Though she manages 12 employees and a few freelancers, Mary Ellen Slayter, the founder and CEO of B2B content marketing firm RepCap, conducts business just fine in her 350-square-foot office space in downtown Baton Rouge. But she’s hardly confined to the Main Street digs.
Slayter sometimes finds herself blasting emails from a coffee shop, holding a conference call while walking the LSU lakes or hosting a Skype session from a coworking space. More times than not, she’s boarding a plane to Dallas, Romania, Washington, D.C., India or somewhere else in the world to meet with a client for a few days.
Her employees are no different: They live in New York, Minneapolis and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, among other dots on the globe. Where do those employees usually work from? Slayter couldn’t say—and she doesn’t care, as long as they complete their tasks.
“I don’t have to limit myself to the talent pool that already lives here or try to convince people to move here,” Slayter says. “I get the people I want, no matter where they live.”
The local executive is part of a growing nationwide movement toward remote working, which is gaining traction in Baton Rouge. Yet there are still misconceptions about what remote working is, who remote workers are and what the trend ultimately means for the economy.
It’s not to be confused with working from home, which, while another popular workplace trend, reflects just a temporary situation. As Inc. declared in a recent article, “work from home is what you do when you work in an office but stay home on Thursday because you need a change of scenery.”
However, remote working means an employee permanently works outside a company’s office—if there even is one. As technology continues to evolve, this style of working has become easier for employers to accommodate and more appealing to a younger generation of workers, who generally crave flexibility and a healthy work-life balance.
That’s not to say remote workers lounge in their pajamas all day, whip up avocado toast and binge Netflix shows under the guise of “working.” On the contrary, these kind of workers must be self-starters with stellar time management skills and a proactive communication style. Without the luxury of a designated cubicle, they must create their own workspaces where they can hunker down and knock out daily tasks.