A few years ago, New York City-based communications strategist Courtney Hamilton and her fiancée decided to forgo a typical wedding, instead eloping to Costa Rica. By the time she returned to the office a week later, Hamilton and her new husband had already decided to keep the adventure going by moving to Los Angeles so he could accept a killer job they just couldn’t pass up.
Her employer, a leading global health communications-and-advocacy organization, faced a stark choice: Lose an important senior director who managed nearly a quarter of the New York office staff and priority client projects, or adopt a new way of looking at work.
They decided to let Hamilton try doing her job remotely. Together, they developed protocols and metrics to preserve her productivity. She started leaning more heavily on teleconferencing and chat technologies to maintain a virtual presence in the office so she would need to physically be there only periodically.
“Within three weeks, I realized I never want to go back to working in an office,” she says. “It was no longer a six-mile commute — it was a six-foot commute.”
The change put Hamilton in charge of her work hours, she says, letting her run her schedule in a way that maximizes her creativity and efficiency. “This wasn’t just good for me,” she notes. “It was good for my team and my employer as well. I can work from wherever I want — my kitchen, my terrace or a co-workspace — and this change of location is key to switching how my brain is working. Plus, working from home makes those 6:30 am calls with clients in Europe feel far less brutal.”
A win-win-win for employers, employees and the environment
The flexibility to work from home has long been a sought-after perk for employees. And as remote work spreads, more managers are discovering the benefits for companies, too.