Role: Digital marketing
Location: Plano, Texas, United States Connect:@merylkevans, meryl.net Remote Since: 2005
My office is a small, dedicated space with double glass doors and a regular door. Sitting at the desk, I face dual monitors (can’t live without them!) and pictures and certificates hanging around the office. I try to keep few items on my desk, but it does contain a desk calendar, pencil cup holder, and a small three-drawer organizer.
Two printers — one color and one black and white laser — sit on the L-shaped desk to my right and behind me. That desk also holds everything: colorful curiosities of all kinds, file folders, paper, phones, supplies, and more. Instead of using the office’s light, I rely on a small lamp for soft lighting.
The nice thing about the size of the office is that I can turn down the heater or air conditioning. The mini heater and mini fan do the job well.
Why I’m Remote Where I’m Remote
While working for a corporation, I fell into my job as a part-time consultant. Eventually, the freelance slash consulting business grew enough that I could do it full-time. Since I’ve worked with a diversity of clients around the world, a home office worked perfectly.
I love Plano its big-city resources and small-town feel. Everything I need is within a few miles of my home office. Yet, I’m close enough to Dallas, Fort Worth, and cities in between that offer a variety of amazing museums and entertainment.
Plano is a well-run city with many impressive programs in place to help its citizens. For example, it has a leadership program to prepare future leaders and a citizen’s program where we learn about all the services Plano offers.
One of my first clients was from Minnesota. We didn’t meet in person until after we had worked together more than five years. I’ve worked with another for more than 16 years and we hope to connect in person soon. A local client found me on the Internet. After working with him for a bit, we discovered our kids went to the same school!
My Thoughts on Pets
The office mascot is a beloved four-legged member of the family. When everyone is out, she rests next to me. You could say she’s the office clown as she makes me laugh with her awkward sleeping positions, bark dreaming, and stare downs.
She and my Apple Watch help me keep moving and take breaks to take her out for her walks. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my work that an hour slips by without my getting up. Of course, who wants to go when it’s freezing or pouring rain? She’s worth it.
It’s thanks to remote working that we could add a furry member to our family. The backyard is nothing but a pool, which makes it hard for a dog to get out, run around, and take care of business. After I had been working remotely for a year, a photo of a dog showed up in my inbox. We knew she belonged with us.
After she passed away, we hadn’t planned on adopting another dog. It only took six months before we gave into the yearning for another member and now we have Melody River, named for a Doctor Who character.
Flexibility is the biggie. I can work out, volunteer, and go to appointments when it best fits my schedule. If the kids need something, I can usually come through for them. go to appointments and help my kids as needed. It’s a matter of balancing the workload and managing deadlines. Everything gets done on time.
Working remotely means I can schedule my life that best fits me. Not having to commute to an office also makes the most of my time.
What Challenges Do Remote Workers Face?
Considering I’m self-employed, the biggest one is ensuring I have enough work. It can also be lonely, but that went away when I joined Orangetheory Fitness as that’s where I get my people fix.
From time to time, a prospect wants to schedule a phone call. As a person born hearing-free, it’s not my first choice for communicating. It leads to an uncomfortable conversation where I explain that a phone call may not be the most efficient way to communicate with me. I’m grateful to have a captioned phone for calls, but there can be awkward pauses while the captions capture what the other person says.
My Best Remote Work Advice
Organized people who are go-getters are most likely to succeed as a remote worker. No one will check on you and watch over your shoulder. If you crave being with people, it may not be for you or you’ll work through it with phone calls and a gym like Orangetheory. Just like we have different learning styles, remote work is a style of working. It’s not ideal for everyone.
When I’m Not Working
Thanks to my playing sports as a child, I learned the importance of working out early on. When I worked in an office, my workday started very early so I had to force myself to exercise at the end of the day. It was a struggle. Now being remote, I work out first thing — well, after I’ve had my coffee and read the paper.
My youngest plays the euphonium in his high school band. I look forward to football season and watching them perform at halftime. It took the third child before I finally made it to a Texas high school football game! I like to try new things and do fun outdoor activities like GoApe (another big plus for living in Plano!).
At some point, I hope to travel outside Texas at least once every year or two. Most days, I relax by watching TV or movies and picking up too many useless TV facts. If the pool ever gets fixed, I’ll be back to summertime reading by the poolside.