More and more jobs are popping up that are ‘remote-friendly’. What exactly does that mean and why are they increasing in quantity?
After my digital nomad adventures in 2017, then quitting being a digital nomad and having an office job in 2018 and now having a remote job; I wanted to reflect a bit on my experiences and dig a little deeper into the pros and cons of remote working.
In this blog post, I would like to dive a little bit into this topic and why I believe remote working is the future of working.
What is remote working?
Remote working is simply working, but not in the office your company is located in. Some remote companies don’t even have an office!
It means that you are given the flexibility to work from anywhere you want, as long as you get the job done.
This doesn’t mean that you will never see your colleagues or clients. Face-to-face communication will still be needed, but maybe we can be more selective about that. After all, open office plans were initially designed to foster communication between coworkers, but that didn’t really seem to work out according to Harvard studies, because instead of promoting interaction, workers were seeking privacy to get away from the noise.
What’s so good about remote working?
Apart from the freedom you get, it also signals that your employer trusts you to do your job, and there is no need for them or a manager to see you physically.
Therefore, companies that offer remote work are oftentimes rated highly in terms of workplace satisfaction as well as employee experience.
Most importantly, you have the freedom to decide when and where to work, and you can discover yourself when and where you work most productively.
It’s about accountability as well: your employer trusts you to do the job. This trust comes with your responsibility as well. Do your job and there is no need for your employer or client to micromanage you.
Apart from that, you have the freedom to choose where you want to live, which could possibly be a cheaper location then if you would have to commute to the office. And speaking of commuting, you don’t need to do that anymore with a remote job, which means you save on transport costs as well.
Other than the obvious benefits for the employee, there are a lot of other great things about this phenomenon. According to a study conducted by researchers at Harvard Business School, employers save a tremendous amount of costs, including office space costs. And on top of that, it’s also an environment-friendly policy: as employees don’t have to commute to work anymore, this reduces emissions drastically.
Why remote working is the future
The new generation of workers won’t value the free fruit or coffee you companies have at their offices, not even the ping pong table that they boast about in their job ads. They value flexibility, but above all, the trust that is given to them to do their job in their own space and time.
With the digitalization and globalization comes a new way of working. Communication and collaboration tools like Slack, Miro, Zoom and other countless tools, make it easier than ever to work together and collaborate from a distance.
It has also been proven by various studies that remote workers are more productive than office workers, as reported by Forbes. They also put in 6-7 more hours a week compared to in-office workers. Additionally, remote workers are less likely to take time off, often working when they are sick as well.
Now, doesn’t this sound like music in your ears, employers?
What you should be careful about
Even though Remote working has many benefits, it certainly has its challenges.
As stated earlier, remote working also requires a sense of responsibility: You need to be proactive and engaged to get the job done. Some people have difficulty with this, they claim that they need someone there to ‘drive’ them or ‘motivate’ them.
Another big challenge is the loneliness of working remotely.
I have spoken to remote workers to claimed that after working remotely at home for a while they increasingly felt isolated and alone, and even had difficulties in engaging in social activities. This is especially true for freelancers and customer support workers, who often don’t work in a team and just work and talk with clients. But this doesn’t provide them with a sense of community and there is the danger that they can become increasingly isolated if they don’t proactively seek social connections in their work environment. This applies also to digital nomads who travel and are not surrounded by their usual friends and family.
If you are not careful, it can trigger a psychological toll.
Moreover, there are still some jobs that simply require one to be at the office or, at least in the area, such as Sales and Account management. However, this does not mean that you always need to be at the office for these kinds of jobs. Even doctors can now do online consultation; if you just need some pills, obviously you could just get the prescription via email.
Of course, we can’t just magically make all jobs remote-friendly. In the coming future, it will most likely be a mix of remote and in-office work. And we definitely need to see colleagues face-to-face once a while, because after all, we are still humans and need that human connection. Some things are just easier explained and communicated in person.
But let’s do that when it is actually needed and not force ourselves to be productive between 9 to 5 in an office setting, but in our own space and time.
I hope you liked this article! Questions? Comment in the comment section below!