Chris Schain Works Remotely

Chris Schain Team Photo


Years Remote


Preferred Workspace

Miami, FL

Home Base

Project Manager

Fulltime Remote Worker Employee

Chris Schain
Interview with

What advice would you give someone considering a remote job?

Be brutally honest with yourself. Are you disciplined and conscientious? If you are, then working remotely is a fantastic option. If you thrive in a setting where there are lots of people around and you feel like that’s an important experience, then working from home probably isn’t for you.

What are the biggest benefits to working remotely?

For me, the biggest benefit is flexibility. I’m not spending 2-3 hours a day commuting to work in heavy traffic, which allows me to start my day early or end it late (or both). I’m also able to pick up my kids from school or get them to practice—whatever the day calls for. Because my company is built around remote employees, we’re entrusted and empowered to get our work done while also maintaining a positive work-life balance. And in turn, I’m even more productive and diligent about ensuring my work is getting done.

What are the greatest challenges to working remotely?

For some, the lack of social interaction is a detractor, but it really is what you make of it. At Appirio, we conduct nearly every meeting through Google Hangouts or GoToMeeting with our webcams on. It allows for greater personal interactions with coworkers, even if we’re on opposite sides of the country.

Do you keep a regular remote work schedule? What is it?

Somewhat. I generally start my day at the same time every day (around 8:45 a.m.). I try to eat lunch away from my desk on most days, so I’ll often use that time to catch up the news or maybe watch a few minutes of TV. Even though you’re at home, you’re still working and I think it’s important to step away from the laptop to have a proper lunch. I try to go to the gym early (before work) because otherwise my day can get hectic and it becomes too easy to skip a workout.

How do you avoid becoming distracted when working remotely?

Honestly, it’s not as difficult as some might think. Again, it comes down to discipline. I don’t turn the TV on while I’m working and I’m very strict about the time I put in and the to-do list I make nearly every day. In my view, working from home is a privilege and I don’t like to abuse it.

What gear can't you work remotely without?

  • I have two widescreen monitors that I like to use when I’m working that help when I have to multi-task (which is pretty often).
  • I also have a company-issued aircard that is invaluable when Wi-Fi gets spotty.

What apps or websites can't you work remotely without?

At Appirio, we use the products that we implement (Salesforce, Google, Workday)—all of which are invaluable. In addition, I’m a heavy user of Smartsheet and GoToMeeting. In a past life where I also worked remotely, I used Slack on a daily basis.

Do you work from a home office? How is it organized?

Yes. We originally had a room earmarked for a home office, but I’ve really taken it over and made it into a true office space. I have a large L-shaped desk with plenty of room for a couple monitors, printer, etc. There’s a TV in the office, which rarely gets turned on, and also a small couch. If the weather’s nice, I’ll take advantage and sit outside on the patio.  

How do you stay in touch with virtual teammates?

We use Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting. I’ll have my webcam on for nearly every meeting as do most of my teammates. It’s important because it adds a personal touch to the virtual meeting.

Do you have tips for saving money while working remotely?

I eat at home for lunch nearly every day, whereas when I was in a traditional office setting, I’d go out to lunch on a fairly regular basis. That’s definitely a big savings.

What does your remote company do?

Appirio is a global services company that helps customers create next-generation worker & customer experiences using the latest cloud technologies.

Would you consider returning to a traditional office job, or are you remote for life?

I’m remote for life. For me, the benefits so outweigh any potential negatives, that I prefer to work remotely for as long as I possibly can.

How do you stay connected to your professional community virtually?

Google Hangouts and other messaging tools such as Slack are vital to establishing and maintaining connections with others. Technology is great, but don’t overlook the human element to building and keeping relationships with others.

What's the best way to develop professional contacts while working remotely?

You really have to build your brand when you’re working remotely. I’ve used LinkedIn as a networking tool, obviously. But even beyond that—look for other opportunities to meet professionals, whether it’s through national organizations that have local chapters (such as the Project Management Institute) or through professional events in your community.

How has working remotely impacted your family life?

It’s been phenomenal. My work-life balance has never been better. I’m able to help with the kids and attend more of their school functions/events. The flexibility it affords is second to none.

How do you manage work life integration?

I keep my work in the office, so to speak. Once I come out of the home office at night, I try to disconnect as much as possible and make that time about catching up with my family after the day’s events.

How do you stay physically active while working remotely?

This is so important. It’s really easy to become sedentary when you’re not leaving the house and sitting at your desk all day. I go to the gym 4-5 days a week, usually first thing in the morning (5:00 a.m. or so). I also try to get up and move around several times a day. If you’re working from home and can get a rising desk extension so that you can stand and work periodically, do it.

How does working remotely impact your diet?

Great question, because it definitely can. It’s so easy to snack and eat during the day when all you have to do is open the cupboard or the refrigerator. I go back to my standard answer of being disciplined here. It’s a must.