Reading Time: 8 minutes
Where we work, how we work, and even why we work is undergoing a transformation. Workspaces are changing and the days when each employee had their own desk are on their way out.
“In the future, people will be incredulous that we once insisted that everyone in a company lived in the same metro area, which often entailed spending hours commuting each way to an office park where they sat most of the day communicating by digital tools” Blair Reeves
We’ve come a long way in the last 20 years. Just the other day a government organization asked us to fax something to them. “A fax?” we all muttered looking around. “Does the new printer have fax functionality?” “Is there an online service for that?” (we ended up mailing it to them in the end). We don’t notice the creep towards the future until the past comes back to haunt us and we realize how far we’ve come.
Switching to working remotely seemed like a fantastic idea. It would be a win-win for everyone. You were so excited by how productive you were going to be without the usual office interruptions – no more pinging of everyone’s phones, no more trying to focus while people talk about the latest episode of Game of Thrones across your desk.
You’d be in control of your own destination (and thermostat – no more wearing 5 layers so you don’t freeze to death before lunchtime) and you dreamt of all the work you could get done now you really had room to spread out.
Unfortunately, reality hit and you began to realize how much time you suddenly spend: (check all that apply)
On social media
Doing laundry or dishes because you now actually have to look at all the chores you haven’t done.
Driving kids around to and from school/appointments/classes/friend’s houses
Answering questions from your kids once they get home from school
Motivation. What is it good for? Sometimes you have lots of it and sometimes you just don’t feel like working. What do you do on the days that feel like such a struggle? I used to beat myself up for not being as productive as I “should” be if I was having a down day. Finally, after years of being hard on myself, I came to the realization that I have periods of high productivity at work and other, shorter, periods of reduced productivity. And some days, I don’t want to work at all. There’s usually a good reason for those kinds of days.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way to help get me through those challenging times.
What do you do professionally?
I work with companies to build and implement their customer support teams and strategy. As part of this, I spend quite a bit of time looking at Trust and Safety for children’s online products also.
I’m also currently working on building out a company that will provide high-touch support for businesses who want to focus more on the product; allowing my team to become their customer care team.
This is something I have really been struggling with lately. I haven’t wanted to admit it to myself, but I also know that we learn from our experiences, both good and bad. I’ve been self-employed as a freelance jane-of-all-trades business developer on and off for the last 7 years. And while there have been periods of sufficient income, there are the low periods as well where I was scraping by. I’m at a point right now where I’ve decided that 100% self-employment probably isn’t the best fit for me at this point in my life. Queue the search for a complimentary career that will allow me to continue pursuing my passions (helping businesses grow) and afford me the freedom and flexibility I need in a job to maintain my sanity.
I believe that it’s possible to find a J.O.B. that will allow me to continue using my entrepreneurial spirit. Here are some of the benefits I see to putting full-time self-employment aside (until you’re really ready)
Author, Nikki Tate-Stratton playing dingy captain at Marina Cay in the Caribbean
Nikki Tate-Stratton on her life as a climber, author, sailor, and publicist.
What do you do professionally?
I write children’s books on a wide variety of subjects. I work with many different international publishers in a variety of formats. In addition, I produce audiobooks, work as a freelancer writer, a reviewer and as a freelance publicist. I also teach workshops; some online and some offline. The virtual classroom part of my work has really taken off recently.
How did you come to be living a digital nomad lifestyle?
Squeezing in some work at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Flexible working feels like a bit of a global goal at the moment, with as many as 80% of North American companies offering some type of flexible working arrangements.
“I think everyone could use some more flexibility in his or her life and I think the expectation will be that jobs in the future incorporate at least some of these aspects.”
What I’ve come to discover is that the term ‘flexible’ means something different to almost everyone I speak to. Recently I’ve been interviewing a number of people who are working remotely and one of my first questions is always “why do you like being location independent”. Their answer is usually “I like the flexibility” so I began to probe a little deeper on what they meant when they said “flexibility”