Kelli Neely Works Remotely

Kelli Neely Team Photo


Years Remote


Preferred Workspace

Austin, TX

Home Base

IT L&D Program Manager

Fulltime Remote Worker Employee

Kelli Neely
Interview with

How and why did you start working remotely?

When I first separated from my husband, I made arrangements with my manager to allow me time to leave mid-afternoon to pick up the kids from school, and then I could log on from home and finish my work. This arrangement worked so well, that I was able to keep this schedule throughout the kids’ school years. Once I was able to demonstrate productivity while working from home, each manager that followed was supportive.

What advice would you give someone considering a remote job?

Building a sense of trust with your manager is key. Open and frequent communications, status updates on your work, all help to build that trust.

What are the biggest benefits to working remotely?

  1. Flexibility to address personal appointments near home, or to respond to personal/home/family demands that always exist.
  2. Ability to work as needed to get the job done. Not all deadlines can be met between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., so working a hour or two here or there is a huge benefit.

What are the greatest challenges to working remotely?

People still subconsciously treat remote workers as if they are less valuable, less dedicated, less productive. Plus, your success or failure as a remote worker is almost 100 percent dependent upon your manager’s perspective.

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

We don’t have a fixed schedule, other than the normal business hours. I have calls that may start as early as 7 a.m., but most commonly at 8 a.m., then I typically work until 5 p.m., but that also can ebb and flow as needed.

How do you avoid becoming distracted when working remotely?

It is easy for me, since my children are now grown and out of the house. If you have small children, you will still need to take them to daycare!

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

  • VPN
  • Wi-Fi
  • WhatsApp (messaging with folks in other countries)

How do you stay in touch with virtual teammates?

Skype for Business is a key tool, as well as WhatsApp on my smart phone to stay in touch with coworkers outside of the country.

What’s the hardest part about working with a traditional team while you’re remote?

“Out of sight, out of mind.” I just maintain constant touch points, calls, emails, chatter, Skype, etc.

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

If I am able to continue control over that option, I would be remote for life!

How has working remotely impacted your career plans?

For me, since the culture is supportive but not yet accepting of leaders working 100 percent remotely, I think my choice of remote work has diminished my career path options to be an executive one day. I know there are exceptions to that, but more often than not, executive leaders are expected to be face to face. But that is OK with me, since at this point in my life, flexibility and productivity are more important! I can do more when I work remotely and I can maintain a better work-life balance, so taking a fresh look at realistic career path options is OK with me!

How do you stay connected to your professional community virtually?

LinkedIn is critical. Also, industry conferences are perfect. The Texas Conference for Women is a great one!

How do you stay physically active while working remotely?

That is a tough one. Working from home does lend itself to be less active (no more walking to another building for lunch in the cafeteria or going between conference rooms for meetings). For me, having an elliptical next to my desk is extremely helpful. Plus, I take my breaks by walking around the block.

How do you cope with feeling lonely while working remotely?

As an introvert, I am open to being alone and actually prefer it to get work done. But I also know that it is critical to stay connected, so our team will schedule recurring lunch or dinner for us to get together. We even have a “virtual watercooler” conference call where we only talk about non-work items, to get to know one another on a personal level.