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The Boomer Bulletin - 2013
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Remote Working: 4 Keys to Success

Posted By Arianna Campbell, Thursday, February 14, 2013

Almost two years ago when I found out that my family was relocating because of my husband’s job, I was extremely disappointed at the thought of leaving the Boomer Consulting team. I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to continue my current position from my new location. This was the beginning of my journey to becoming a remote worker. My work situation may be considered non-traditional by many in the accounting industry, but changes in technology and firm culture are making flexible work arrangements more mainstream. However, as I have experienced first-hand, transitioning to a new way of working is a learning process for everyone involved. Here are a few of the lessons that I have learned as I have moved from working in the Boomer Consulting office in Manhattan, KS to my new location in North Carolina. 

Support For Remote Working Starts At The Top

The leadership of the company sets the example that others will follow. Boomer Consulting, Inc. owners Gary Boomer, Sandra Wiley and Jim Boomer understand that a workplace is not defined by physical boundaries. They are united in their thinking that how you work is more important than where you work. This commitment to remote working is communicated to the Boomer Consulting staff by investment in technology, continual training and support of remote team members.

In addition, all three owners are focused on the results of the work instead of micromanaging the process of how the work is completed. Jim Boomer explains this in more detail in his article, Build a Culture of Accountability in 2013: 

"If employees are meeting the goals that were outlined and agreed upon at the beginning of the quarter, it doesn't really matter how many hours they put in or if they checked their Facebook hourly. If employees are truly not working enough hours or if they are seemingly wasting excessive amounts of time, the results will speak for themselves. And results are what you're really after.”

This kind of leadership creates a firm culture that removes many of the roadblocks to remote working. With support from the top, and the technology to make it happen, remote working becomes a reality. 

Technology Makes Remote Working Possible

When I moved, the hardware that I had at my desk in the office was packed up and shipped to North Carolina (including laptop, two 24 inch monitors, printer/scanner/fax, laptop, webcam, desk phone, headset, etc.). Since I do not have IT support on location, I set everything up myself – and I am not tech savvy at all. This is a testament to the efforts of our Director of Technology, Eric Benson, who faces the challenge of choosing hardware solutions that are advanced enough to handle our needs but simple enough for remote employees to understand and assemble. Eric has never seen my office, but in the event that he did need to do any visual IT trouble shooting, we would use screen sharing and/or video conferencing so he could see the issue. We continue to find that moving further into the digital workplace drives innovation. 

In addition to Boomer Consulting owned hardware, I use my personal devices. My Android phone and tablet both have apps for company email, inter-office instant messenger and our VOIP phone system. I use my mobile phone for work related texts and standard phone calls as well. We are in the process of moving to new platforms for our CRM and document storage systems and both of these have apps that allow me to access information anytime anywhere. All firm apps are password protected and our Exchange server settings require my phone and tablet to be password protected. My devices time out after five seconds and I cannot change the required password or timeout settings. I feel better knowing that the firm data is protected by multiple passwords and other security measures.  I have found that the convenience of being able to work from anywhere outweighs any hassle of having to enter my password every time I use my personal devices. 

Communication Can Make or Break Remote Working

Support from leadership and integrated technology solutions are important but communication is the glue that holds the team together.  Communication builds team relationships, strengthens firm culture, keeps processes running smoothly and allows the team to provide a high level of client service.  When you have remote workers, it takes a proactive approach to keep the lines of communication open. 

There are several ways team members communicate here at Boomer Consulting, Inc.:

  • Staying in touch on a daily basis is a challenge so it is important to find ways to "stop by” and say hello. We use our inter-office instant messenger system as a quick way to say hello. This our virtual way of dropping by someone’s desk to say good morning or to ask a quick question. 
  • For a consistent and intentional connection, we have a weekly staff meeting when everyone on the team (including the owners) calls in and shares updates and announcements. 
  • I have weekly one-on-one calls with each of my supervisors (Jim Boomer and Sandra Wiley) via Skype. This face to face interaction is an important part of our communication. It helps us connect on a personal level in a way that is not possible by just talking on the phone. Being able to read expressions and body language leads to clearer communication and lessens chances for misinterpretations. 
  • We also use video conferencing for our quarterly company strategic plan update meetings. Every 90 days we take time to make sure that we are staying on track with our strategic plan for the year. Everyone on the team participates and I join via video conference.   
  • While technology can bring us close together as a team, nothing replaces in person meetings. I travel three times a year to meet with the team and we arrange this around specific team events maximizing the use of the time together. 

Work/Life Definition Decisions Must Be Made

When I tell people that I work remotely, they say, "Oh, that must be nice!” and stare off into space as they dream up pictures of lounging on the couch, eating junk food and watching daytime television while a computer sits neglected in a distant corner. This is not the reality. Working remotely does not change your workload; it forces you to define your boundaries.  Being able to log-on anytime from anywhere challenges you to draw a line between work and life, between home and office, between a cell phone and a CRM system, between an afternoon with your children and one last email that you have to send to a client. 

In my opinion, work/life definition is how you define where work ends and where your personal life begins, and this is different than work/life balance.  Every person who is employed has to make this decision to some degree, but as a remote worker, I have found the gray area is almost infinite until you set your boundaries. This is a personal decision, but it is one that must be made. By doing so, you can increase your focus, become more efficient and increase your quality of work and life. 


Over the past two years I have learned that being a remote worker takes commitment from leadership, integrated technology solutions, communication and work/life definition. As advances in technology continue to push us towards a more digital workplace I look forward to learning how I can continue to improve as a remote worker and bring more value to my team and our clients. 

Tags:  remote working 

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Comments on this post...

Drew West says...
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013
Great article and nice thoughts, Arianna. My working relationship and work environment at Deltek is similar to yours- our HQ is based just outside DC, while I am in New Hampshire. Of course, we have a large office not far from me in Massachusetts, so it's probably a little more convenient for me to go into the office periodically.

Your post, and comments on staying connected with technology, reminded me of the advice Ken McCall and I posted last year ( Following on to your thoughts, perhaps from the employee point-of-view, we provide some advice about enabling remote work and mobility from the FIRM's point-of-view.
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