My Remote Working Story
Seven months ago, I left an office based 9-to-5 job for something completely alien to me: a position that allowed me to work from home four days a week. Initially, I had some reservations about how it would affect me—working on my own that much and the self-discipline needed to motivate myself. Seven months later, I’m experiencing a work-life harmony like never before and performing better at my job than ever have.
Here are my thoughts on why remote working works for me and why I think every employer should embrace it:
Why Remote Works for Me
I’m More Motivated
The main benefit of working from home is obviously the flexibility it gives you. Even though I still work from 9am – 5.30pm every day, I no longer feel like my whole life is centred around work. A common worry for employers and remote employees alike is that productivity would suffer as a result of not having someone checking that you’re doing your work. In fact, I have found that my productivity and passion for the job has increased since I started working remotely. This is partly down to wanting to prove that I can work even better from home than I can in an office environment and partly because I actually find myself less distracted when working from home.
When you work in an office, it’s so easy to get distracted by conversations, phone calls and meetings. Even if you’re not involved in them, just overhearing others is usually enough to make you drift off. In the digital world, a lot of importance is put on the concept of achieving a “flow” in which you feel in the zone and are able to get complex tasks done efficiently as the work simply flows out of you. There have been lots of articles written about flow and why you shouldn’t distract someone who is in it, because once you do often it takes a long time to get back to it again. Working remotely greatly enhances my ability to achieve and maintain this state of flow which has been a major benefit to me.
More Time For Me
Then there is gift of time that remote working gives you. I am saving myself the best part of three hours each day by not having to drive to work. This means I can spend more time in bed, get up and do a workout or take the dog for a walk and sit down at my desk feeling relaxed and ready for the day ahead instead of feeling tired and stressed after spending an hour and a half in traffic.
My Ideal Working Environment
Not everyone is an office person. I have worked in offices for over a decade and still do one day a week and I can confidently say that I don’t thrive in an office environment. That’s not to say I’m an introvert or that I hate it, I just work better in my own environment.
Offices can often be too constrictive, meaning you are at the mercy of the personalities around you. I once worked in an office where one negative employee almost brought down the entire business. And people who were vital to its success left because of them.
Working from home means you can turn the radio off if you really need to concentrate, you don’t take forced breaks when you don’t need or want one, and you won’t get dragged down by toxic office politics.
People often think that if you work remotely you will turn into a hermit and spend days without speaking to another soul. This just isn’t the case. You’re still the same person you were before with the same friends and family, hobbies and interests. But now you have more time and energy to enjoy them.
Another assumption is that if you choose to work remotely you will be sacrificing any chance of progressing in your company. Once again, this comes down to working for the right company and them understanding what you can bring to your role. The likeliness is that if you are working remotely, lots of other people in the company will be doing the same. So, there will likely be a system in place that makes communication easy, so there’s no reason you couldn’t be promoted to leading a team of remote workers.
What’s In It For The Employer?
You’ll Hold On To Your Staff
I believe modern companies need to be more flexible with their staff if they want to succeed and avoid having a revolving door of employees. In my industry, which prides itself on being innovative and forward thinking, it’s pretty shocking to see so many agencies sticking to a rigid office based 9-5 concept (actually it’s far more commonly 9-5.30). In an industry where all you need to do your job is an internet connection, it’s no wonder why people who live far away from where they work, have children or commitments that make a rigid routine impractical are leaving these companies and joining ones that allow them to work from home.
You Will Instill Trust
Not allowing your staff to work remotely, even for a couple of days a week, suggests to them that you don’t trust them enough to do the work. This will obviously have an impact on their morale and desire to do a good job, which doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. If you’d known in hindsight that all your employees were going to be constantly looking over their shoulders, you probably wouldn’t have hired them. Besides, it’s just as easy for employees to avoid doing their work in an office, so you’re not really gaining anything as an employer by dismissing the idea of remote working.
An Unlimited Talent Pool
As well as the obvious savings you will make by not needing a physical office, embracing remote working also spreads the recruitment net so much further for employers. By allowing remote working, businesses can hire people from all over the world. So, if you’re a business based in a small rural town, suddenly you’re not limited to local talent or those within a wider area who are willing to undergo a draining daily commute that hinders their efficiency.
It’s Just Smart
If you ask most office workers, the vast majority would choose more time to spend with their friends and family over office parties, team building events and even over being paid more. For a company to be truly forward-thinking, they should be looking at how their employees can work smarter and look at ways of giving their staff their lives back.