Lately we’ve featured organizations and ImageQuest workers who suddenly had to adjust to working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here, we’re featuring ImageQuest Technology Account Manager Kim LaGrone, who works remotely whether there’s a pandemic or not. She will continue to be a remote employee once the pandemic restrictions end.
We’re sharing her perspective from more extended experience with working remotely.
When LaGrone joined ImageQuest in 2016, she lived in Nashville and worked in our main office. Then, in 2019, family reasons compelled her to move to the Atlanta area, four-and-a-half hours away.
As LaGrone is a valued employee who is knowledgeable about our clients, ImageQuest chose to keep her as a remote employee. We provided her with all the tools she needed – access to the company VPN, a laptop, monitors, and a printer.
LaGrone also uses our Jive phone system (she loves the voicemail to email application that forwards directly to her mobile), our in-house suite of applications, including GoToMeeting, and our Share drive.
Her transition, happening during non-coronavirus times, was “very smooth, very easy – almost as if I packed up my Nashville office in a little box and brought it here.”
After setting up her home office, LaGrone resumed her client relationship work, now relying more on our suite of Cloud applications.
GoToMeeting, for example, helps LaGrone meet regularly with clients via video conferencing and screen sharing. And Microsoft Teams supports her work on client projects.
“It’s helpful internally because I can see who’s available if I need assistance, particularly when working on something for a client,” she said. “I used to be able to walk over and ask someone. Now I look at Teams to see who’s free and can collaborate with me.”
The key to succeeding at remote work, LaGrone said, is controlling one’s time.
“I think I’m more efficient at home,” LaGrone said. “I do work a little bit longer, and I think I work even harder than I do in an office because I have fewer distractions and fewer things that pull me away. It’s my focus of the day. I have noticed that.”
Establishing boundaries is important, too, because a home worker doesn’t have the break of commuting to and from the office, LaGrone said. She created a dedicated home office that is only for work, and blocks off time to leave it and eat lunch.
LaGrone also enforces a rule of personal time in the evenings. She turns down her office phone around 8 p.m. – but monitors voice messages through email in case something urgent arises.
“If someone leaves a voice message after 8 p.m., I will return the call the next day, if it’s not urgent,” LaGrone said. “My home is my work, and I have to be able to walk away from it at times.”
LaGrone said she will be interested to see how companies handle remote working after the pandemic ends. She expects some companies will continue using remote workers because it may be cheaper.
Those companies that can conduct many functions with remote workers likely “are going to evaluate what they pay on rent and determine if that investment’s worth it,” LaGrone said. “Even if they pay an allowance for home internet or something, it could still be cheaper than paying rent for space to house more workers.
“I think that’s something a lot of businesses will look at.”