7 things nobody tells you about working remotely (and what you can do about them!)
If you’ve ever been stuck in torrential rain waiting for a delayed train after a long day at the office, the chances are pretty decent that you’ve fantasized about working remotely at least once or twice.
— Dan Shewan

The perks of working remotely are plentiful, but there are definitely some bits that are tricky. Dan Shewan, a journalist who works remotely has come up with this rather hilarious look at the difficulties that do come with working remotely and ways to remedy the hassles. Click here to read Dan's article.

Plus, anyone who not only references Macgyver but puts a photo of him in their article is awesome in our eyes!

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Jo Palmer
Considering registering as a candidate this long weekend?

You've been teetering on the edge and the long weekend is here. You are finally going to sit down and register with Pointer. But so many questions. Lucky for you, we have added a 'Frequently Asked Questions' section to our website! Even luckier for you, we've kindly put them in this blog post so you can finish your cuppa, read on and alleviate all worries you may have. Enjoy!

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Frequently Asked Candidate Questions

What sort of roles does Pointer see?

Roles that come across our desk are so random and diverse that there is no real pattern! Anything from accounting and bookkeeping, admin, law, PR, marketing roles work to the wild and wonderful world of website design, business planning or anything else you can think of! Have a look back through our blog for examples of roles we have advertised.

What sort of employers are advertising roles?

The employers that work with us a Pointer are progressive companies that realise that the location of a fabulous employee shouldn't matter. We have small to medium-sized businesses from all over Australia through to corporate organisations in the big cities.

Are the roles casual, contract, part time or full time?

Each role that we advertise is different. We have had part-time and full-time roles that have been contracts as well as permanent appointments. There have been short-term contracts and one-off jobs.

Can I update my profile with Pointer at any time?

Of course, you can! It’s as simple as emailing us with the updates and we will ensure your profile is updated with your new credentials, desires or anything you think of!

When should I expect my first role to be sent through?

How long is a piece of string? Our roles as so diverse and random that we cannot guarantee. For some candidates, it is a matter of hours or days and others months or potentially longer depending on the dream role you are seeking! As mentioned Pointer is a start-up company and we are really just sinking our teeth into the marketplace.

Why does Pointer complete my reference checks?

To ensure we have the highest calibre of candidates in our database, we vet every as they register with Pointer. This streamlines the process for our employers to see who they will interview. Employers are encouraged to do their own reference checks before they hire one of our candidates, but our onboarding reference checks give the employer an idea about the candidates before they interview them.

Important things to note

- If you have poor phone service or Internet speeds and downloads, then Pointer is not a great place for you to try and find a remote role. Employers need these things to be able to connect with you easily and effectively.

- The roles we advertise are more often than not for qualified professionals with either tertiary or formal qualifications in their field. Unfortunately, candidates without qualifications and quality experience in the workplace are often overlooked for roles.

- Pointer is a start-up company, each day our database of potential employers and employees grows, however, we cannot guarantee a match will happen overnight or at all! We are up against a huge societal change in Australia, but we believe it is the way of the future.

-A larger percentage of the roles we advertise are part-time or contract based, which is a great way to add another "string to your bow" for self-employed or those looking for real flexibility.

If you choose to come along for the ride, and happy that it may take some time (or no time at all) to match you to the perfect role, Pointer will proceed with the following steps: 

1.    We email you an invoice for $75 + GST to register with Pointer

2.    You make sure your referees are happy for us to call 

3.    Once your invoice is paid, we get in contact with your referees and we “package” this up on file alongside your CV and application form for potential employers.

4.    We start sending you roles that match your skill set! 

5.    Any roles that you think you would love to be involved with just we let us know, we send the potential employer your “profile”. If they like the sound of you, they will get in contact with you directly to arrange an interview. If not, we will let you know that you haven’t made it to the interview stage.

 

Still need a reason to register? Imagine not sitting in traffic on Tuesday after three days off...

#remotework #workfromhome #flexcareers #ditchthecommute

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jo Palmer
Our newest recruit...
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Meet Pointer's newest recruit. Isn't she DELICIOUS?!?!

Welcome miss Edie Anita Rae MacAlpine. Number one of three Pointer babies due this year!

We are so proud of Edie's gorgeous mum Ange for getting her Earth-side safely.

(Now Ange, back to work!)

Jo Palmer
Flexible Working Day - June 6th 2018
Flexible Working Day is an international day to celebrate and showcase the benefits of flexible work for both people and organisations. The day also marks a call to action to tackle flexism.
— Vanessa Vanderhoek, Founder Flexible Working Day

Obviously we are all about flexible careers at Pointer so we are super pumped for International Flexible Working Day! We love being an advocate for remote work and we are so proud to work with companies who are looking to build their team with people who can work flexibly.

Flexible working requires flexible mindsets and flexible work styles. It is about people working in ways that allow them to achieve their best and for employers to reap the rewards. Making the most of employees means supporting innovative and diverse work arrangements - from the night owl starting and finishing late, job-sharing and part-time work, to name a few. - Flexible Working Day

With these words in mind, we wish a happy International Flexible Working Day to those who are working remotely, employing remotely and kicking goals living remotely!

#FWDay2018  #FlexWorkFullLife  #GenderFlexGap  #TackleFlexism #pointerremoteroles #flexcareers #workremotely

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Jo Palmer
Are you an amazing Engineer looking for an incredible remote role?

Do you have an Engineering qualification (degree) and expertise in one of the following Engineering disciplines: Civil, Hydraulic, Water, Mechanical, Structural, Construction or Environmental?

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We are looking for an Engineer with:

●     Experience planning or delivering multiple infrastructure projects 

●     Experience coordinating the pre-planning and project inception documentation for infrastructure 

●     Knowledge of Australian codes and standards in particular relating to water supply and wastewater systems

●     Experience within a local government environment 

●     Developed project management skills with experience using a range of project management systems and programs

●     Analytical, problem solving and technical report writing skills 

●     Ability to serve the client with high quality deliverables is essential, and EQ to hold the clients hand along the way goes without saying.

●     An open, honest and flexible communication style 

●     Skills in autonomy, flexibility and adaptability is essential (that goes for us too) and the ability to plan long term, but also flexibility to meet last minute deadlines. You will be task oriented, a proven executor and a self-motivator

●     The willingness to identify and share personal and professional goals with the team each month, and the courage to undertake professional development opportunities

 

Sound like you? Register here to get to get your profile in front of this awesome establishment!

 

Jo Palmer
Ways to motivate your remote team - from those in the know at Collective Hub!

Keeping your remote team on track can be a challenge, but if you follow some of these ground rules, you'll be on the right track. Thanks to Collective Hub for this sweet list!

1. Set the ground rules

2. Provide opportunities for development

3. Keep working hours flexible

4. Hold regular progress meetings

5. Adopt modern technology

PS We happened to have lunch with Collective Hub's Queen Bee, Lisa Messenger, as she was travelling around the country side last month. Obviously, it was amusing!

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Jo Palmer
"Bringing more jobs to regional Australia---remotely!"
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Southern Phone have been running a blog series on 'Inspiring Regional Women'. Our Founder Jo was stoked to be featured and it turns out that three of her gal pals have also been featured. If these three amazing women aren't already on your radar, today is the day!

 Edwina Sharrock from  Birth Beat  - check out her article  here

Edwina Sharrock from Birth Beat - check out her article here

 Maggie McGowan from  Magpie Goose  - check out her article  here

Maggie McGowan from Magpie Goose - check out her article here

 Claire Dunne from  Graziher   - check out her article  here

Claire Dunne from Graziher  - check out her article here

Jo Palmer
When your clients do your marketing for you!

On a daily basis, we feel so privileged to be working with amazing businesses who are thinking outside the box in terms of building their remote teams. What blows out minds is how our clients are our biggest cheer squad and are spreading the word about #remotework.

However, the team at Kristen Lovett Accounting Services (KLAS) in Tenterfield NSW, are taking things to the next level! How chuffed were we when we saw this video pop up in the company's social media feed?!

We are tickled pink to be working with this amazing firm and are always on the hunt for more qualified accountants. Get in touch here!

Jo Palmer
Regional Development Officer Forum - Workforce Futures

Pointer was invited by Regional Development Australia to present at the Regional Development Officer Forum in Griffith on May 10. Local Government, Business and Economic Development Officers and HR Managers were invited to attend and the Forum cover topics such as regional population trends, the Regional Workforce Strategy and 'relocation' case studies. 

Georgie Robertson, our PR and Marketing Guru presented on Pointer's behalf a session on 'Disrupting the traditional hiring methods'. Her presentation was too good not to share!

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As a child growing up in Outback NSW, my siblings and I were educated remotely via School Of The Air. The lessons were delivered each day over a high frequency hand-held radio and our completed school work was dispatched via the postman on his twice-weekly round which took in a two hundred kilometre radius. 

When shearing time came around, we had to adjust our hours out of necessity to help Dad out with his mustering schedule.  Looking back, us School of the Air kids were always considered a bit 'different' from our peers who sat in traditional classrooms, wearing uniforms, and catching public transport to their local school. On the flipside, I couldn't imagine abiding by the strict framework that was the day-to-day reality for most of these kids.

When I was sent to boarding school at aged 12 it literally took me 3 years to adjust to the very rigid parameters that are a normal day in the life of a high school student. No longer could I turn up to our classroom (which also doubled as our laundry) at 7am so I could finish up my schoolwork by midday and head out to help dad with the mustering or do a water run. 

Today I am presenting on the topic of working remotely and the methods in which recruitment agencies are disrupting traditional hiring models. The irony is not lost on me that some 20 years down the track, we may have replaced the hand-held radio with digital connectivity, video conferencing and artificial intelligence but the principals are still the same, more and more Australians are seeking that flexibility, productivity and the freedom to escape the 9-5 grind. We are steadily speeding toward a future of work that includes job flexibility and location independence beyond our grandparents’ wildest dreams. The 9-to-5 job won’t cease to exist, but many will likely be revamped, with increased work-from-home days and varying office hours in response to a broader culture shift toward greater flexibility.

These conversations are happening all over Australia and especially in regional communities. If it hasn't happened in your company yet, it probably will. More employees and especially the millennial generation are enjoying flexible work environments, with one survey showing that 35 percent of Australians are working remotely and the number is steadily increasing.

My name is Georgie Robertson and I am here today to sub in for Jo Palmer who founded Pointer Remote Roles, an online hiring platform that she established in 2017 to connect employers with the hundreds of remote workers that are located around the nation. Pointer is the first company specialising in the placement of the highly skilled remote workers around the country who prefer to work from home…or anywhere really. 

The idea for Pointer came to life after Jo co-founded her event management company, Agri Alliance. As she was looking for employees she couldn’t help but look around at her peers and professional mates living in regional areas that were being held back from remote employment due to lack of awareness and opportunity. In response, and seeing a much-needed gap in the market, she created Pointer with the grand plan of eventually delivering thousands of qualified Australians the opportunity to work remotely.

In Jo’s words, "There is an enormous amount of untapped talent and experience living in regional Australia and if a corporate can give someone in Sydney two days a week of remote work, why can't they give it to someone in Broken Hill? If their Internet is as good – why can't they be in the mix?" 

Unsurprisingly, with the calibre of candidates who are ready and highly skilled, metro and regional businesses have been quick to embrace this unique recruitment model. Since Jo’s launch she has received national media attention highlighting the potential benefits to regional Australia as a whole; including increased rates of employment in rural areas, increase in income, and increased spending in local communities, plus addressing mental health issues related to professional and physical isolation.

With today's workforce moving towards flexible working hours and locations, providing the opportunity for businesses to fill positions with the best candidate for the job, regardless of where they live, has been a saviour for many. Pointer has also created a space for small businesses or individuals to find contractors or freelancers to complete small jobs or contracts, rather than having to employ full-time staff. 

My own situation directly reflects the benefits of such a platform and is one of the reasons that I stand here today. Having lived in far too many rural and regional postcodes than I care to remember thanks to a partner that has a helicopter service I have often found myself based remotely, from dusty cotton farms in Moree to beef stations located an hour from civilisation. In 2017 it turned out that our next move was Wagga and having read about Pointer in the Sydney Morning Herald I got in touch with Jo to see if there was a possibility of her finding me work relevant to my skills.  Ironically, she ended hiring me on a consultancy basis and connecting me with a co-working space and the PR work has steadily flowed since. Like many other candidates, I have become a massive advocate for what is the future of work. 

I should also add that the 6 or so Pointer Remote staff members all work from their home offices or in co-working spaces throughout the country, from Tasmania to WA and the model has been completely virtual right from the start. Having worked in both virtual and in-office environments, I can honestly say this is the most collaborative, positive, productive team environment I’ve been a part of.

However, there is still a cultural shift that needs to be bridged, particularly in relation to employer attitudes. And of course, the model would not work if it wasn’t somehow beneficial to employers too. Yet some companies are still on the fence about allowing employees to work outside the office. The fear factor for many managers is: 'If I can't see you how do I know you are working?' But this approach will be detrimental in the years to come. These days more candidates require remote work as a condition of employment and taking the option off the table can prevent companies from attracting key people, and to make it worse the top candidates you miss out on may be headed to your competitors who are offering a remote position. 

A key takeaway from this is that employers are no longer dictating the trajectory of people’s careers—the workers are.

One such employer and early adopter is the founder of Farm Table and Farmer Exchange, Airlie Trescowthick who has made a name for herself as a young producer and innovator committed to making a difference in the agricultural space. Her commercial acumen and corporate experience has seen her become a rapidly rising star in the industry. In 2015, Airlie first started developing a central online resource to put farmers in touch with the latest research, resources, training opportunities, grants and funding opportunities, and... each other. Having launched headfirst into the world of program development, research and app creation, Pointer Remote has played an essential role in building these areas of her business and in the last 12 months has hired 5 employees via the Pointer Platform.

Another employer based in Central Queensland is cotton farmer Fleur Anderson, who is the brains behind the Rural Business Collective; an initiative launched to help increase economic diversity in the bush. In a few short years, she has become the face of Australia's leading network for rural and remote business builders and entrepreneurs. Fleur is also Director of Cotton Australia and Chair of the Australian Cotton Industry Forum.

From Farm Table to Virgin. The constantly agile Richard Branson has a message for fellow business leaders: He says “Your employees want flexible work arrangements” He was introduced to flexible work in 2005 after the birth of his first child and says he found himself out of a job, not because he didn't have the right skills, or experience, or commitment to his employer, but because he wanted to spend an extra day each week with his family. Branson staunchly believes that if companies want to find, attract and keep the best employees, they need to build flexible working and remote hiring into the talent strategy.

Many major tech companies are already doing just that. In 2017, Amazon announced it would be hiring 5,000 remote workers by year's end and Apple recently posted a job advertisement seeking employees for work-from-home positions. The growth in the number of forward-looking employers means that the workplace is finally starting to catch up.

So, if you are an organisation that is concerned about productivity and performance issues associated with a companywide ability to work from home, a few tips:     

- Create standard key performance indicators for both management and employees. This way, remote team members are aware of expectations, and their performance can be monitored. 

- It takes preparation and discipline to manage remote employees but if it’s well executed you will say goodbye to inefficient interactions you have when you’re sitting next to your team members and hello to super efficient meetings and workflows. Which is an employer’s dream come true?

Part of Pointer’s success is because Jo can also spend time with her clients educating them on to make remote work, work.

She advises these companies on how to ensure their remote employees feel involved and part of the company culture. She notes that this can be especially difficult when hiring junior employees remotely and says it’s crucial to successfully give them ownership and responsibility.

It takes a mix of good collaboration tools and good team habits. The benefit of having remote employees is that it forces you to think long and hard about which tools you’ll be using, how you’ll be communicating and constantly evaluating the efficiency of your set up. If it’s not working, you’ll know within hours.

Good team habits range from organising daily and weekly meetings to yearly company off site. A remote future does not mean company culture and team building will become things of the past. 

Building a team that’s part remote or totally remote requires a lot of planning and iterating about your team’s efficiency. In the end, it forces you to ask yourself questions and tackle crucial collaboration issues you might have put to the side if your team wasn’t remote.

And to her employees who are looking for work, she says, first, figure out what type(s) of flexibility you really want. Some people love working from home and others prefer a flexible schedule, and some like a combination of the two. Decide what remote work looks like to you before you dive in. Then, set yourself up for success. If you’re working from home, create a quiet space dedicated to your work, and set up a routine for yourself each day so that you’re still in the mind set of “going to work.”

All these tips might feel small as the future of VR is rapidly evolving and in a few years will iron out some of the problems we experience with remote. But they’ll still ring true because in the end the path to reach true happiness at work lies in learning to work as one team and respecting each of your collaborator’s rhythm & needs. Remote is an incredible school for teams to achieve this.

Much like the hook-up app Tinder but without the bad dates and dodgy headshots the Pointer matching platform has truly changed the face and the future of hiring remotely. As you can see, it’s as simple as employers posting a role, and if a candidate's profile matches the criteria, they are emailed the role. If the candidate wishes to be considered, the employer is sent the 'matches' and the interview process goes from there. The rest is history.

Georgie Robertson

www.regionalpr.com.au

 

 

Jo Palmer
Pointer a finalist in the Golden Crow Awards
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We are thrilled to be named a finalist in two categories for the 2018 Golden Crow Awards; Outstanding Young Entrepreneur (yes she is still 'young'!) and the Start Up Superstar categories. The Awards Gala will be held on June 2nd in Wagga. Woohoo!

#goldencrowawards

Jo Palmer
Do office interruptions make us less productive?

The research is in and the answer is a resounding yes. Pointer Remote Roles founder Jo Palmer says remote working could be the solution and delivers some timely tips on how to convince the boss that out of office employment will pay dividends.

Don’t interrupt me while I’m interrupting
— Winston Churchill

According to a University of California study, regaining our initial momentum following an interruption can take, on average, upwards of 20 minutes. In another study, Gloria Mark of the University of California, found that a typical office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. And, it gets worse with the news that open plan offices are even worse for employee productivity.

This may explain why there are people floating around in the corporate world with impressive titles like “efficiency and workflow consultant” and “business efficiency navigators”. But I digress. Many of us, (myself included) work most effectively in relative silence, even the tapping of co-workers keyboards can prove distracting for some. Admittedly my habit of calling out across the office to fellow worker bees, was probably far more distracting than I care to remember. 

Another virtual colleague who spends four days working from home and a day a week in her employer’s office, believes that her one day spent physically in the office is by far the least productive period of her week. Citing constant interruptions, deskside chats and the temptation to get pulled into meetings, she estimates that her output is at least halved. 

 Here is my husband Hugh. He wears noise cancelling headphones when I'm around. He says I'm too noisy on the phone.

Here is my husband Hugh. He wears noise cancelling headphones when I'm around. He says I'm too noisy on the phone.

So, short of donning noise cancelling headphones, what are the solutions for opting out of the open plan work environment and how do you pitch the concept of remote working to your boss?

Firstly, reference some hard data such as a PWC study, that cites the 38% of U.S. workers who work from home at least one day a week, a fourfold increase over the 9% in 1995. Or closer to the home, the 2015 Australian Bureau of Statistics survey that calculates 3.5 million employed Australians work from home on a regular basis. 

Secondly, suggest a dummy run. Offering to work from home for a set period of time might help to get your boss over the line. Set a date for when the trial ends and then assess the pros and the cons in a collaborative manner. 

Thirdly, establish set some predetermined KPI’s and focus on output rather than hours spent at your desk.

And lastly, try and anticipate any issues your employer may have and be sure to have a raft of reassuring answers on hand to allay his or her fears.

#workremotely #flexcareers #flexiblework #escapetheratrace

 

Jo Palmer
Calling all Project Managers!
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A super progressive infrastructure advisory firm is looking to build their remote team. With offices in Dubbo (regional NSW) and San Fransisco, this is a truly amazing company taking advantage of remote work. The firm's services range from civil engineering, project management, advising, facilitation and speaking. They move horizon infrastructure projects from Government planning shelves to be shovel ready.

Do you have experience in:
- Contract administration and complete project management?

- Developing project master plans to provide timeline information on key milestones and project work packages?

- Developing detailed project plans and frameworks?

- Preparing funding applications for local councils on a range of projects?

Great! These are some of the variety of tasks that maybe involved with this broad project based role and we would love to hear from you.

Interested? Or know someone who maybe? Register here to get in touch!

#workingremotely #remotework #flexiblework #flexcareers #escapetheratrace

Jo Palmer
One of Jo’s favourite productivity hacks
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We at Pointer Remote Roles truly believe that remote working is the way of the future and with more and more companies looking towards managing virtual workforces, this can only be a good thing. For those new to remote working, it can take some adjustments to finetune the most effective ways of working from home or in a co-working space.

We decided to do a quick poll around the virtual Pointer office to uncover the best tricks for keeping a lid on procrastination. This week Jo Palmer aka fearless leader of Pointer Remote Roles kicks off with her favourite time-saving hack. (PS, that is not Jo sitting on the floor in her bedroom, Jo doesn't wear neck scarves.)

 

It’s pretty easy when you are working from home and sitting at your computer for most of the day to end up with multiple tabs open and the temptation to check emails/socials can be hugely appealing, but I know from experience that distraction is not great for the mental bandwidth.

For me, The Pomodoro Technique, developed by developer, entrepreneur, and author Francesco Cirillo has been one of my favourite tools as I find chunking off blocks of time and powering through work in 25-minute bursts to be pretty useful. Plus, it helps you stay on top of deadlines and after 25 minutes of solid work you get to reward yourself with a 5-minute break.  Productivity guru Tim Ferriss Commit likens the action to a sprint (using a timer) for just 25 minutes and says that by working in “chunks”, you can better prioritise and be realistic about what you can actually fit in a day.
— Jo Palmer - Founder of Pointer

 

How it works:

Start by creating a to-do list and then allocate each task to a "Pomodoro”

- Choose a task to be accomplished.

- Set the Pomodoro timer to 25 minutes

- Power through the task until the Pomodoro rings

- Take a 5-minute break break

- Every 4 Pomodoros take a more extended break

 

Some of the gang at Pointer Remote like to use a manual timer, and Cirillo himself says winding one up "confirms your determination to work".

This video captures it perfectly!

https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique

If you don’t like the idea of a manual timer try the desktop app: https://pomodoro-tracker.com/

 

Jo Palmer
We talk shop with Fleur Anderson from Rural Business Collective
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If you've been keeping a close eye on Pointer over the last twelve months, then you would be familiar with the name Fleur Anderson. Fleur hails from Theodore in central QLD and is the Founder of Rural Business Collective.

Rural Business Collective is Australia’s leading network for rural and remote business builders and entrepreneurs.

Its the place where business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs with a love for rural and remote Australia meet, celebrate, grow and connect.
— Fleur - Founder Rural Business Collective

You may have heard Fleur interview Pointer's Founder Jo, a few months back (listen here if you missed it) and when Jo was in Dalby, QLD earlier this month, she caught up with Fleur and returned the favour! Jo and Fleur discussed how Pointer has given RBC the opportunity to engage with professionals all over Australia.

Jo Palmer
"Let's make it work, baby”
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"Let's make it work, baby”, is not only the response that every career-focussed pregnant woman, remote worker or dad seeking paternity leave wants to hear from their employer but it’s also the title of flexible workplace relations campaigner and Melbourne based lawyer, Catherine Brooks new book out in May.

This week we chat with Catherine Brooks, Principal and Workplace relations specialist at Melbourne based law firm Moores about remote and flexible employment trends, breaking down traditional attitudes of employers, tips for broaching your boss and much more. 

How do you see the attitude towards work changing?

Many of my friends tell me that now they're returning to work after the second bout of parental leave, things have definitely shifted in relation to an acceptance of flexible work arrangements. As an employment lawyer, I'm also seeing a shift in how employers are responding to people (of both genders) wanting to work flexibly. With progressive employers focussing more on output, as opposed to input, we are seeing less of a push back when it comes to working from home or working out of normal 9-5 hours. Also - the more an employee can develop and build trust with their employer (that the work will be done) the easier it is for employees to get flexible work arrangements approved.


What are your top tips on how to break down the attitude amongst some companies that flexible work only benefits the employee? Can you provide examples of how it can benefit the broader organisation?

Offering flexible working arrangements means that employers can tap into a much broader and skilled resource pool. Many parents (mostly women) are out there looking for flexible work options and they're highly skilled and experienced, but they won't apply for the traditional office bound roles. If an employer is willing to consider all applicants and all options when it comes to how a role is performed, they're much more likely to gain top class employees.

Also, employees provided with flexible work options are much more likely to remain loyal and committed to a company. If a parent feels safe and supported by the leadership team, they will be unlikely to take that call from a recruiter.

Seeking flexible or remote working options can often mean giving something up, usually in the form of a pay cut or career advancement. Do you think it is possible to keep a career on track and find the flexibility you need, or do you always need to give something up?

You can definitely keep your career on track AND get flexible or remote working arrangements if you're prepared to be creative in your thinking and strategic about your decision making. Sure, you may feel like accepting a flexible working role means that you're taking a bit of a side-step in your trajectory, but if it means that you can stay in the job market and be a parent or carer this will benefit your superannuation, your earning capability and future promotion opportunities.

Why do you think some companies are hesitant to offer flexible work arrangements?

It's just the fear of the unknown. The (incorrect) belief that you have to have bums on seats to get work done. It takes a trailblazer to show the way and prove that it can be done. That can be tough for the trailblazer but oh so worth it if it's a success. Getting flexible work arrangements right also takes a commitment to trial and error. When I returned to work I had to try half a dozen different arrangements before I found the right option for my family, our clients and the team. It meant having honest discussions, being flexible in our approach and having supportive bosses willing to try different options. This kind of process takes time but my employer has won in the end as I'm loyal to them, committed to my client work and now able to support others wanting to work flexibly (both within and external to our firm).  

Do you have advice for employees who wish to broach management about their options?

I have so much advice on this topic that I actually wrote a book about flexible work arrangements and how to negotiate options to suit all parties. It's called "Let's make it work, baby!" as I really believe that if employees are equipped to open up the flexible work discussion with their employer then they're much more likely to get a successful result. Two tips that I go through in a lot of detail in my book are to always keep in touch during your parental leave. It's important that you keep abreast of any changes in the workplace and make it well known that you're returning post parental leave (even if you're not sure - better to secure your seat at the table). This will also help you start the discussions about how you're going to return and in what capacity (part-time, starting off doing some hours at home, etc). Secondly, don't be rigid in your approach when you request flexible work arrangements. Put a range of options on the table and be prepared to try out a number of options to see what suits both your interests but also the operational requirements of the company. It's a two way street and it may be in your financial interest to give a less preferred option a go rather than just saying no and resigning. Be upfront about what you'd prefer, but give your employer the ability to feel like they have choice and control - it will make the negotiation process just that - a negotiation rather than just a yes or no proposition.  

You have long been an advocate for the flexible working model. What changes have you seen in how companies view and offer flexibility and remote working opportunities?
 
When I was a young lawyer just starting out in the industry I was fortunate enough to work with a number of women working flexibly. They worked hard to put in place systems and processes to ensure that the work got done but that they could be home at night to see their children. I saw first hand that you could have both a great career and be an involved parent, but it takes a supportive workplace environment (both employer and colleagues) to make it work. What we now need to see is more men being given the opportunity to work flexibly. A CEO said to me recently "it won't be until I'm job sharing with a male that we'll know flexible work is truly entrenched as the norm". I know that my partner, who worked part-time alongside me and was a stay at home dad for a period of time, found it isolating and tough being the minority.  If companies can encourage men to be a part of the flexible work discussion even before they've become a parent then we may start seeing more men choose to spend some time at home or opting to work flexibly.  

What are some of the trends you’re seeing in remote and flexible employment?

Companies that focus on output, instead of input, are embracing flexible employment for all its benefits. We're also seeing a rise in corporates and not-for-profits offering school holiday programs to help parents stay in the workplace during these periods whilst still being able to provide activities and care for children in a cost-effective way.

What advice would you offer to more traditional companies, struggling with the concept of creating a more flexible work environment?

Try it out! Engage the help of a human resource consultant to set up mechanisms that enable people to work flexibly. Start small by giving people the ability to work from home, or out of normal hours, and measure output and productivity to determine success. Hire leaders that are willing to embrace flexible work and have them leave loudly when they're going home to attend an afternoon soccer event, or school concert. Leading from the top down and demonstrating that flexible work and productivity can work hand in hand is a good starting place.

Millennials are going to make up 75% of the workforce in five years. This is great for millennials but what about the Gen X’s or the working mums who have problems finding flexible work options?
 
Gen X's or working mums will vote with their feet and choose workplaces that are innovative and creative when it comes to working hours and productivity. Millennials don't differentiate between work and personal life - their whole world is about having a great career that sits alongside a wonderful life. As they demand flexible work options, Gen X's will benefit from a shift in the old method of working. Also - as the baby boomers transition down to retirement they too will see the benefits of flexible work arrangements. A whole new working era is just kicking off and the smart employers will embrace this as an opportunity - and benefit from getting the best and most loyal talent.
 

To find out more about Catherine's work or to purchase a copy of her book, please head over to https://www.catherinebrooks.community

Georgie Scott
Rural Linkups - WIN News
Wagga based businesswomen, Jo Palmer, is proving that moving out of the city doesn’t need to be career suicide. She’s set up a recruitment website match making people who need to work remotely with businesses that don’t mind whether your office is in Pitt Street or Pulletop.
— Olivia Calver - WIN News

Some fantastic coverage last week on WIN News and it couldn’t have been more perfectly timed as Pointer also launched our rebranded website that very day! Don’t you just love it when the stars align?

It was also great to see a real-life example of what a remote worker looks like. Nicole Davis, whose husband is in the Air Force is an accountant and despite moving every three years has successfully maintained her portfolio of clients.

Which leads me to my next point, that while startups have wholeheartedly embraced the remote work model, more and more traditional companies are recognising the benefits. Among the largest industries adopting work practices online are the accounting and legal industries. In fact, a regional accounting firm has advertised four roles with Pointer in the past six months. Although one of these roles was for a Chartered Accountant, they also advertised for a HR Manager, Social Media and Marketing Manager as well as an Executive Assistant.

At Pointer we also walk the talk. We have harnessed some amazing employees for ourselves and our team is now scattered throughout NSW and the Northern Territory. Disrupting the traditional hiring methods is what we do best.  If you are a small to medium businesses located anywhere in Australia and are looking to hire, chat to us about our vast database of professionals ranging from chartered accountants, copywriters, project managers, executive assistants, bookkeepers, solicitors, web designers, graphic designers and more. 

#flexiblework #remotework #flexcareers #escapetheraterace

Jo Palmer
We have rebranded!
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It’s all happening at Pointer! We are super excited to announce we have a fresh, new look at Pointer Remote Roles to celebrate our one year anniversary as a fully-fledged job matching agency. With an incredibly successful twelve months behind us, we can officially say that Pointer has progressed from being a baby startup to a company that is able to allocate the time and resources to ensuring our brand aesthetic matches our vision, professionalism and ethos.

The talented team at Sunday Collective were given the briefest of briefs from us at Pointer and they completely knocked it out of the park. Massive shout out to one of the most talented design agencies in Australia, who just happen to be based in downtown Wagga. With clients ranging from Schwarzkopf, Deux ex Machina and Vittoria, Scott and Michelle are an extraordinary local talent (and clients of Pointer!).

The Pointer Remote team is made up of unique, inspiring individuals that are scattered all over the country. Their collaboration and enthusiasm for our new look has been a fantastic example of the amazing culture that we have created regardless of where we are working from. 

If you would like to get our team on the case to find you your next remote employee, feel free to enquire further here. 

We hope you love our new look as much as we do! While you're here, why don't you sign up for our new monthly newsletter? We will be hitting go on our first newsletter next week so click here to sign up.

 

Jo Palmer
Happy birthday to us!
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Musings on Pointer Remote’s first 12 months and several thank you’s to those who have cheered me on from the sidelines... Stay with me as I acknowledge the key players in Remote’s journey!

Today is my business baby’s first birthday. What a whirlwind the last twelve months have been, and an opportune moment to pause and reflect on Pointer Remote Role’s start-up journey to date. I am currently some 3.5000 kilometres from my Wagga office as I pen this blog post between sessions at the amazing Partners in Grain WA, Inspire Summit in Fremantle, WA. Forever working remotely!

Regardless of my physical location, or perhaps because of it, I feel it is important to take stock and acknowledge how far, in such a short period, that the remote work model has progressed in Australia. With major metro’s bursting at the seams and technology no longer a limiting factor, remote working in Australia has moved beyond concept and is now a reality for an increasing number of progressive firms, regardless of size. In tandem, there is a vast and growing network of highly qualified remote professionals and executives located around the country. As attitudes shift and businesses become increasingly flexible, I realised there was the need for a platform that could efficiently partner organisations with the incredible talent that resides not just in the cities but also throughout rural and regional Australia. Our mission has been to create a seamless solution so that distance is never a barrier to employing the best practitioners in the marketplace.  

I am proud to say that in  the last twelve months, we have placed accountants, graphic designers, executive assistants, marketing managers and HR consultants to name a few. I want to take this opportunity to thank our early adopters. The businesses and the candidates who put their trust in me and the concept, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Where to from here? There are around 900,000 small to medium-sized businesses in Australia. Pointer’s goal is to enable access to the experienced, knowledgeable and talented professionals that will allow these businesses to grow, regardless of where their business is located.

And finally, it would be utterly reticent of me not to acknowledge friends, family, and colleagues who have helped this pearl of an idea transform into the company that it is today. I promise this won’t be drawn out Academy Awards speech. However, I feel it would be remiss not to acknowledge the key people who have cheered this business on from the get-go.

Alice, my best mate, you are present ALL the time. You check in. You look after my kids. You are an all-round legend, and I couldn't do this without you. To Sally Armstrong, my Agri Alliance gal pal, without your support in allowing my head to go in two directions at all times, Pointer would never have made it to our first birthday.  My cheerleader Belinda Allitt. Without this power house's gentle shove, my eyes would never have been opened to the crazy world that is Startup Land. And, of course, the reigning duo of all things startup, Di Somerville, and Simone Eyles; you were straight shooters from the day we met, and your wise counsel has helped me immeasurably in navigating this non-linear, parallel universe. My business group, CheckPoint. You guys are a powerhouse of knowledge and experience and I am so thrilled that you have been the whip crackers behind this business. My parents, my sister and my gorgeous girls, Matilda and Anthea. Your patience and flexibility doesn't go unnoticed. Whenever I feel like I am absent or not doing the 'mother' thing properly, I think back to the time I heard Matilda (aged 4) tell someone that one day she is going to be the boss like mum, and I can keep on keeping on.

In an incredibly short time, I have also built the most fantastic team around me who have become my sounding boards, my confidantes and perfectly represent that demographic of professional superstars that successfully navigate careers despite living some 500km from an office high-rise. This crew has allowed me to build a company that practices what it preaches, they work remotely, flexibly and to the highest of standards. Jess Schiller, my trusty sidekick, has been there from the very early days helping from her property in Hay, and she has been instrumental from an operational perspective. Ange MacAlpine, who works from her desk in The Marra and is the first point of contact for every candidate who registers with Pointer, she is the poster girl for remote work, even while living in the middle of nowhere and enduring the daily battles of pregnancy! Georgie Robertson, the PR queen who moved from Scone and almost literally fell in my lap, I could not be more excited to have her on-side as she helps drive Pointer forward. And Sarah Houston, our newest recruit whom we brought on board with us while she was in Japan is on a mission to engage, inspire and bring more companies on board as she continues her nomadic way across Northern Australia over the next few years, we are thrilled to have you with us.

And lucky last, in true Oscars style, my husband Hugh. Without whom, our candidates and employers would never have been able to experience the benefits that our job matching agency provides. Your continuing support allows this incredible company to not only exist but to grow. And you are very much the reason that our trajectory is on the up.

And as a birthday present to ourselves, we have had the legends from Sunday Collective give Pointer a makeover. New branding is coming the remote world's way in the coming weeks!

Jo Palmer