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Blending Work and Life: What Remote Work Looks Like For Families and Partners

May 20, 2015 8 min readOpen
Photo of Nicole Miller
Nicole Miller

Director of People @ Buffer

Having the ability to work from anywhere in the world has led to lots of travel adventures for members of the Buffer team.

Niel toured Asia while working remotely. Rodolphe sailed across the Atlantic. Joel recently toured 11 cities in 3 months, and Octa is on a month-long cruise (with wifi!) as I write this.

And the beauty of a remote team spread around the world where you make your own schedule is that you don’t even have to travel the world to reap the benefits.

Remote work can mean spending more time with your family (human and fur babies alike), the flexibility to be more present for life moments big and small, and the ability to pursue your dreams alongside a partner, no matter where your paths lead you.

Embracing wholeness is a big part of our culture at Buffer, and that includes family in all its forms. Here are few examples of what family means to the team members here at Buffer, and how working at Buffer has changed or enhanced that part of life.

remote work and families

Nicole: Finding support through the Buffer team

nicole family

After working at Buffer for less than six months, my husband and I learned that our dog (our fur baby), Honey, had lymphoma and would need a six-month long chemotherapy protocol that would take place once a week for 2-4 hours at a time. Thanks to my flexible schedule at Buffer, this wasn’t any trouble, and I received overwhelming support and love from the Buffer team throughout it all. Honey finished her final round of chemo and is doing great! We are so grateful for her health!

I’ve found such joy in the freedom to work from wherever I’m happiest and most productive — the backyard with the chickens and ducks, coffee shops, vet offices, bookstore cafes… I spent several days working from my parent’s living room after my mother had ankle surgery. It was so amazing to help her out. :) Buffer truly lives out the value of wholeness.

Tom D: “I feel so lucky and grateful for this flexibility”

Tom d Family

Working at Buffer has truly changed my life in just 3 months (I realise that this sounds like one of those corny “Lose 40 pounds in 1 week” adverts). I was always worried that working in exciting startups would mean long hours in an office away from my girlfriend and never had thought that a company like Buffer could exist.

When Elly got accepted to do a masters at Cambridge university recently we didn’t have to sit down and have the ‘let’s make this distance work’ conversation. I just said “Awesome! Let’s move to Cambridge for a year!”We still live together around half of the time at the moment, and if she is going through a tough time for any reason, I can throw clothes into a rucksack, hop on a train and visit her without a single obstacle in my way. I feel so lucky and grateful for this flexibility. Every morning when I wake up, I’m excited to see where the day takes me :)

Dan: Location independence create memories

dan family

While living across country from my brother and sister-in-law, I became a first time uncle to nephew MJ. He came a bit earlier than we excepted (5 weeks early!) so I wasn’t able to get home to catch his birth or first few days.

Luckily, working a Buffer, I was location-independent and was able to fly home soon after and work for 3 days at my brother and sister-in-law’s house.

A great memory was being able to write some code while keeping an eye next to MJ while my sister-in-law got a much needed afternoon nap. To be honest, I didn’t get much work done during this hour, but I did snap a couple photos of him!

Sunil: Pursuing our dreams together

sunil family pic

It was Avanti, my wife, who first planted the seed in my mind about reaching out to Joel and Leo when she found me often talking to her about the cool stuff they were doing. We had just been married a couple of months before I reached out to Joel in 2012 and joined Buffer shortly thereafter. As I reflect back on the past two and half years, it’s been remarkable to see how we’ve grown together—both feeling fulfilled in our work and life.

It blows my mind how lucky we are in the way things have worked out.  Avanti’s currently just a couple of months away from finishing up her Ph.D in Clinical Psychology.  When she started five years ago, there was always a bit of hesitation in my mind about how her schooling could take her anywhere in the country for an internship and then post-doc.  I assumed that during this time we would either have to spend at least a year apart, or I would be moving jobs.

Me being at Buffer has allowed us both to focus fully on what we’re passionate about without location constraints—and to be together while doing it.  We are super grateful because we know that this kind of flexibility is often not a possibility for many families.

I’ve been able to move to Washington DC from San Francisco without missing a beat at Buffer, and she’s able to seek her top choices of internship and post-doc positions. We’re moving to Boston in August for her post-doc, and we love having the opportunity to experience different cities and cultures in the US, all the while learning and growing together.

Kevan: A life well connected


I wake up every day excited to work on something I love with people I love. I open the door to my office, and my wife and son are right nearby for hugs, playtime, family time, and adventures. It’s an amazing blessing to have these vital parts of my life so well connected to one another—family, calling, purpose, and passion.

Working remotely with Buffer has given me the opportunity to be a constant presence in my son’s life, to engage with him and spend oodles of quality time together during the most formative stages of his life. It is a privilege beyond measure, and I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to live life in this way and to invest so deeply into parenting.

The flexibility of where to work, when to work, and how to work have made family time so enjoyable. We head up to the mountains on a moment’s notice, or play all day (and work at night) to maximize the time we have together. The positive impact on our relationships with one another has been keenly felt.

Adam: Tearing down the work/life walls

adam family pic

To say that working remotely for Buffer has changed my life would be an understatement. For a long time, life seemed to be compartmentalized between work and family. Each lived in its separate world with only the occasional overlap. I did my best to find what I had heard so many refer to as a “work/life balance.” Becoming part of the Buffer team allowed for the proverbial walls to be torn down.

Each day I am blessed to be able to allow who I am, what I do, and what I value to coexist. They bump into each other, swirl around, and mix and mingle.

Within a matter of seconds I can be hugging my wife, helping a customer with their social accounts, racing my son, having a sync with a team member, or listening to my daughter practicing reading. And the best part about it—this is how I have been encouraged to live and work by the rest of the Buffer team. There have been moments in the last year that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Tom R: “Our big dreams have become realistic”

tom r pic

Since joining Buffer in June 2014, it’s safe to say my day-to-day routine has changed quite a bit. I have been afforded a great amount of flexibility in how to work, where to work, when to work and even what to work on.

For Krista, Jessie (our dog) and me, this has allowed for some wonderful things to happen. We have been dreaming of driving to California to work and play for a few months—perhaps each year—which, now with the support of Buffer, is not just possible but probable! Our big dreams have become realistic. We can travel and take time for each other. Krista is the most important person in my life, and being able to be completely present for her is a privilege few words can adequately describe.

Jessie, our fur baby, also thoroughly enjoys freely meandering around the house, or sleeping at my feet, during the day when I’m home. I’m able to take her to the park across the street to play a few times each day and give her the exercise she needs to be a happy, healthy pup.

Between the three of us, we’re so grateful for the fortunate position we’re in. We’re excited to continue our journey of learning, traveling and growing together.

Patrik: Exploring a new phase of our journey together

patrik pic

Jonathan and I got married just a week before I started my Buffer bootcamp, so it was amazing to have all the support and flexibility as we explored this amazing new phase of our journey together!

There are a lot of unique elements of the Buffer culture that I am so grateful for: the flexibility of the schedule made it easy to find the routine that left me the most fulfilled while also spending lots of time with my new family in Knoxville, and the location independence allowed me to fly out and help my mom pack up her house so that she could move to be closer.

We’ve also been able to explore parts of the world that we’ve always dreamed of seeing together, some for vacation and some as working trips. We’re both huge readers as well, so Buffer’s book gifting program stimulates our thinking and has provided endless conversation around the house as we discuss the latest book that we picked up. :)

Courtney: Finding joy in the small moments

Courtney and cousin

Sometimes it’s the tiniest details that make me notice how grateful I am to be able to connect with my team anywhere and everywhere.

I’ve worked from exotic locales, yes, but I’ve also worked in a doctor’s waiting room while helping a friend out with physical therapy, while watching “Family Feud” with my grandfather (his favorite show!) or even on my own front porch in the sunshine, taking a break to walk the dogs with my husband.

I never have to miss an opportunity to be part of a gathering of friends or family, like my little cousin’s birthday party (where we took the hat selfie above!)

It’s such a huge privilege to be able to arrange my day to fit in all the things that matter to me—my fun work at Buffer, my family and friends, my side projects, self-improvements and passions.

How do you blend work, life and family?

These are just a few of our observations, and we’d love to hear yours, too!

How do you blend your “work” and your “life?” If you work remotely, what have been the biggest changes you’ve noticed in this balance? We’re excited to hear your insights in the comments!

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