Dallas DeMarr, our Technical Content Strategist lives almost 2,000 miles away from the Turbonomic Headquarters here in Boston and has been working remotely for over a year now. He provided a 'day in the life' rundown on remote work, which you can find here, but we wanted to also get a sense for the work-life balance, the tools that help him be successful while remote and more.
What is it about working remotely that gives you freedom in your life?
My freedom comes first and foremost from how supportive my managers are to the concept and possibilities of remote work. If I may, I'd like to call out Chris Despopoulous (Publications Manager) and Orna Kliger (VP, Technical Training and Global Education). Their support and care were crucial to making this transition successful and far less painful than it could have been.
The greatest freedom I have is of being task-driven, rather than “what are you doing between 9 and 6” driven. I work toward due-dates, not an arbitrary quitting hour. It’s amazing. As long as I pay attention to my meeting calendar and keep my managers in the loop, I am able to take time here and there when needed. For example, my wife is pregnant right now and I haven't missed an appointment, yet! When you are based out of a home office, it's much easier to come home, flip a couple power switches, and get right to work with no set-up or tear-down effort.
What's your favorite part of remote work?
My absolute favorite part of working remotely is the genuine feeling of joy that comes with knowing that even though you're 2,000 miles away, the people you work with trust you to carry your weight. My second favorite part is the flexibility I have to take trips to visit friends and family out-of-state. I'm able to work a full work week while away, but still get to spend time with them between it all.
What have you found to be helpful for staying in touch and feeling a sense of 'being connected to Turbonomic from afar?
Our company meetings are recorded on Zoom, so if I happen to miss one, I can view the recording. If I catch it live, I can participate and interact with the speakers via chat. When I travel to an office, I feel like I'm finally meeting friends in person, rather than the more anemic "putting a face to the name."
Turbonomic has been growing pretty rapidly for a while now, so another nice addition is HelloTeam, a system where you can see an employee's job description and place in the Organizational Chart with just a couple clicks. It helps to get a sense of familiarization with people and what they do before you reach out!
I also make judicious use of our in-house peer recognition system. Turbonomic enables us to officially recognize coworkers who have helped us out or gone above and beyond for us. By utilizing this, I can reinforce that effort spent helping someone who isn’t in the office is congruent to helping someone who is standing at your desk.
Are there specific tools that you leverage to stay connected?
In addition to the company tools provided above, I also make use of to-do lists and phone alarms. It's very easy to lose touch with various components of the office. I use these as reminders to occasionally reach out to solicit feedback on documentation or just say hello to people whom I haven't conversed with in a while.
In what ways has Turbonomic helped make working remote easier on you?
Turbonomic has done a lot to assist in my transition. I was given a standing desk on request, and if I ever find myself lacking in anything from a headset to an office pen, a quick email is all it takes to get more. Recorded meetings also make things much easier to stay connected to what's happening. As mentioned above, my management is incredibly kind with regards to how medical or family issues can impact my work day. Lastly, if I feel like it has been too long since I've been to an office, I've never had any issue requesting to come in for a week and catch up with everyone!
Finally to wrap things up... what would be your advice to someone looking to work remotely?
I would suggest first that you work in the office for a while. One of my greatest advantages was that everyone in R&D knew who I was by the time I began working remotely.
I would also suggest not hopping into it all at once. Start out by working remotely a day or two per week. Once both you and your manager are comfortable with that, try a full week without coming into the office. There are many hidden pitfalls to working remote. For example, if your manager has limited or no experience having a remote employee, you may need to give them some time to adjust, too.
Finally, a reinforcement of something common-sense: Honesty and communication are key if you're working remotely. It's always very important of course, but it's easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated as you sit in a quiet home office, with only your cat to lament to. I will sometimes message someone or hop on a quick call just to feel connected, and that's totally okay to do!
If working at Turbonomic sounds interesting, check out our careers page for more information!
About our featured employee:
Dallas DeMarr joined Turbonomic in 2015. First he started off working as a QA Engineer in our New York Offices, but after being in this role for a while, he noticed a Technical Writer role opened up and he thought it would be a great lateral career move. Ever since, he’s been working as one of our technical writers while working remotely in Colorado. In his free time he enjoys playing video games, catching the latest show on Netflix and being with friends and family.