Recently, we shared our thoughts in a few articles where we got to discuss a topic that many of us already have heard of: digital nomads. Here at Standups, we believe in the freedom that working remotely brings in to employees at distributed companies. Therefore it is one of the topics we love to talk about, we're very passionate about it as it's a key part of our product. Personally, as I come from Chile and work in Germany, I take the idea of working away from ‘home’ at heart — it's deep within me, it's the way I've been working most of my career, in the last 10 years, when remote work wasn't yet the big trend it is these days. So, today, I'd like to start things off by moving away from digital nomads. Instead, we are going to go back to the roots: why is remote work gaining such popularity? More specifically, what can it bring you, specifically? In this article we will cover the main aspects of why remote work is tempting so many people to leave their on-site, in-office jobs, and go find a remote job, or even start their own distributed startup.
Because of the perks offered by remote work, many employees are deciding to politely decline high paying jobs in order to keep up the perks they have while working remotely. After reading these points we prepared to explain the main aspects around the benefits, I am confident that you will understand exactly why it's encouraging so many people to join the remote workforce:
Work Internationally, Live Locally
I love Hamburg ⚓️ 🇩🇪, and so do most people who come and visit this city. One of our employees works abroad yet resides in Hamburg, and she gets to go back to this beautiful ‘Perle’, as the locals call it, every so often. This, according to her, is one of the biggest perks the job offers: she gets to work in amazing cities while not being restricted to one specific area. This is arguably one of the best aspects of working remotely. You do not have to stay in Los Angeles to find work, nor do you have to stay in your hometown forever; the world really is your oyster.
Say it with me: flexibility.
This ties well with our next point: working remotely gives you more flexibility, therefore potentially more energy. Think about a typical nine-to-five day. Most of us will reach a certain point in the day where our energy levels stoop down, where we can barely concentrate and where our productivity simply stagnates. If you work on your own schedule, you can make a choice to go to the gym when you feel this way instead of staying in your office and waiting until the clock strikes five. Similarly, flexibility is not just about time, but about how you choose to spend it and most importantly with whom. As a remote worker, you can choose to work from 11 AM to 3 PM, just in time to pick up your kids from school. Or, you can decide to take a 2-hour slot off in the middle of the day to spend more time with loved ones and friends. It is totally up to you. This, along with the location flexibility and a more extensive market of clients, is one of the positive aspects being a remote worker can bring you.
Better standards of living
This new flexibility transforms into a massive improvement in your standards of living and quality of life. Instead of only seeing your family for a few hours at breakfast and dinner, you can start having lunch with them and can be home to enjoy a few more hours. Additionally, you save on commute time, meaning that you can keep this time to yourself and prioritize your hobbies or tasks that you wish to get done. Finally, the flexibility allows you to be more productive on your own terms as you can choose the right time and place to work. For some of us, working with background music or conversations works well and gets us in a certain focused-mindset. For others, there is nothing more aggravating. This may be your case!
More productive on your own terms
Speaking about productivity, this is another thing that seriously changes once you start working remotely and having access to this flexibility I have mentioned. Instead of measuring your productivity and achievements on your butt in chair (BIC) hours, you measure it in the amount of work you have gotten done that week. This can be great– for example, it may motivate you to stay much more focused when you decide to start working and may help you stop procrastinating. This also comes from losing the associated pressure of continually being supervised while working. After all, it was documented numerous times that giving more freedom to employees makes them more productive as they become overall more satisfied with their jobs1!
The remote work trend is accelerating like never before
There has always been a small part of the workforce working remotely, or from home. The well-known term telecommuting has been a category of work for decades. But in the last years something interesting happened. The amount of people working remotely from home as increased almost exponentially in the last years. There was definitely a tipping point as this graphic clearly shows for the US workforce:
The trend is here to stay and projected to keep accelerating and bring more people to into the remote work force.
More control over your own actions
There are more unexpected upsides to working from home as well. For example, unless you choose to work outside of your home in a place designed for remote workers, you can choose how you decorate your office. This means that you can say goodbye to dull, old and grey offices and hello to a beautiful, well-decorated office. You can get a comfortable chair, as well as a keyboard and screen that permit you to work for many hours without working your neck. This is something which is not always a given even in more prominent companies. On top of this, you can work in whatever attire you choose to do so. If you feel like working in pajamas, no one is there to tell you otherwise. However, many workers find it difficult to separate private life (or, rest time) from public or working life. Dressing normally, or as you would if you were going to an office, can help you mentally create this separation.
A healthier lifestyle
There are also positive impacts on your health which are associated with working remotely. For example, many countries have health care systems which only offer appointments in the morning or afternoon. This can render it difficult for many employees to make it to the doctor’s office. This, of course, leads to the possibility of getting sick without noticing it, something many of us fear. Additionally, numerous offices have air conditioning running all day. Did you know that it was linked2 to more colds and viruses being caught by employees working in such offices? When your home is your office, you choose the temperature and have some power over this. This may sound like something trivial, but think about the numbers of days lost to sickness that you keep when having control over your AC, something so simple?
A cheaper lifestyle
By working from home, or at least having some flexibility in terms of where and when you work, you also cut down on the costs. People who work office jobs tend to buy food from a café or a restaurant practically every day. In turn, it is something you can avoid as you have the time to make your own lunches and do not have to worry about carrying it around all day. On top of this, I find it much better to go out for lunch once in a while as it makes it special, unlike when I used to go practically every day.
More resting time
Working from home also means that you can choose to take some time off when you need to and that you can use that time up to get some chores done. For example, I know someone who cleans their room or does their laundry when they need a break. This way, they are sure that they will not get caught up in an impromptu Netflix marathon that is so hard to break. You can also take naps when needed, which, although some companies have introduced a few napping pods, most do not have such gadgets. Finally, you can also decide where you want to work on a day to day basis. For example, I love taking my laptop to my favourite café on certain days. Still, on others, I prefer staying at my kitchen table. Also, because I carry my work everywhere, I can work from a train or even on a plane. This is, in my opinion, one of the best aspects of operating a job that I can do entirely remotely.
What aspects of your current way of working do you like, and which ones would you like to change? Is there something that your company does not offer that made you think “wow, that would be so cool”? Some people would prefer being able to work from their bed. Meanwhile, others might think that joining a hip new coworking space is the kind of lifestyle they would enjoy. What about you? Base your answers off this list, and let me know what you came up with; what is it about remote work that you wish you could have? From there, you are only a few steps away from making it your new reality. Let me know via my Twitter account @restrex or via our Live Chat.
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Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Worker Autonomy Can Lead to Greater Productivity, Satisfaction. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 13, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2011/01/25/worker-autonomy-can-lead-to-greater-productivity-satisfaction/22885.html↩