INDIANAPOLIS — For Indianapolis native, Wes Wagner, the office is wherever he wants it to be.
"I would consider myself a remote work native," Wagner, a software consultant for startups said. "I've never worked in a traditional office."
Wagner works in technology from his remote work setup and he has that down to a science with his external monitors and setup that travels where he goes. While many of us think of tech startups in California and other more expensive places to live, work and play, Wagner said that's no longer the case.
"For me, it's just where the world is going for a lot of technology companies," he explained. "Silicon Valley now exists more and more in the cloud."
Wagner was first exposed to the world of remote work during his time in college at IU Bloomington and that is also where he developed his passion for working with startups.
"I realized I could just work remotely and take that career path, and so as soon as I graduated I decided to do a little bit of traveling and went to Medellín in Colombia fell in love with the place," he said.
Wagner then split his time between the Circle City and the City of Eternal Springs.
But when the pandemic hit last year, Wagner, like many Hoosiers found himself back in familiar territory and close to family in Indianapolis. That's where he continued his remote work in the pandemic but it wasn't the same experience for him as before.
"When I moved back to Indy at the beginning of the pandemic, I really was lacking a community," Wagner said, who had a solid community of remote workers in a space in Colombia. "I was working from home, and working from home and remote work are not the same thing. For me, remote work means being a part of a community with other remote workers."
So Wagner joined The Speakeasy on Winthrop Avenue, a nonprofit space aimed at providing resources and community for entrepreneurs and remote workers alike.
Wagner said his advice to other remote workers is to find your community whether it is a space in person or online.
"When we don't have that social life, when we don't have necessarily bumping into people to have career opportunities you have to really intentionally find those places and those online communities," he said.
He explained that most of his clients he works with are out of state. To continue to market his skills and make those important career connections, Wagner is active on social media and connects with people in tech all over the globe on Twitter and other online forums.
He said one benefit to remote work is you can compete and work for a global company and have a chance to earn a higher wage. He says that opens up a lot of opportunities to the remote worker, especially in the technology field, because you can get a great job while also living in an affordable community.
"It allows you to be very intentional about where you want to live and you can choose a place where you have a high quality of life versus being forced to move to the coast of somewhere like that where your job defines where you live," Wagner said. "So I'm kind of getting the best of both worlds, where my job and career can be all around the world, but my quality of life and my closest friends and family are right here in Indianapolis."
Wagner said that places like Indiana have an opportunity to attract these remote workers thanks to everything the state has to offer residents.
"Indianapolis is such a great place for remote work because we have such a high quality of life and a low cost of living," Wagner said. "Being able to afford a home, while also not making any sacrifices in their career, that's a really special position for Indianapolis to be in."
If you want to connect with Wes Wagner and the services he provides in software consultation, you can connect with him on twitter at @CaffeinatedWes or @rarelydecaf and also on his website rarelydecaf.com.