Role: Marketing, Strategy, Web Development, Customer Support for a small hosting and software company
Location: Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada Connect: @JayGilmore, jaygilmore.ca Remote Since: 2004
My office is a converted nursery 1/2 bedroom in our two-story house (built circa 1870) in Bridgwater, Nova Scotia. My commute is pretty short; I can get to my office through our master bedroom or the upstairs hallway. I sit at a small Ikea desk with my 13″ MacBook Pro and 24″ Dell monitor; both mounted on a two-arm stand I found on Amazon.
I use the large screen for day-to-day work and my MacBook Pro screen for email, Slack and editing text. When I’m in the mood for music, I plug my Harman/Kardon 2.1 speaker system into my Mac and turn on Spotify while chilling on the comfy, grey sofa, four feet from my chair.
I also have a black laser printer/scanner copier on a small filing cabinet in a corner for the occasional print job; I send colour jobs to the local Staples. It just isn’t worth owning a colour printer these days.
My office also has a coffee table and side table. I keep business and marketing books on the coffee table in case I want to read while on the sofa. My desk also has an articulating arm lamp, a wireless phone charger from Ikea—which allows me to charge while working—a wireless landline phone, and a USB condenser mic I use for video voiceovers (though, it’s not like a Blue mic and doesn’t have any noise cancelling/suppression). I also have business-grade Logitech headset with a mic for voice and video calls.
I use a Blueline A90 notebook for daily notes/tasks: I’m entirely analog this way. I also use a Moleskine for journaling. I store books and office supplies in a black handmade armoire my father built when I was a teenager. I try to keep my office clean and tidy to be a comfortable workspace, but I am not a neat freak.
I’ve been working from home since 2004. My family knows that when I have the hallway entry door closed, I’m likely on a call or doing focused work. If they need something urgently, they’ll text or come to the other entry (which is out of web camera view) to see if I’m busy.
Why I’m Remote Where I’m Remote
In 2004, we returned to my home province of Nova Scotia from Toronto, Ontario. We chose our specific community due to the availability of work for my spouse. She works in healthcare. There are limited positions for her job as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. So, Bridgewater, it was! We’re happy where we landed. This year marks 15 years here.
Our company is officially headquartered in Dallas, though, our CEO is the only one who lives there. Our team is fully-distributed, with members scattered across the US, Canada, UK, Czechia and Serbia. It takes at least two planes to get to Dallas from Halifax. I don’t go often! At this time, it’s been six years since I was there last.
My Thoughts on Pets
I have two dogs. Ozzy, our five-year-old fawn pug, spends his days on a few pillows on my sofa. Mac, our eleven-year-old Brussels Griffon, occasionally graces me with his presence and sits atop the back of the sofa, like a cat, and looks out the window.
Time. I have more of it, and I’m closer to my family. I can spend more time with them and doing the things I love. Speaking from experience, commutes—especially car commutes—are time sinks, energy saps, and can be stressful if you live in a major city with no good public transit to your work.
What Challenges Do Remote Workers Face?
The simple answer for me is the lack of social connection with people on a day-to-day basis. It’s hard to carve out time to be in the same room with other people. It took me a long time to realize it—that it’s an essential need for my well being and also for my other relationships.
My Best Remote Work Advice
Be sure your employer is ready and willing to work to keep you included and to be part of the team—especially if you have colleagues in an office while you’re remote. It can be easy to be left out of the water cooler conversation if the water cooler doesn’t shift into your communication channels or the team doesn’t take time for small talk during meetings.
Set boundaries with the people around your workspace and with your employer and colleagues around your availability. It’s easy to want to work whenever, but we only have 4-6 hours of high-quality work in a day. Blurring the lines between work time and personal time will lead you to stress and ultimately burnout.
Keep up your social circles and friendships and forge new ones. Remote work is remote. You’re often alone, sitting in front of your computer for hours each day. Keep in mind my suggestion about boundaries and pair that with social relationships outside of work. We’re humans, and humans need social connection—even introverts, though they need to recharge after expending their energy in groups. Personally, I’m a shy extrovert and get my energy and ideas from being around people. Not having enough social connection and friends can heavily contribute to burnout and depression.
When I’m Not Working
I love living where I choose, but not limited in the work I can do and the people with whom I can work. Today, the number of remote opportunities are far greater than most people imagine. Tomorrow, people will consider remote the status quo and wonder why people ever moved for work.
I like to write, watch movies, read, and travel with my family (especially transatlantic and longer ocean cruises). I’ve recently started doing videography as a hobby. Let’s see where it goes!