Work anywhere, play here
The location-neutral workforce in Routt County is growing, and more people are able to work and live where they want.
There wasn’t much at the home office for Oracle program manager Amy Anderson.
She’d head to her company’s space in downtown Chicago’s Willis Tower if she needed to print a big document or to touch base every now and then, but most of the people she interacted with for work weren’t even in Chicago themselves.
Anderson coordinates events for training or introducing new products to clients, and her territory is all of North America. That means coordinating with people in Toronto, Los Angeles or Northern Virginia on a daily basis.
So when Anderson floated the idea of moving to Steamboat Springs to her manager, it was met with little resistance.
“I don’t think she knew where it was,” Anderson joked. “No one ever raised any red flags.”
Anderson, 34, has been coordinating marketing events since graduating college, and while growing up in the Chicago area and nominally living there for most of that time, she’s traveled thousands of miles across the United States in all sorts of interesting vehicles.
Whether it was in the Hershey’s Kissmobile or a travel coach converted to promote and educate the public on the allure of cigars, Anderson has been mobile.
“I’m a really good traveler,” she said.
She still travels regularly as part of her job, and that’s been the only drawback to moving here, she said.
Not living next to two major airports in Chicago makes air travel more challenging, Anderson said, but it just takes more planning.
“I knew that coming here, as well,” she said. “If that’s going to be my tradeoff to live here, I’ll take it.”
The draw was the lifestyle.
“Anything outside I’m going to be excited to do,” Anderson said. “Just to be outside and be with your friends — in Chicago in the winter, you hibernate.
“Bottom line was I wanted to get outside and play.”
Living in Steamboat allows her to be able to take a hike after work or paddleboard on the clear water of the Yampa River.
“I did more camping in one summer than I’ve done my entire life,” she said.
As long as she has a laptop to instant message with colleagues and a phone to make calls, she can work from her living room in Steamboat.
Her desk is her dining table, and her view is of Emerald Mountain.
Ski boots stay warm on the hearth of the fireplace as Anderson works with a throw over her lap.
A lot of people work remotely, she said, though most are closer to an office than she is.
“At some point, they’d prefer you to live near an office,” she said about the long-term potential of working from Steamboat and the potential of career advancement.
For now, she plans out her flights far in advance and drives to Denver International Airport when it makes sense to keep her travel costs in check.
She said the Mountain time zone actually is beneficial because it splits the difference between colleagues on either coast.
This past week, she was in San Francisco for a team gathering of people from across North America. They typically only meet once per year, Anderson said.
“People are on the move,” she said. “It’s just how it works.”
“I’m fortunate to enjoy my job and live in the place that I chose,” Anderson said.