Kevin Rizer, Entrepreneur | Speaker | Author of Always Wear Pants
Kevin Rizer, the authority on remote work, is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author whose content has reached millions of people worldwide. In 2015, Rizer founded and hosted the popular Private Label Movement podcast, interviewing some of the biggest names and brightest minds in the e-commerce world. He has appeared on stages throughout the world sharing with audiences on topics of e-commerce and finding the passion and purpose in work. Today, he is the founder and CEO of a pet products company sold throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Japan. Rizer is best known for sharing openly about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, and his down-to-earth, relatable personality has won over fans among thought leaders and audiences alike. Having worked from home for more than a decade, Rizer is passionate about helping others discover the art of working remotely and being happier in the process. Rizer lives in Dallas, Texas with his partner Austin, and their Labrador retriever, Mika. When he’s not working, Rizer enjoys being outdoors, binge-watching true crime dramas, and supporting causes important to him in the animal welfare, entrepreneurial and neuro-diverse communities
To start off, we’d like to understand from you what you think the future of work looks like?
Can you elaborate a bit on the ways in which hybrid workers can reduce the friction between switching back and forth? One of the best ways for hybrid workers to adjust to switching back and forth between the office and home is to create consistency. Treat the beginning of each day the same, regardless of whether you are going into the office or staying put. Getting up at the same time, eating a balanced breakfast, and taking time to unwind – whether that means walking the dog, journaling, or exercising will go a long way towards helping you to feel that you can tackle whatever the day throws at you, wherever you are working. Another great tip is to keep your daily schedule more or less the same during the workday. Keep consistent meeting times and tackle tasks in the same order. This will reduce the stress and anxiety that can come from having one set schedule for office days and a completely different set of tasks and timelines on days when you are at home.
How to approach your boss/company about becoming a full-time remote employee?
The key is to approach your boss with clarity and transparency and give them multiple reasons to say “yes” to your request. It’s not enough to simply say that you want to work remotely because you enjoy it, or it brings you added flexibility. Point out how that flexibility actually benefits your company, such as your being able to work more efficiently or without the distractions and commute that office work entails. Bring data to back up your points – if you’ve had your highest performing quarter ever while working from home, that information could help your effort. Finally, if your boss or organization isn’t ready to commit to full-time remote work, suggest a trial period of a few months. This will give you an opportunity to show just how great you can be while skipping the office.
One of the biggest concerns that workers face when it comes to negotiating remote working in their respective organizations is the threat of a pay cut? Can you tell us how one can avoid that?
To avoid suffering a pay cut while opting to remain working remotely, employees should be prepared to negotiate. Be ready to discuss your performance, and alleviate concerns your company may have about remote work by offering to travel to the office for important meetings, conferences or events. Understand any critical job functions that may require in-person work, and offer suggestions for solutions or workarounds so that these critical functions get done. Finally, think about your situation, and consider being flexible. It’s possible that your remote work may actually save you some cash on a commute, a wardrobe, child care, and even living expenses if you have chosen to live in a less expensive area due to your newfound remote lifestyle. If that is the case, and you truly enjoy your job and company, taking a small cut in pay to have the job of your dreams may make sense. Just don’t let them severely underpay you for the privilege. Remote workers shouldn’t be penalized simply because they work from home.
Can small businesses also adapt the remote working manner? How do you think they can do it efficiently?
Small businesses can absolutely benefit from remote work. One way is to expand your talent pool. If you are searching for A-list talent to join your team, being able to onboard someone that may not live in your geographic area means there are many more potential applicants. Being flexible with remote work means that a small startup in an expensive city may be able to afford someone with much more experience if that person happens to live in a less expensive area and is willing to work for less. Conversely, an organization based in a smaller, rural area, whose biggest challenge is convincing the right candidate to move to their location can also benefit by tapping into a qualified list of candidates who can perform their duties remotely. The key for small businesses that have hybrid or remote teams is consistency and communication. Be intentional about establishing remote work policies that are inclusive, provide for streamlined communication and clear expectations for the entire team, regardless of where they work.
Do you have any tips for small business owners who are finding it hard to pull through during these tough times?
We are living and working through unprecedented times, and small businesses have been hit especially hard. First, find out what resources may be available in your area. Many governments, localities, and organizations have aid programs, low-interest loans, and grants available for small businesses. There is no shame in asking for and accepting help. Next, network. Running a small business can be incredibly isolating and lonely. Arrange a meet-up or happy hour (either virtual, or in-person if safe to do so) with other business owners in your area, or in your field. You will find that being around others, and hearing about their struggles and successes will remind you that you are not alone. Finally, be persistent. In the business community, we focus on success so much and often overlook or downplay failures and setbacks.