Tara Dragon, founder and president of Work Evolution, works remotely connecting other professionals with remote and flexible work opportunities in Alberta and British Columbia.
She launched the venture based on her experiences as a remote professional and a mother of a young son returning to work.
Why did you want to start this company?
I started this company to help solve the problems of under- or unemployment for professionals who don’t want a traditional work setting.
What’s the advantage of focusing on flexible work situations?
We can give companies a different perspective on their staffing needs. Maybe they don’t need to hire someone to work on site full-time, year-round. Maybe they would be better off looking for people who can work off-site.
Also, because we have this resource of people looking for untraditional opportunities, we can provide candidates quickly.
What was the response from professionals?
It’s been amazing. There is a huge demand for it. It’s parents of young children, folks nearing retirement who aren’t ready to stop working, and millennials – all these people who want to have work-life balance. They’re eager to find the right opportunities and want to connect with employers.
How have employers responded?
Some see the value and they’re all over it. Others are more skeptical and hesitant to jump on board. A lot depends on the leader or the manager. Some have difficulty conceiving the opportunity.
How do you connect with companies?
It takes a lot of education. Some people are emotional decision makers and we talk to them about the job satisfaction and the team benefits of having flexible workers. Others are numbers oriented so we talk with them about the statistics and dollars.
How do you find the right work/life balance?
I work from home on Mondays and Fridays but have childcare on site. On Tuesdays through Thursdays, I’m at a co-working space.
What do you find challenging about remote work?
I miss the social aspect of it. I don’t have the casual conversations with other people or those random interactions that build friendships. But I’ve been able to get that through the co-working space.
What’s the best part about remote work?
I love that at 4:30 I can take my son to gymnastics. I love that I can do errands during the day and then work at night. It’s great to be able to work when I’m most productive.
What do you want companies to think about when it comes to flexibility?
They should think through their expectations around communication and performance. There needs to be a shift. It’s about managing based on outcomes rather than activities. If the outcome is there, then the activity is less important. They also need to think through how they’re going to stay in touch with people. What tools they use and what systems they’ll have.
What should professionals consider before going remote?
This isn’t for everyone. You need to be motivated and you need to know your ability to work when no one is around. How are you going to feel about being in an empty house all day? How much are you going to miss your co-workers? Make sure you know what you’re getting into and be prepared.