Sarah Blinco is the Director of Sugoi Media, based in Cairns, but she usually works in South East Queensland one or two weeks a month, or even from an overseas base. Her company Sugoi Media has affiliates in Brisbane, Townsville, Gold Coast, Japan, China, Canada and the UK. Sarah’s roles include writer, editor, social media content manager, and media training. She edits one of the Gold Coast’s most popular lifestyle magazines, Get it Magazine, and was an editor for TNQ Profile Magazine.
When did you decide teleworking was a good idea?
Sarah said freelancing in London for a couple of years led to a realisation that she could work anywhere there was a wifi connection and that she was not limited geographically in either her clients or her choice of colleagues.
After a recent trip to the UK, Sarah said “Clients didn’t even know I was away! In fact I probably seemed even more dedicated than usual since it appeared I was working at night!”
Are there any disadvantages to working out of the office?
“The only disadvantages I see are where a reasonable internet connection isn’t available, or when your laptop runs out of battery”, said Sarah.
What’s good about teleworking?
Sarah maintains the advantages far outweigh any negatives: “I can work anywhere – a café in London, on the beach in Mexico, at my home office in Cairns”. She notes that the move to the ‘Cloud’ is coming and isn’t too concerned about the occasional offline moment because things will sync later when she connects.
“I realised I am no longer limited by my physical location when I’m online – in terms of both my clientele and potential colleagues – I can access expertise anywhere in the world”.
What are your tools for teleworking?
Her tools of trade are email, Skype, an unlocked mobile phone, VIBER, Facebook, Dropbox and her personal preference for staying in touch, Twitter. This is probably due to her London activities where she found long stretches on public transport facilitate the use of social media. Like many locals, she found Twitter invaluable for updates during and after Cyclone Yasi.
She has received job offers via LinkedIn which she values for collaborative opportunities across the globe, and suggest joining groups and following companies you are interested in to increase your networking opportunities.
Sarah also makes use of Dropbox with her clients, and sometimes collaborates with colleagues using Google Drive.
What do you need to do to be a teleworker?
“One of the biggest things has been educating people I work with on how we can collaborate using the online technology – I edit a magazine on the Gold Coast, where people know me well. My publisher and designer and contributors all work in their home offices. Once a month we get together - it works because we are all on the same page and it suits us to work like that. We trust everyone is doing their job to the right standard and on time.”
Sarah says for successful teleworking, you need to work with people who see the bigger picture. Some employers get it, and are happy for the reduction in office space costs! But others can’t understand it even though people in the same office often still use email, Dropbox and all the technology teleworkers use. "Often efficiency in an office is decreased compared with that of teleworkers because gossip, chatter and meetings waste so much time!" adds Sarah.
What about security?
Sarah uses common sense when it comes to security online, backing up anything valuable to an external drive stored in a separate location and has reasonable confidence in online security systems, although she cautions that you need to do your research if your data is very sensitive and choose your provider carefully.