GoGo Remote interviewed communications expert, Alison LaMantia, on her decision to leave her managerial 9-5 job and go remote.
GoGo Remote: What kind of work do you do?
Alison LaMantia: I’m a freelance communications professional and writer.
GGR: How long have you been working remotely?
AL: I’ve been working remotely since January 2018.
GGR: Why did you decide to work remotely?
AL: I worked in communications for public school boards in Ontario for over a decade, most recently as manager of communications. I enjoyed the purpose of the work but was interested in expanding my experience. I wanted to discover what I was capable of. I also have two small children and decided a traditional 9-5 environment wasn’t going to allow me to create the kind of life I wanted. You can read more about my decision to freelance on my blog.
GGR: What do you feel are the main benefits to working remotely?
AL: For me, it’s definitely the flexibility and the sense of control I feel over my time.
Right now I work from my home office most days. We live in the woods, so I have a great office view, plus I can head out for a hike, trail run or snowshoe during the day.
I’m able to be at the bus stop for my child, can make nutritious food, get my workouts in and still deliver quality for my clients.
Probably the most unexpected benefit I’ve experienced is that it’s helped me build more awareness of my feelings and thoughts. I’ve come face-to-face with self-doubt so many times. I’ve noticed myself having self-sabotaging thoughts.
This level of introspection has impacted other areas of my life. I can’t credit the freelance and remote work entirely for the experience, but it’s definitely played a role because of how it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone.
GGR: What are the main challenges to working remotely?
AL: One thing I loved about the communications team I led (other than the fact that they’re wonderful humans) was the opportunity to bounce ideas off people or talk through challenges. Since I work from home most days, I don’t have people around to have quick brainstorms with.
My husband is a communicator so I can discuss things with him when he gets home. Or, I have some business besties I go to when I need to work something through.
I also have a business coach. I have visions of helping a lot of people — more than I can while freelancing — so having someone help me focus and hold me accountable to my goals is important.
GGR: Do you feel isolated as a remote worker? If yes, what solutions or strategies do you have for dealing with this? If no, why not?
AL: I do a lot of writing about social isolation for one of my clients, so I’m keenly aware of the importance of human connection in our lives.
I haven’t felt isolated. I believe this is because my week is so varied.
I have three full work days per week. The other two days I have my youngest daughter with me. We go to playgroup and volunteer at a long-term care home. The activities provide a lot of meaningful social contact.
I also try to connect with friends regularly — even if it’s just a chat over Instagram. Our options for connecting are extensive. It’s quite possible to build a support network with some consistent effort.
GGR: Do you intend to work remotely for the rest of your career?
AL: Not necessarily, just as I never intended to stay where I was, working for public education, for the rest of my career.
We’re fortunate to live at a time when our future can be so spectacularly unknown. This might scare some people. It excites me. I believe we’re given opportunities constantly. Our challenge is to make sure we’re focused enough to chart a path that will take us somewhere, not jumping at every new thing.
Life is like a choose your own adventure story.
So short answer, no. Ha!
GGR: What advice would you give to someone who wants to work remotely?
AL: I associate working remotely with self-employment, which I realize isn’t always the case. It’s what I know though, so that’s what my advice relates to.
For me, there’s excitement in the constant fluidity of things. But I have felt anxiety creep in when there’s a slow down in paid work.
The advice I was given is to double down on your business and learning during lulls in work. You can plan, create processes, take courses, make connections and work on your self-awareness.
Try looking for one or two stable clients you enjoy that will provide consistent work. I have a client that pays me hourly for up to 10 hours a week. It’s a wonderful non-profit organization, so my work is very purposeful.
Also, create a routine for yourself. After returning from the bus stop, I free write for 15 minutes. I then get my workout in using my Beachbody online subscription. I’ll work for a few hours and then make lunch. If there’s time, I might head outside for a bit. Otherwise, I return to working until it’s time to go back to the bus stop. I try to leave my phone outside my office so I’m not distracted. I also take regular breaks and even set alarms so I remember to stand up. And, I don’t do housework during the day. It’s my work time!
How to connect with me: