Naya Moss is a Create Technologist, IT Professional and World Traveler. She is currently working as a freelancer while also running several companies such as Frauvis a community for Black Women in Tech and Culturefiy an HR tech company in Romania. I asked her her thoughts on remote work and the future of remote work. Keep reading.
I have been working remotely, for exactly 2 years now full-time yet for the past 4-5 years I've had flexible work options with previous employers. It has always been my goal to be able to work at a job that was 100% remote.
When I went fully remote it was completely unplanned after I had taken some mental health time from my full-time job and I traveled across Europe solo (I guess you can consider this "finding myself'). It was being alone in different countries, being out of my element, and time to myself, allowed me to define what I want in my life.
Upon arriving back in the US, my plan was to look for full-time work, and somewhere cheaper, slightly outside of New York City, and with a home office space. Unfortunately, that didn't work out as planned, perhaps for a purpose outside of what I could understand.
As of now, not much has changed. I've mastered a routine, little by little, and figured out what works for me. I have ADHD, COPD, and IBS. I cannot say I've seen an improvement in my ADHD (if that is possible), however I have seen an improvement in my COPD and IBS. I can't explain exactly why this is perhaps it's from being in control of my physical environment. I have a lot fewer asthma attacks. Part of getting to create my own routine and space I don't have to deal with office politics.
Although I work for myself and reside in Romania, my clients or people I work with reside in Germany, France, and the United States. My challenges so far have been working with people with a 12+ hr time difference, gaps in communication, finding for equitable pay, and finding full-time work.
I have figured out a formula to understand how someone works before working with them. Many times, because of my location, I come across clients that expect me to work long hours at $4-7/hr. There is a wrong assumption that Romania is a very low cost so I should be willing to work long hours for low pay. After a few mistakes, when I notice a person has this mindset, I let them know upfront it is not a good fit to work together.
My cost-of-living is probably the same as someone who lives a couple of kilometers outside of Atlanta Georgia. When folks hear, I am from America, “not Africa”, prices are hiked for everything. There is an expectation that all Americans have money pouring out of their armpits and we should have no problem paying “top dollar”.
I think people and companies should stop underpaying because of location and embrace value-based pay. There needs to be a balance. does a person need $200k to live comfortably in Romania? No, but $12k shouldn't be the max pay when the average apartment is rising to $13,800/yr. Every situation is different.
This problem is partially why I started a fair price marketplace for freelancers Namos Market. Frustrated by people or companies that heard I lived in Romania, so they expected to pay me $200 a month to work full-time. My rent alone is $560 and it has been a year struggle to find something cheaper.
I hope post-pandemic, folks who continue to work from home find a nice balance to trust, communication, and productivity while being considerate of others.
During the pandemic it happens to be probably the most unpleasant part of my working from home experience. The first half of the pandemic went pretty well. I was able to help out some local businesses and businesses overseas with moving online.
However, what has been hard for me is that everyone else wants to feel productive. I get a daily request to meet over zoom for meetings that could be done via email. Not to mention, many people are requesting my time and my knowledge to “pick my brain” for free.
This has put me in a bad place financially because I could be spending that time towards working on a paid project. I give much of myself and I help a lot of people for free. It's very exhausting to sit on video calls all day, especially with ADHD. I hope post-pandemic, folks who continue to work from home find a nice balance to trust, communication, and productivity while being considerate of others.
Personally no, it has been one of the best experiences of my career. Yet, I will say that going through this pandemic helped me to see what other people experience as negative implications of Remote Work. I enjoy staying at home, having the flexibility to exercise and enjoy being in my own space, and having control of how my day pans out.
What I disliked about working in an office, more so open offices, and having an IT Support based role, was having my physical space invaded. Working in as an IT manager or Director, I found when many people were angry, they would come and invade my personal space. At times I felt physically threatened, and at a time had been physically hit.
Those experiences make me strongly dislike offices. Life without daily microaggressions and office politics is a tad bit more peaceful.
I was never one to give into office politics so either my coworkers hate me or they loved me. For me this is a huge win. For those of us who enjoy remote work, try to be more empathetic those who dislike it.
I do think, however, the US government and FAANG have a large hand in setting the bar and regulations for remote and distributed work. What prevents many companies right now from hiring outside of their state are local labor and health laws. What needs to happen for distributed companies to work more fluidly, are needed changes around labor laws.
There needs to be an easier way for companies to hire outside of their current state and even overseas without any tax penalties.
We will see a rise in an employee being able to work from anywhere in the country or the world, and I foresee a huge spike in the gig and contractor economy.