You read that right. Lucky gal lives on the beach. She almost quit her Silicon Valley job 14 years ago so she could do just that. But her boss suggested telecommuting instead.
As someone who has only worked from home full time for about three years, I was dying to know how someone like Hill has made this work for 14.
The challenges someone who works from home will face depend on his/her stage of life, the age of his/her kids and more. Hill manages a team of people who are all over the globe, including in London, and still has to be wife, mom and even just be Angie. She says, "You have to be willing to evolve your work-at-home situation with changes in your personal life."
But she also warns that the biggest challenge is mindset. "There are way too many distractions at home — laundry, personal to-do list, kids/nanny coming and going, other people wanting your time, etc. You have to treat working from home seriously and create boundaries and rules for yourself and your family. These boundaries are important for the people dealing with you remotely, your family and your own personal health."
Like a lot of telecommuters, her biggest issue has been making herself walk away from work. She has advice for that, too. "I have to create reasons to stop working," she told us. She says for her, it's hard to make herself exercise because her work ambitions are stronger than her desire to stay in shape, so she goes to prearranged exercise classes to keep herself honest. "I am sure my husband wishes one of the reasons was to cook dinner — that one has not crossed my mind yet!" she joked.
Hill says there are challenges working at home when you have kids, but they're not insurmountable. "I'm past the days of my kids screaming outside of the door 'Mommy, please come out.' Thank goodness for the mute button!" she said of working from home with smaller children. "Those early days were exhausting because my kids couldn't understand why I was locked behind a door. My kids are now 11 and 14, and they understand that work can happen any time of day."
But Hill doesn't really make a point of telling people unless there's a need to. Her office has a door and is pretty quiet, but since it's the guest room, there are times when she has to move the whole operation to the dining room, at which point the noise of kids coming and going may prompt her to inform people that she's not in her normal office and there may be background noise.
But even with older kids, there can still be interruptions. "I have had the occasional oops on Skype when my kids don't realize I am on video and they are walking around in the background or when I thought I was on mute and I yelled to my kids to be quiet," she admits. How does she handle it? "I just introduce my kids to the people on the other end and totally embarrass them. My favorite is when I switch on the camera without my kids knowing. They usually scream and run out of the room."
As many of us know, one of the biggest things you miss not working in the office are those water cooler chats. Not just because they're fun, but because they're an easy, quick way to touch base with other team members informally. But Hill's been making it work for over a decade, and she has some tips for that, too.
Angie Hill has distinguished herself at Microsoft for cutting-edge programs that combine traditional and digital marketing strategies and techniques into fun, memorable campaigns that generate buzz, consumer love and revenue.
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