Andrew Young had made his decision. He was going to move away from Seattle and make a new home in a smaller, quieter, less-busy town, even if he had to quit his job to do it.

“I walked into my boss’ office and told him I was planning to leave Seattle,” recalls Young, a marine engineer. “Before I even mentioned the fact that my move meant I’d likely have to leave the company–a place I loved working–he said, ‘Would you consider working for us remotely?’ I didn’t even think that would have been an option, but I was really happy that it was.”

Young moved to Bend not long after, and he now continues to work remotely for his Seattle-based employer, Glosten, a company that provides engineering services for the marine industry.

Like many employees new to remote work, Young says he was concerned that communication with Glosten’s Seattle offices would be an issue. But he worked diligently to adapt to his distributed-employee status, and now—with the help of productivity and communication tools like Trello, Teams and GoToMeeting—he says both he and the company are very happy with the arrangement.

Remote Employees are the ‘New Normal’

Young’s story is becoming more and more common, both in Bend and around the world; once extremely rare, as productivity and communication tools have improved, remote employees and distributed workforces are becoming the new normal. According to FlexJobs, as of last July, 4.7 million U.S. workers now work remotely, fully 3.4% of the U.S. population. In fact, between 2005 and 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work in the U.S.

But—again, like Young—many new remote workers initially struggle to adapt to their situation.

Having first-hand experience with the struggles of making the move to remote employment, Young volunteered to lead the Bend Remote Worker Meetup, which meets regularly, often several times a month, and often at the BendTECH building at 1001 SW Emkay Dr. During their meetings—which are open to any Bend-based remote workers, not just those who work out of the BendTECH coworking offices—these distributed employees share tips and tricks for improving communication and productivity while working away from their employers’ head offices.

“It’s also a Happy Hour, and for many of us remote workers, it’s just nice to talk to people who are in the same situation,” says Young. “We don’t always talk about work. For lots of remote workers—particularly those who work from home—it’s just a good opportunity to meet people face to face.”

Upcoming Remote Worker Meetups and Events, and Remote Work Resources

The next Bend Remote Worker Meetup is taking place this Wednesday, January 15 at the Thump Coffee within the BendTECH building on SW Emkay Dr. And there will be FREE COFFEE!

Also taking place this week is Bend Chamber of Commerce “What’s Brewing with Remote Workers”, which will take place at 5pm on Tuesday, January 14 at 10 Barrel Brewing’s east side location, located at 62950 NE 18th St.

Remote Workers are also encouraged to join the Bend Remote Worker Meetup Slack Channel, where they can chat with other Bend-based remote employees and learn about upcoming events.