About Emma Santa, PhD
My name is Emma Santa and I am passionate about remote work. I’ve been a remote worker for over 20 years and a remote work researcher for the last five. Without the possibility of remote work I never would have had the career I’ve had or the opportunity to complete my PhD. I’ve experienced the best and the worst of remote work, hybrid, all-remote, multiple industries and organization types, great remote leaders and not-so-great remote leaders. And, if there is one thing that I have learned over the years it is this:
There is no one way to do remote – and what works for someone else, or for another organization – may not work for you, or your organization.
The challenge with working remotely is to know when to pivot and when to push-through. For example, if you are a freelance content writer you may not find a company who is looking to bring you on as a W-2 employee. As a result, you need to pivot your expectations to a slightly different job search. If you are a remote manager with a hybrid team, you may find yourself pushing-through to establish equitable team norms. If you are looking to shift your organization to permanently remote, you may need to pivot some of the expectations around what technology can do for you. Again:
Every experience with remote work will be different.
Today, I get to work in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet – the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California. If we are lucky, they are dotted with snow in the winter and green in the summer. And we are lucky most of the time. From here, I work as a fully remote employee for a Fortune 100 company (I’m an ethnographer by nature). This is the location from which I also coach and consult, write and record, and where I connect with others around the world. Without remote work, my options for employment would have been limited or reliant on travel.
But I am not one to shy away from travel either! Prior to the pandemic, I had the opportunity to take my work “on the road”. I was working remotely in New York, Chicago, Phoenix, even Australia. There were time zone challenges, technology challenges, communication challenges, and HR challenges. And there were solutions. It was thrilling to have the “lived experience” of a digital nomad. As I mentioned, I’m an ethnographer by nature. I believe that to be a successful consultant or coach, you have to get into the weeds. It’s not learned from books, or a single experience – but deep dives and immersion. As a remote work coach and a consultant, I bring both breadth and depth of experience and knowledge to my partnerships.