Ok, I need to say it. I need to acknowledge it is a thing. Remote workers are probably the new crossfitters, who are the new Jehovah’s witnesses. They (or should I say, we) are always saying how good these lifestyle decisions are, and are trying to convert others into this new found glory (I see you, 2000’s pop punk fan). I get it, it can be a lot, and perhaps it can even be annoying to some. But this is the thing, remote work is actually really great, and I say that as someone who is not a trends person (I think).
Unless you have an inherently on-site job and you are a preschool teacher or, I don’t know, a tennis instructor, you can probably get away with it. With remote working I mean. And maybe you or your company should give it a shot. Maybe just a couple times a month, or maybe dive deep into the experience, go all in and work remotely full time. Also, maybe it’s just not for you, and that’s ok too.
But if you have the chance, you should at least try.
But what is exactly remote working? You can probably find definitions, perks and struggles everywhere, but here, I’ll try to explain it. In short, remote working is the possibility to work outside a traditional office space and under traditional working schedules. Sometimes you’ll have agency over one of these variables, and some others, over both of them. This means that you may work on your startup, your No-Code App, your freelance jobs or whatever, from home, a coffee shop, a coworking space or an island in the caribbean. It also means that you may start working on a regular schedule, from 9 to 5, but you could also start working later, because you are a content editor and staff writers hand you their pieces after lunch, or earlier because you want to spend time with your kids when they arrive from school.
But that’s just the meat and potatoes of remote working. Almost everyone mildly interested in this style of working knows what I’ve just said. Maybe, however, you should consider some additional stuff.
As an employer, you should consider, for example, the 61 million of Gen Z people who recently started or soon will start to work. As WeRemoto stated in its latest blog entry, this is truly the first digital native generation, and this is important because they actually know their options —I mean, they have options. These guys know the tools and possibilities they have tech-wise, which means a 9 to 5 office job might not necessarily be their first option when they look where to work. Flexibility is crucial.
Also, as an employee and as an employer it is obviously important to be content with the working conditions. For many, remote work helps in that field as well. In State of Remote Work 2020, a report made by Buffer and AngelList in which they collect data from over 3500 remote workers around the world, there’s a list of several benefits to remote working; the top three being the ability to have a flexible schedule, the flexibility to work from any location and not having to commute.
If I compare my previous work, an 8 to 6 office job, to where I am now, working remotely, I get how all three of these perks can be of huge value. I used to wake up at 5 to get to the office by 8, and then arrive home at night between 7:30 and 8 because even if I was done with stuff for the day, I couldn’t leave before 6. The rigid schedule, the office space (which was far from my home), and the commute, would swallow around 15 hours from my day on a weekday, and I needed to get a good night sleep to wake up early for the next day, so there wasn’t much time for any extracurricular activities. This obviously means no work-life balance, which segways perfectly with my next point.
One of the downsides of remote working for many is the loneliness factor. When you are working by yourself, from your home, you might start feeling lonely, and that is a completely valid criticism. In my case, fortunately, it was quite the opposite and it had to do precisely with that work-life balance. I felt burned out by work, wasn’t especially close to my coworkers and when I got home I just wanted to unplug. That eventually led to loneliness and growing apart from a lot of my friends. So even if I was constantly moving and talking to people, I felt alone and distanced.
Remote working tools like Tandem, Slack, or Zoom allow me to stay connected to my coworkers and speak with them whenever I need, but now I can get done with my workday and meet with friends, cook dinner or go to a movie. I don’t need to wake up at dawn to make it on time to my office. I feel refreshed psychologically and socially speaking, because, even when I’m working from home I get to do more stuff outside from it and balance way better this complex dynamic.
It is pretty great, but if you tried it and found out it’s not for you, that’s completely fine as well. People can get lonely under certain circumstances and it can be problematic for some. If you think you’d dig it, though, try it out and make the best of it. Try using all the tools available for remote workers —everyday there’s more and more.
Does this mean I should try Crossfit or religion?