A few years ago, my husband was offered a promotion in another state, in a location that did not have a HORNE office. This promotion was a wonderful opportunity for him, but not great news for me. Just a year before this news hit, I transitioned to a new director/performance advisor and I was just now hitting my stride. Moving was not in my plans, but I knew it was best for our family and that we had to take it.
Luckily, I had been upfront with my PA about the promotion from the very beginning. When our family made the final decision to take the new job, she was not surprised. I actually think she was more prepared than I was. I walked into her office, preparing to discuss when my last day would be and instead left with a new opportunity. She asked if I would be interested in working remotely and proposed reducing my hours based on the concerns I expressed about the transition for my school-age children.
I was floored. It’s not like I didn’t know all about HORNE’s culture. In my role, I pretty much introduced it to all of our new hires in HORNE FastStart, our new hire orientation. Needless to say, I was more than familiar with it. I mean, I knew about flexibility, about belonging, but to me this was outside that scope. So that weekend, I worked on a plan mapping out what it would look like if I worked remotely and cut back on my hours until we got settled in our new home. I collaborated with my PA and together we came up with a plan that worked for HORNE, my team and for me.
I am the first to tell you it was a huge transition for me to work remotely. I tend to be a people person and did miss being in an office, but I have learned to use Zoom like going to someone’s office. I take every opportunity to use video to connect with team members, so much so that they probably get tired of me. I also discovered that I could work more efficiently at my home office because I had fewer things to distract me.
Since then, I’ve settled in well and even went back full time. I tend to work crazy hours due to moving to Eastern Time. Some days my lunches happen at 1:30 p.m. due to scheduled meetings and sometimes I have meetings that run past 5 p.m. my time. But those are things that I don’t mind doing because of the flexibility HORNE provided me.
Since the move, I have met some wonderful friends and they all hear me praise my firm. Most people that I tell my story to say, “Wow, you must work for a great place.” And I love to tell them, “Yes, I really do!”
So for those questioning if great places to work really do exist — they do. But in this process, I learned the responsibility of managing my time better and realized that flexibility has more than just a few meanings. It’s not just something that happens to me, it happens with my commitment to collaboration and flexing in as needed. I learned very quickly that collaboration is something that you can do even when you are not sitting next to someone every day.
About the Author
Betsy Wilson shows how commitment to team and clients can open the door for work life to look different. Our equation for flexibility calls for commitment, communication and trust all around in order to work. Betsy is proof it can.