Remote working

A View from the Ellucian Hinterland

Key takeaways

  • Ellucian has a geographically diverse workforce with opportunity for remote work.
  • Phil believes that working from home has brought him success because he is happier. He is able to live in a place he loves and spend more time with his family.

Ellucian has a geographically diverse workforce. Although most of our employees work in Ellucian offices or at customer sites, we also have quite a few employees working remotely. Remote employment has been in the news quite a bit recently. Many companies have started to allow more employees to work remotely, while at the same time, some big-name companies have pulled their remote employees back into the office.

Ellucian has embraced the idea that we should look to hire the most talented individuals regardless of location. This philosophy has allowed us to continually attract some of the most qualified people in the industry. I started my career here working in a newly renovated office. It was modern and airy, and I quite enjoyed it. Then, in 2012, circumstances led my family and I to relocate to an area without a company office. However, I liked what I was doing, believed in the company’s mission, and didn’t want to lose my job.

After careful consideration, I approached my boss about the possibility of working remotely. There are unique challenges associated with working at home, and Ellucian does not offer the opportunity to everyone. This privilege is reserved for those who have demonstrated a certain level of responsibility, a commitment to excellence, and the ability to work independently. I felt I met the requirements, but it was a move that would put me a thousand miles away from my immediate supervisor. I didn’t know what to expect.

Fortunately, he was also confident in my ability to succeed. And now after 6 years, to the benefit of both Ellucian and myself, there have never been any issues. A big reason for my success is simply that I’m happy. I live in a place that I love, get to spend more time with my family, and enjoy being able to work in a relaxed atmosphere of my own choosing. The quiet of my home office allows me to focus in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

The other reason for my success is that I have more time to dedicate to my job. When I worked in the office I had an hour-long commute. That added up to more than 500 wasted hours per year. I’ll tell you, you feel a lot more positive about working late when you’re already in the comfort of your own home and can smell dinner cooking from the next room. I also start my day earlier. I can roll out bed, grab some coffee, and be at my desk in a matter of minutes.

I love working from home and hope it continues for many years to come. However, it’s not for everyone. It takes an increased level of commitment to make it work. One of the first challenges one faces is in regard to communications. You don’t realise how much information is passed at the water cooler. As a remote employee, you need to work at staying engaged by proactively seeking our information. One way I accomplish this is by regularly scheduling “catch-up” meetings with my colleagues. These will help me stay informed and help others not forget that I’m a valuable resource. Video conferencing in particular has been invaluable.

The other big challenge is avoiding distractions. At home, all your stuff is there, the family is there, etc. Having a dedicated home office is an absolute must! When I close the office door, I’m at work. There are no toys, TVs, or other time-wasters in this room. The one exception is my guitar. When I’m frustrated, strumming a tune can help me to relax and refocus.

I’ll just say that working from home can be a rewarding experience if you’ve got what it takes. I’m forever grateful that Ellucian has given me this opportunity, and I look forward to many more years of service.


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About the Author
Phil Sykes
Phil Sykes
Principal Architect

Phil is a seasoned technology professional with more than 25 years of industry experience. He has a wide variety of experience, from dot-com start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.