There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the idea of location-independent work. Over the past few years, many businesses (large, small and in between) have chosen to become partially or even completely location-independent.
So, a few months ago, Forge3 decided to give it a try… and we haven’t looked back.
What does being location independent mean?
Embracing a location-independent working style means that our team is not tied to a specific location (or office) or a traditional nine-to-five schedule to get our jobs done. In short, we can work from anywhere we please—a coffee shop, the couch or even the beach! As long as we have a wifi connection, anywhere can be our “office.”
Pretty cool, right? But how exactly does it work?
It might sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. Businesses really can be successful with a location-independent working style. Forge3 is proof of that.
Instead of explaining why or how it works, I thought it might be better to show you what an actual week in my life as a Digital Marketing Specialist at Forge3 looks like. So… here goes!
Monday – In the Office
While Forge3 is a completely location-independent company, our entire team just happens to live in the Lehigh Valley area.
Because we are all in close proximity to each other, we like to get together in person every once in a while to hold our team meetings. However, other than some space we maintain at TechVentures in Bethlehem, PA, we don’t have a traditional office, so our meetings take place at a number of different locations.
On this particular Monday, we chose to meet in the (very comfy) hotel lobby at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, PA. We held our morning meeting, took a break for lunch in the hotel cafe, and then finished out the afternoon by brainstorming and project managing some exciting new initiatives.
Tuesday – Client Phone Calls from the Kitchen
Every month, I set up progress calls with our digital marketing clients to ensure that our strategy is being carried out effectively, and to brainstorm and plan future tactics.
On this particular Tuesday, I had a number of these progress calls scheduled. So, I decided to set up shop in my kitchen. I like to take calls in the kitchen because it’s away from the windows, where it’s not uncommon to hear dogs barking, lawnmowers mowing or kiddos playing (those are the best kinds of sounds, just not when I’m on the phone).
Speaking of phone calls, you might be wondering how we get by without office phones. At Forge3, we use a combination of tools to replace the traditional landline.
For run-of-the-mill, day-to-day phone calls or faxes, we use Dialpad. I like this tool a lot because it provides two flexible options—I can either use my computer and a headset to make or receive high-quality calls, or I can connect using the app on my cellphone or tablet to take calls on the go. So, no matter where I am, I’m available.
For conference calls, we use either GoToMeeting or UberConference. Both of these tools allow multiple participants, and provide the option to share our screens. And, like Dialpad, both GoToMeeting and UberConference have mobile apps that can be used on my tablet or phone.
I digress. Okay, now back to my week…
Wednesday – So Many Tasks, So Little Time
I knew this Wednesday was going to be a busy one, so I decided to set up shop in my home office. There’s just something about an organized desk and a comfy chair that gets me into that “get it done” mindset.
Once I made my coffee (I can’t even think about being productive without it), I parked myself at my desk and opened up Flow—the awesome tool that our team uses to plan projects, create and assign tasks, communicate via chat and more. (Side note: Flow has an app, too. Are you seeing a pattern yet?)
After a few productive hours behind my desk, I was feeling a little stir crazy. So, I decided to go for a run.
After some much needed time outside, I was ready to get back to it! So, I logged back on for a few more productive hours, and then wrapped things up for the evening.
It was a pretty great Wednesday, if you ask me!
Thursday – Uh oh… my internet is down
On Thursday, I woke up and my internet was down. I tried resetting, but I just couldn’t get it up and running. So, I gave my internet provider a call, and they agreed to send someone out to take a look… but not until 1PM. Ugh.
Game time decision: I’m going to Wegmans.
When I’m in need of a change of scenery, my local Wegmans is my location of choice for a number of reasons:
- There are plenty of tables and outlets to choose from.
- There’s a strong wifi connection, so I know I’m not missing anything important.
- It’s quieter (in the morning, at least) than the local coffee shop, so I can take calls without worrying about background noise.
- I can get my caffeine fix at the in-store cafe.
After a morning of catching up on emails and managing projects from Wegmans, I headed home to wait for the serviceperson’s arrival to fix my internet problem.
While I waited, I was able to monitor my clients’ social ads from the Facebook Advertising app and answer prospective client emails from the Google Inbox app, both of which are installed on my iPad.
Friday – TGIF!
I love Fridays. Who doesn’t, right?!
On this particular Friday, the sun was shining and the weather was awesome. So, I spent my morning sipping coffee, catching up on emails, and managing digital marketing projects from a comfy spot on my back porch.
I had plans to spend the weekend at my family’s lake house in the Poconos. So, I chatted the rest of the Forge3 team to let them know that I would be driving up to the Poconos over lunch in order to avoid traffic.
Once I arrived, I logged back on and spent the rest of my afternoon and early evening wrapping up any open projects before the weekend began.
The key to making it work
As you can see, when you work at a location-independent company, every day is different. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, according to a survey conducted by TINYpulse, remote workers are happier, more productive and feel more valued.
Here are Forge3, we definitely agree. Over the past few months, we’ve learned from experience that there are two essential elements that make the location-independent method work. First, it is crucial to establish a team that is self-motivated and accountable. And second, it is important to develop a portfolio of useful and effective tools that allow for simple, ongoing communication with the team.
Think that this whole location-independent thing might work for you? Want to pick our brains? Contact us!