded much more comfort than the traditional working office, but I’ve never heard of any of my colleagues doing a full day’s work without leaving their bed, it’s just not practical! For most of us here at Corinium we have our own ways of dealing with making sure work and play don’t become too blurred, but for me one way of knowing it’s a work day is wearing a full face of make-up and dressing as though I was going to the office, as it puts me in the right successful headspace that I need to do the best I can.
I hope this has put you at ease if you’re thinking about entering into remote based working, or if you just wanted to know more about how we function at Corinium.
P.s. Here is a my favourite picture from our Halloween Slack Chat! Ceci wins the best dressed in my opinion.