Dare to Leap Podcast with Kathy Goughenour

Companies Will Adopt a Hybrid Working Mode with Megan Purdy

Megan Purdy is the Marketing Manager at Cronos Consulting Group and the Operations Manager at Canadian Payroll Services. She is a huge advocate for remote work and dives into this week’s episode to explain some of the common myths and misconceptions remote work has. Are you afraid your team just won’t get good work done while they’re away from the office? Studies show they’re actually outperforming when they’re comfortable and working from home.

Companies Will Adopt a Hybrid Working Mode with Megan Purdy

Hi everybody. It’s Kathy Goughenour with a Dare To leap Podcast. Today, I have the great honor of interviewing Megan Purdy. Megan is the Operations Manager for Canadian Payroll Services, CPS, and she’s the Marketing Manager for Kronos Consulting Group.

At CPS, Meghan develops a service-offerings, manages internal projects and supports the business development team. At Kronos, she develops corporate communication brand strategies for the Cronos group of remote companies. That might give you a little hint on why she’s here talking with me today, that word remote! Megan has over a decade of experience in leading customer and account management teams in the HR tech and digital publishing space. Before joining the Kronos family, she was the managing editor of work-ology, the founder and publisher of WWAC and a freelance writer and editor. She has extensive experience in content marketing and social media management.

Welcome, Megan.

Thanks for having me, Kathy.

Yeah. So, with your extensive background, I just want to say you had to have started when you were three years old because you look like you’re about 18, maybe 21 at the most.

I’m not my age, but, I’m definitely older than you’re think.

Well, anybody who’s not watching the video version of this, if you’re listening to the audio version you’re missing out because Meghan is rocking it today. She’s styling today with makeup on and everything. I did not join her in that, but I will tell you, if I had beautiful skin like yours, wow, I would be a very happy woman

For the first time since March, our whole team has been completely remote since mid-March, I did my makeup for the first time since then. And I had forgot a few things, but it was still fun. It’s nice to get glammed up once in a while. Maybe not every day.

Well, you look really good and I appreciate you being on here today. So, Megan, tell me a little bit about the company that you work for and what you guys do at that company and anything that you want to share about remote working that goes on in your company.

For sure. So, I’m the Marketing Manager at the Kronos Consulting Group. We are a 20 year old recruiting firm that specializes in really highly skilled, hard to fill roles. And I also do operations over at Canadian Payroll Services, which specializes in connecting really talented Canadian remote workers with global firms. So, everyone we payroll is either remote, as in working from home, or they may be onsite. The vast majority of the people that we’ve worked for in the last couple of decades are remote workers, two different kinds, of course, you know, onsite workers have one need. And working from home folks have different needs. But that’s the core of our business. And, as I said earlier, when I was talking about my makeup, we went fully remote ourselves. We had already had like a flex policy in place as any sensible company in 2020 does. But with the advent of the pandemic, we decided to go fully remote, which we completed March 13th. And so we’ve all been working from home since, and it’s going really great. We’re all really happy about it.

That’s excellent. I have a couple of questions about what you talked about first, you mentioned that your company already had a flex policy. Could you tell me what that looks like? A flex policy at your campus?

For sure. So, flex work generally means that your schedule is open to some kind of flexibility and, within that, it can be a few different things. So, it might mean that, let’s say you’re a new mom and you want to be working half days for a little while. Your company would allow that, or perhaps you want to be home with your kids more. You might have three working days at home, two in the office, or it could be, you know, a temporary work from home placement. So, having a flex policy basically means that your company is open to a variety of working arrangements within the team. You’re not necessarily a remote first company, where-in everybody works from home and there’s no central office, but, depending on the needs of your team, you are able to change working arrangements.

I love that. I love the terminology that you’re using – remote first, which means you always work at work remotely. Is that what you’re talking about? Their work room at first and then the flex policy where depending on, is it a combination of the individual needs and the needs of the company to work out that flex arrangement?

For sure it should be a negotiation between the employee and the company. There may be some real need for the specific worker to be in the office at certain times. Like there could be meetings or certain collaborative activities or could even be the company just has not yet moved all of its functions off of like an in-office machine. So not everything can be installed remotely sometimes. The license requires that they’d be in office for one function. So, it needs to be a negotiation based on the needs of the employee, the needs of the team and just the reality of the company setup.

Yeah. And you also mentioned that your company helps with the fill hard to fill roles. Could you talk a little bit about what a hard to fill role is?

Sure. So, when we talk about hard to fill roles, we’re talking about either extremely skilled folks where there’s only a few of them in the world who can fill that role. So, for example, we used to work a lot in mining engineering and the nuclear space. And there’s only so many nuclear engineers, you know? So, knowing who those people are and being able to fill those roles, is it a great niche to be in, when it comes to things like marketing and development, those roles are different, but there’s still only a limited number of people who can fill growing roles, right? Like there’s so many new roles in the tech space, and digital marketing where people are just gaining expertise. So, part of our practice is to find people who can fill those roles. So, rather than going for like bulk recruiting or, you know, okay, another front end developer, we want to focus on the hardest to fill roles.

Wow. That I did not know. You meant really, really hard to fill roles like nuclear. Got it. I got it now. So, and it’s very interesting that you mentioned digital marketing also because I find, and I’m sure you have the same experience that with every new tech thing that happens. And don’t you love how technical I am when I say tech thing, you know, I’m really good at this stuff, but with every new thing that comes out, you immediately have needs and they want people to already know how to do it, and you can’t do that overnight. So, you must have a good feel for who can learn those new technologies really quickly.

Yeah. I mean, digital marketing is one of those fields that is transforming so rapidly and is constantly transforming. You know, it’s not like we finished the Google translation and now it’s stable. No, like new things keep coming in every day. And marketing as a whole is a vastly more technical discipline than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago, you know. Like people have a vision of advertising and marketing as being still kind of the mad men era. And it’s so much than that. But you gotta think of like programmatic advertising, learning, keeping up with all the changes in Google Ad algorithms, stuff like that. It’s an incredibly technical discipline these days. That’s not to say it’s not creative. Of course it’s still an incredibly creative discipline, but you have to somehow merge those two. And unfortunately not everybody is able to keep up with that pace of change.

Right. I totally agree with you on that. As a business owner who markets, my business is exclusively online. I market exclusively online. I actually have people who do the creative part and other people who do the technical part, and then they have to work together to make sure it all fits together. I find it very rare to find somebody that can do all of it.

Yeah, for sure. You’ll see that sometimes in small businesses there’ll be posting for a digital marketing rockstar. Who’s supposed to make videos, manage the advertising campaigns, publish everything on the website. Six to seven people. Yeah. That would be a unicorn. If they found that person, maybe a Pegasus, we gotta go a little more rare than just a unicorn put some wings on it.

I’m gonna remember that one. So, talking a little bit more about your company. One of the things that always intrigues me when I talked to somebody who has a flex policy like your company has, and who has remote work like your company has, are what’s the percentage of people in your company? What’s the makeup of people in your company who are full time employees, part time employees or independent contractors.

So, we don’t have any part time employees. Our core Canadian staff is all full time. And then we engage some contract workers who are also currently employed with us full time. And they are in the States, India, Friday of locations, primarily working on like niche development programs, projects that we don’t have the expertise in house for. So everybody’s generally working full time.

Okay. And the independent contractor roles, do they tend to be long-term on the average or temporary?

It depends on their project. Some projects might take two years. Others could be two weeks. I would say nobody’s truly employed full time as an independent contractor, cause that’s not really the best way to utilize contract labor in general. If somebody is going to be full-time permanent, they should become an employee. But for us it’s project based. So, when we’ve got a team that’s working on a longer project for some of our in house technology and I’m also working with some contractors on our website and that’s a much shorter engagement.

Okay. Thank you so much for sharing that. And, do you find that you have to interact with employees versus independent contractors differently? Are they different, or do you feel like they’re pretty much all the same, but I went to all the same to manage and keep happy.  

I would say yes and no. I know there’s certain management principles that are the same, no matter what, right? Like being a decent person, communicating clearly, having extremely clear expectations, every single person that you work with, you should be able to provide that. Whether it’s an employee and you’re mapping out a project or you’re working with the contractor to build out the project map, that that’s all the same with an independent contractor though, you really should be able to expect and get more independence. And there shouldn’t be as baked into your business processes of course. As an employee, you’re probably gonna have a more collaborative experience, but a contractor should be able to run away with a piece of product and return their deliverables with little less management. That’s kind of the whole point of engaging contract labor, I think.

As we return to the office as stay-at-home orders are lifting, I hope companies and every manager remembers that remote work is a possibility. Share on X

Right. And thus the term independent.

I mean, there’s definitely personality types that love independent contracting more than they do being an employee. There’s some people who they go to independent contracting and they love that independence and freedom to structure their day and they never go back. And then there’s other folks where they try it and it’s just too stressful. Because they kind of have to be their own boss and hustle for work. And so they come back into the fold and become an employee again. So I’ve done both myself. I spent a few years when I was a freelance writer as an independent contractor. And that was great for me for a long time, but right now, being an employee is what fits better.

Yeah. And isn’t it awesome that there’s the opportunity to do either one, depending on what works best for you at the time in your life that you have right now. Cause that’s really, I don’t know what you think, but I really feel like there are different times in our lives when I’m being an employee versus being an independent contractor, might be better for you. Or, doing flex work might be better or are doing remote work might be better or being in an office might be better. What do you think about that, Megan?

Yeah, absolutely. There’s definitely times in your life where the working arrangement that you’ve been used to for a long time, it’s just not gonna work for you anymore and you shouldn’t be trapped in it, you know? Like say you’ve been working corporate for 20 years and you’re just ready for something different or you’re starting a family or just something is so significantly different in your life. You should be able to, and thank goodness we can now try something different. Remote work, contract work part time, even I think like part-time arrangements are so underestimated as well because there’s so many folks who could really benefit from a few months of going part time and they’re still going to contribute so, so much, but they just need to dial back at it for a little while.

Oh, I love that idea. Instead of not working at all, dial back a bit and work part time.

Yeah. I mean, I find that, especially when it comes to personal challenges, and even like mental health issues, sometimes taking a complete break is actually worse for you because you can be so isolated then. Whereas being able to work part time or even being engaged with your former employer on a contract basis, it lets you still get opportunities to network with the people that you’re used to networking with and having a feeling of accomplishment that comes from work.

So, when we think about remote work, and of course, as you mentioned with the pandemic, a lot of people had the opportunity to try out remote work. Let’s talk about two different reasons people and businesses might decide that remote work is good.

Could you share a couple of business reasons you feel like we’re offering remote work to people in your company could be good?

There’s a whole bunch of really compelling business reasons. The first one obviously is your bottom line, right? If you go to a fully remote team, you’re no longer spending on infrastructure, you’re no longer spending on commercial rent. And you and every member of your team gets so much more flexibility, so much more time in their day to devote themselves to work. So, when I was working in the office, I would commute to downtown Toronto. And that would take me about 45 minutes each way. And that was 45 minutes of essentially dead time. Cause I’m on the subway. Right. So I can’t check emails. Can’t do anything else.

If the subway breaks down, which it does a lot in Toronto, cause it’s a stressed system. I might lose two, three hours of the day because I’m just stuck in the tunnel and that’s that. So you’re saving a lot of time. You’re saving a lot of money. And honestly you’re saving a lot of stress. Of course, many people love the camaraderie of being in an office and being able to just walk over to each other’s desks. But at the same time, even the most social extroverted people do get stressed by unexpected interruptions. You know? So when you’re at home, you have so much more control over that.

Yeah. And I just did a webinar yesterday and shared statistics on how much time you lose when you multitask and multitasking can be somebody interrupting you and your office.  

I’m not sure that I believe there’s such a thing as multitasking because you agree so much time to move from one another and you lose some. So along the way, and every time you’re interrupted in your office, you don’t shave a few minutes of productivity off of your day. Right. Because you have to kind of brain, Oh yeah. What was I doing? Spreadsheet.

Yeah. I believe that studies show that your brain truly cannot do two things at once. It switches between them. So yeah, you’re right about that.

And if you find it, you know, playing on your phone in a meeting, cause you think you can multitask, just know that you’re lying to yourself. You’ve completely doomed out at this point because I’ve done this, too.

I know me too. I was listening to somebody ask a really long question the other day on a zoom call and they were asking me the question and I checked email and I thought, Oh, I just look real fast to see if this person replied to me. I mean, that’s all I was doing. I wasn’t even going to reply to email, just checking to see if they replied. Cause I thought this was going to go on forever. And of course it ended. And I was like, what?

I remember being a university student and the professors would get so angry if you, were distracted in any way. And I thought that was so ridiculous when I was a student, you know. I’m taking great notes. I can play this game. And also listen to this lecture. It’s no big deal. He’s wasting so much of my time. Now as a manager, I’m like, Oh no. You know, because I didn’t realize that I was completely zoning out.

Yeah. But Megan, I can tell you that you are a really good manager to know this because I get a lot of complaints from people who say that their manager at the job they work at will say, why are you just sitting there doing one thing? Can’t you do this and this also. So, they don’t know.

So, maybe I’m over organized sometimes. But, I ask all my team members, especially now that we’re remote, to put in a lunch hour into your day, put breaks into your day, like schedule it in the calendar, set reminders for yourself. This is a block for you to work on creative projects. This is a block for you to work on, you know, analyzing things. And that time has to be really sacrosanct, right? Because there’s just no way that you’re going to be able to create an advertising campaign while you’re also trying to push updates to the website, connect with the contractor about some programming issue and so on.

Well, I’m ready to come work for you, Megan. I love your kind of management. You are one smart lady, but I knew that already just from interviewing you before this.

So, do you recommend time blocking on calendars as a way to manage your time?

Yeah. I mean, it won’t necessarily work for everyone. But, it’s kind of how I work. And I think if you keep track of what you have, how you work over the course of the week. I think you might find, or at least a lot of people will find that they have been time blocking and they don’t know. And, they also have an ebb and flow throughout the day and throughout the week in terms of productivity, attention span, and just capacity to work on one kind of project versus another. And I think you should be kind to yourself. And you should be honest with yourself. If you have just no capacity to do writing first thing in the morning, don’t try to do writing first thing in the morning, you know? Do your email, get your scheduling out of the way, check on reports, do that writing in the afternoon after you’ve had a break. You have to use your time sensibly, don’t force yourself. You know, you’re not on a factory line here.

Yeah. Thank goodness. I’m glad I have not had to work on a factory line. I would do it if I had to feed my family, but I would not do it just for fun.

I’ve never worked on a factory line, but I had worked in retail for a long time and in retail they loved time studies, you know? And they kind of work it out for the whole day, like exactly how you should spend your time and not to knock retail. But I think even there, people have capacity for different things at different times of the day. Maybe they shouldn’t just be on the cash all day. Maybe you give them some time to work on something else as a break.

Oh yeah. Oh my gosh. I did not realize that I’ve never worked in retail either. I’ve lived a sheltered life. Haven’t I? Thank you for sharing those business reasons. You also believe that there are compelling social reasons to embrace remote work. Could you talk about those?

Yeah, for sure. I feel like for a long time, many of us were writing about these issues and they weren’t getting a lot of uptake, but, with the advent of the pandemic and so many people going to remote work, I think suddenly they’re getting a lot more attention. So, you may have noticed coming up in your own feeds suddenly there’s a lot of articles that are like, Hey, I wanted to work remotely for 10 years and I couldn’t get it set up. Suddenly everyone is interested in accessibility and everyone’s working remotely and suddenly companies are capable of offering these accommodations. So, some of the issues that I’ve been writing about over the years and working on with my employers are to do with remote works capacity to aid in accessibility, diversity, and inclusion, right? So when you’re working from home, you suddenly have so much more control over your environment.

Studies show that a majority of workers are performing better than ever, they’re more productive; they get more out of their day. There’s less distraction. Share on X

So, whether you have a disability, it could be visible or invisible. It could be a physical disability. It could be a mental health issue. Once you’re at home, you can control that environment. You know, you might have a light sensitivity and you can now fix that instead of being sort of assaulted by the office lights all day. Or say you’re working in a wheelchair and your office has really struggled to get everything in place that they’re required by law to get into place. But at home you’ve got all your ramps. Everything’s wide enough, suddenly you’re capable of doing so much more. And the same goes for diversity inclusion as well, right? Women particularly struggle in the workforce because when they start families, there’s so little flexibility when they leave. And when they return. With remote work, it gives them so many opportunities to customize a workday, to what makes sense at each stage of growing a family.

You know, some people would want to come back from maternity leave earlier than they might want to come back, or earlier than they’re able to, if they could work part time or if they could work remotely. Other people want to stay home longer. You know, every single person is different, but with remote work you can really customize it and figure out what works for you and works for your company. And it’s weird to say the good thing about the pandemic. One of the good things is that we are capable, right. And all of these organizations were so resistant to remote work and have these sort of rigid processes. All of a sudden those are broken down and you realize that it was so much easier than you thought it was.

Yeah. I have watched in awe as all these companies that said, no, we will never allow remote work. We’re not gonna allow flex time. We’re not going to allow any of this stuff. Now. They’re like, Oh yeah, we have to do it.

All of a sudden you realize it doesn’t make that much, not that bad. And its policy perspective to get it going, you know, and I hope, as we return to the office, you know, because a stay at home orders are lifting in so many places, lots of people are going back to work. I hope that the companies and every manager remembers that this is a possibility, right? And they offer it to their workers in the future. And, nobody’s looked down on for it.

You know, sometimes people are punished for asking for accommodations or for seeking some sort of different arrangement. And that shouldn’t be, at least it should be embraced because these people could perform so well for your company and they’re not able to, because there’s some kind of a barrier that you’ve put into place.

I have a colleague who is allergic to air conditioning. And she has severe reactions to air conditioning, but she is a brilliant business woman. And as a result, she did choose to start her own business because that was the only way by working from home, where she could actually control that environment.

Yeah, for sure. There’s just so many cases like that. And sometimes it’s a list of things like you’ve got folks with chronic pain or chronic fatigue and maybe they just really need a nap. And it’s not a huge accommodation, but there just is no space at the office for it. So, by allowing them to work from home, like they get exactly what they need and you get what you need, which is a high performing happy employee. And I think it has a positive effect for your company culture as a whole, you know, like it’s not as though having people working different hours or from different spaces will dissolve your sense of unity or something. Instead, I think you have a much more flexible, resilient organization that’s open to change and open to new ideas. So, I think it happens more naturally that way. It’s less likely that you’re going to commission. You’re going to put together an internal commission for a report to create a report, to analyze your diversity statistics, and then make an action plan and so on. Instead, once you open yourself to different people working differently and approaching the work differently, that starts to happen a little more naturally.

Yeah. Which brings up another question that I have for you. What advice would you give to the companies? And maybe it’s not so much a company, as a manager or perhaps it is a company culture who, and I’ve read this in several different articles since people had to work remotely for COVID. The managers are worried that the employee will not work and will not get their work done because that manager is not there to watch over their shoulder to make sure they get into work on time to make sure they’re actually at their desk. So, what advice would you give to those people?

Well, the first thing I would say is don’t install time tracking software. You already obviously have a trust problem in your team, where you don’t trust your employees to handle themselves. And perhaps they don’t trust you either. There’s some sort of negativity there where perhaps they’re underperforming, and that does need to be addressed, but tracking them is not going to help. It’s just going to make them perform less. And you’re going to have a whole lot of data that you really can’t do anything with. So, we’re sort of generating data for no reason. The first thing that you should do is talk to them, right? Find out what’s going on, what’s causing this underperformance, starting late. It could be an environmental issue, right? So, I love remote work. And I advise it for everybody if that’s what they love, but not everybody’s home is set up for remote work.

They might not have a workspace set aside. They might have roommates, family, pets, something like that. That’s just making it difficult for them to stay on track the whole day. And that’s okay. You can work with that, right? You can find a way to help with those difficulties, whether it’s maybe it’s a split day. Maybe you send them a technology, you send them a headset, you send them a computer set, whatever it is about their environment that’s causing that challenge. And then just on a personal level, like it’s obviously an incredibly stressful time right now for everybody. And I think you need to make some allowances for that. And, you don’t want to delve into people’s personal issues too deeply. That’s just not really appropriate as a manager, but just try to get out of them. What is causing this underperformance? What challenges are you experiencing and what can I, as a manager, do to make that easier for you? I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t ask is how can I help you?

I totally agree. The way I look at being a manager is I’m there to remove roadblocks for you. So, you get your job done better and faster and easier.

Sure. Like this person is on your team for a reason. Right. And they’re skilled and you should be able to trust them and they should be able to trust you. So, if you’re super worried that they’re not going to get anything done, there’s something really broken in the relationship. It’s not the work, with being remote or in office. There’s something wrong with it.

Most of the people that I’ve spoken with and you know, of course I haven’t done a scientific study on this or anything, but I’d like to hear your perspective on this. Most people that I’ve spoken with who really enjoy working remotely, they actually work more productively and they get more done when they get to work remotely. What’s your perspective on that?

Yeah. I think there’s actually been a lot of studies on this, that show that that’s the case for the vast majority of workers. The exception being that, many of us find it challenging to do highly collaborative work remotely because there is something special to being in a room together and bouncing around ideas. But, most of the surveys that they’ve done in the past, and even during this, COVID-forced remote, show that the vast majority of workers are performing better than ever. They’re more productive. They get more out of their day, not just because there’s no commute anymore, but there’s less distractions. So, an eight hour workday is a lot more like an eight hour workday instead of a six hour work day, which is what a lot of us manage to go, when we’re in a busy office. And for me personally, I think I do work better on most projects, remotely. There’s some things where I wish I could get together with my team. And, what I think is most likely going to happen after the pandemic passes, whether that’s this year or next year, is that there’ll be days that we go into the office to work together and the rest of the time we’ll quietly be working remotely.

So that’s your prediction for the future? I would love your prediction for the future for the majority of businesses. Do you think that they will go back to the way things used to be, or will they embrace at least a part of remote working?

I think that immediately, as soon as it is possible, many companies will go back to the way that things were. But it may not stay that way in the long run, right. Because many workers, many managers are clamoring to the office because they missed the way it was. And then they’re going to go back and it’s going to be how it was for maybe a year. And then they’re going to be like, man, I had so much more time when I got to have Friday at home and I could just right after work, go for a walk with my dog. And I think that people will start to miss remote work. I think the numbers will also be in favor of remote work as well. I think a tremendous amount of businesses are losing a lot of money right now with empty offices.

And I think if you’re in finance, you might take a look at that and think, hey, maybe I cannot make a huge win for this company and save us a lot of money long-term. If we have hot desks for a lot of our workforce, maybe we’re only going to come here two times a week. Maybe we don’t even have an office and we just engage a co-working space to do meetings. You know?

I think smaller companies, startups, small businesses, are already making the choice to stay remote. You’re starting to see that in the tech space particularly. And that makes sense, right? Because tech workers are further along that learning curve, just naturally. They work with technology every day. If you’re a creative and marketing, maybe not. If you’re just not used to being so responsible for your own technology. But this period of foreseeable work has forced us all to learn these things that we haven’t in the past. So, I think it’s going to be a mix. Some companies will stay remote, some will go back, because they’re just so eager to have things returned to normal. And then some of them will realize that they can do better than normal.

Hmm. I think that you have just come up with, if somebody hasn’t already thought of this, you’ve just come up with a new business, which is traveling IT people. Who can go from house to house, doing it work, like how UPS shows up and drops off your package. Well, this can be an IT guy that shows up and fixes your IT. If they need to do it in person, they can also do it. I mean, I have a computer maintenance guy. I live in Missouri, in USA. My guy that keeps my computer running, he’s in Canada, he’s in British Columbia and I’ve worked with him for four years and he keeps my computer running remotely now.

Nice. I know that some large firms that have a really big call centers where people work remotely now, and what they’ll do is they’ll ship out a laptop headset, et cetera. And your first day of work is just you setting it up or some of them have the IT guy come and help you set it up and then you good to go.

Yeah, I would want an IT guy to come set mine up. I get very mad on the phone when IT doesn’t read my mind.

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, and I will tell you that I think that would be a great new career for somebody who really enjoys doing that kind of stuff. So, there you go, anybody who’s looking for a new career.

It’s a huge shift to go from in-office to remote first. A hybrid model, it kind of serves everyone. Introverts, extroverts, people with families, and singles. Everyone gets a little bit of what they want. Share on X

The other thing that we haven’t talked about yet, but we definitely should talk about is that remote work opens up for you and your company a different kind of talent pool, right? So, if you’re a larger company, and you recruit say 300 people every year, you’re primarily recruiting people from your local area. When you have a remote team, you can recruit from all over the world. And that’s great because you’re getting, geographic diversity, diversity of backgrounds, religions, and so forth in a way that you weren’t before. Right? And you can also open yourself up to different kinds of working arrangements, too. Like you might have full time employees, part time employees, contractors, once you go remote that your options are so much wider. And for the workers, it means that they have much wider options as well. They don’t have to relocate anymore.

So, you may have noticed in the publishing and media industry, there’s been all these huge layoffs lately, and there’s been a lot of labor unrest and pushing for permanent remote work. And the reason for that is that, the media and publishing industry in the United States is largely concentrated in LA and New York, two incredibly expensive cities to work in. And there’s a reason why a majority of people in those industries are upper middle class white people, right? Because their parents could afford to help them set up shop in a really incredibly expensive city and sponsor them for the first 10 years of their career. And you’re making the living wage. You’re now able to recruit wider and more people can afford to try out those careers.

Yeah, that is such a great point. I was reading something yesterday. I can’t remember where it was. I was reading it, but that somebody was predicting that there would be people moving out of Silicon Valley in California if they continue with remote working because they could afford to live higher living standard if they move somewhere else.

I mean, why wouldn’t you obviously? There’s something to be said for being in a hot city where there’s lots of restaurants and clubs and you know, it’s exciting, but, if you’re a Facebook engineer making $200,000 a year and you have roommates because that’s the best you can do like that, right? Like you could move to a much smaller town or even just an up and coming city and that money will go farther and it’s not going to have an impact on your work. You know, you’re still going to be networking with your employees learning and so forth, but you’re going to be able to do so much more with your money and have a much better lifestyle.

Yeah. I love that. Thanks for bringing up that topic. I could talk to you all day, Megan. This is really interesting. And I love all the different points that you bring forward about it, all the different benefits. And I know we just really hit on some of the top ones. There are a lot of benefits of remote working. And, I also like that you use a hybrid model in your company because I think that works for a lot of well real really work for a lot of companies with your mix of people that work in the office, people that work remotely and people that have the flex policy.

Yeah. I think the hybrid model definitely works for us, but I think it is what’s going to work best for many companies that are used to working in office. It’s a huge shift to go from in-office to remote first and hybrid models. It kind of serves everyone, introverts, extroverts, people with families, young singles, everyone gets a little bit of what they want.

I know one more thing that I wanted to bring up. Since we’ve been talking about how the pandemic forced to remote work is while I hope that the companies look at this and go, Oh, look, what is possible. I hope they also, and especially the people who are remote working also take into consideration that not only were, they suddenly thrust into this without the ability to really plan it out well, but many also had their children and entire families forced to be at home with them. And so they had a lot more stress and multiple things they had to deal with all at once in addition to working remotely. What do you think about that?

Yeah, for sure. I think, every team leader right now, and an executive should definitely be looking at how well their team performed under tremendous stress and trying to be really kind to all of their employees. If somebody is at home with three kids, they’re teaching and parenting and working all at the same time, cause kids don’t stop just cause you’re working, kids are still doing stuff.

Yeah. I just talked to somebody yesterday and I said, so how are you liking working remotely for the first time? And she’s like, I really couldn’t tell you because I’ve got three kids and a husband who’s now here and it’s overwhelming. And it made me that made my heart hurt for her. And I said, well, hopefully you’ll get a chance to try it with not all that other stuff on top of it.

Yeah. In Ontario, more and more of our daycare options are opening. At first it was only very small daycare. So now some of the medium sized ones are opening up. And I think as that happens and the parents stay home, but the kids go to daycare. They’re gonna finally get that opportunity to experience like all along. And they’ve had their coworkers that are like, I love this remote work. Let’s never stop. And they’re just like, Oh, I can’t take it anymore, but now they get the chance.

Yeah. And so that made me think of one more thing that I want to mention. And this is a big complaint I had when I worked in a corporation and actually worked in the office and I no longer have this working remotely for myself, but I’ve never worked remotely as an employee. I’ve never worked remotely for someone else. I’m not sure how this works out. So, what I love is the absence of office politics, the office drama.

I think office drama will always be there, just drama between people. But I think that a number of, sort of the shittiest micro-aggressions that you face in a day kind of are harder to perform remotely. I’m sure as a woman, you’ve had experiences where, you know, guys will use their body language to try to dominate meetings or intimidate you. It’s a little harder to do that particular thing on a voice only call. There’s other things that can be done, but that fades away. And there’s obviously gossip opportunities. Cause you’ve got a direct messages in addition to main chats, but a little bit of it fades away, too. I think, like there’s no facial expressions. You can’t look at somebody else in the meeting, roll your eyes at them. Can you believe it? I would say the office politics is still there, but in some ways it’s easier to manage, but I think we also have to be diligent to not be shitty to each other. That’s always good.

You’re absolutely right. I don’t think it will go away totally. But for somebody like me, for example, when I’m not around some people every day, all day long year in and year out, I can definitely be kinder because they’re not on my nerves every day and that building and that building because  I might see them just via zoom or hear him on the phone, but I don’t have to be around them all the time. So yeah, for sure. I felt like that was really a benefit for me.

Yeah, that’s so true. And I think there’s a lot of unconscious biases that people are carrying, be it gender, sexuality, age, race. And, it’s not to say that that disappears in a remote environment. It doesn’t, you know, you still have to work on those issues and that’s never going to just fade away. You have to actively work on it, but you know, when you don’t see everybody’s face, you may not be dismissing Kathy cause she’s older. You’re just, Kathy’s incredible words and seeing her work instead.

Yeah. I will tell you as a virtual assistant, I have never experienced ageism. As an employee after 45, I’m 63 now. And I still do not experience ageism, working as a virtual assistant, but at the age of 45 in person, because I look my age, I experienced a lot of ageism.

Yeah. I can tell you one thing. I definitely don’t miss people commenting on my outfits or, you know, unwelcome intrusions and those kinds of topics nobody’s sees how I’m dressed.

Well, I hope things are better in the offices these days I’ve been gone for so long now. The last time I worked in an office was 1998 and I still had bosses who would say, come in, turn on, let me see what you got on today. Oh, my, that was very uncomfortable.

Oh yeah, definitely not had that. I feel like maybe when I first started working, but not in the last few roles for sure. I feel like I’m pretty blessed at the current environment. We’ve actually got a huge distribution of generations in the workplace. We’ve got seniors to new grads. And everybody just has to work together. It’s a fairly small team. And I think that helps a lot, we’re from all over the world, all different ages, completely different perspectives and totally different hobbies, too, which is another great thing. Cause you can introduce each other to different types of stuff. And it just works. So, I feel pretty blessed in that respect.

Oh my gosh. That sounds so wonderful. So, Megan, if anybody wants to learn more about you and the companies you work for, how can they do that?

The best place to find me these days is probably on LinkedIn. So you can connect with me there. And you can of course find me on the CPS blog writing lots of contents about why everybody should be going remote, and can cross sites and our new project, which is a remote first job board. So you can connect with me through there as well.

Wonderful. Thank you so much for this very insightful interview. I really appreciate you taking the time today to talk with me.

Thanks so much for having me, Kathy, It was a great conversation.

About Megan Purdy

Dare to Leap Podcast with Kathy Goughenour

Megan is the Operations Manager for Canadian Payroll Services (CPS) and the Marketing Manager for Cronos Consulting Group. At CPS, Megan develops service offerings, manages internal projects and supports the business development team. At Cronos, she develops corporate communication brand strategies for the Cronos Group of remote companies.

Megan has over a decade of experience in leading customer and account management teams in the HR tech and digital publishing space. Before joining the Cronos family, she was the managing editor of Workology, the founder and publisher of WWAC, and a freelance writer and editor. She has extensive experience in content marketing and social media management.

Other Podcasts You Might Be Interested In

Join our community to stay up to date on the latest episodes!