Why Remote Work Trumps Being in the Office
I write a lot.
I run a blog and a Medium account; contribute to a few magazines; and write long Facebook posts for my friends. I've always loved it; and so, I feel really blessed that I'm able to work as a content producer. It's also nice that I'm not confined by the nine-to-five work day.
While all this is good, this lifestyle requires a lot of discipline and the right tools to make sure both me and my employers are on the same page. Of course, it also helps to have understanding people, who are willing to hire remotely.
Although I live less than 10 minutes away from my office, I consider myself a remote worker. Mostly because I've built my days around working early in the morning; and so, on most days I finish work before the official workday even starts for most people.
The digital nomad lifestyle is something a lot of people desire. The possibility to work from anywhere, and enjoy work-life balance is magnificent.
Fortunately, more and more companies are beginning to understand the benefits of virtual teams.
Over the last few years, the amount of people telecommuting has dramatically increased. Mostly because many companies have realized that having an efficient remote team provides loads of benefits.
According to Hubstaff, five years ago, if you wanted to see whether your employees were being productive, you’d have to physically walk over to their desks, and talk to them. Now, you can monitor their productivity from anywhere in the world with the right tools.
There's obviously a lot of benefits for employees too.
According to Microsoft, the 10 biggest benefits of working from home from the employee viewpoint are:
- Increased work-life balance (60 percent)
- Save gas (55 percent)
- Avoid traffic (47 percent)
- Increased productivity (45 percent)
As you can see, the majority of people value the reduced costs and increased ability to enjoy a work-life balance that comes from working remotely.
Staying disciplined is difficult. You need a way to report ongoing processes to your manager. You need a messaging app for regular communication. And lastly, you need a way to feel like you're a part of the team.
I'm a big fan of the plans, progress and problems (PPP) methodology for weekly and daily progress reporting.
I spend 10 minutes every Friday creating plans for next week and transferring last week's plans into the progress column. That way my manager can get a quick overview of what I've done and I can get a clear picture of what I need to do come Monday morning.
For everyday communication, I've found that Skype chat works best. If I have a question, I can get a quick response, and if I need to call someone in a different country, the fees are minimal. I also use Skype video calls for weekly meetings with my co-workers.
Of course, many companies have implemented the chat app known as Slack, which I hear works really well.
All of this works well if you and your boss have agreed to clear and measurable goals. Unfortunately, most people haven't.
As I said, I write a lot. This would not be possible if I hadn't spend a lot of time to bring discipline, clarity and order into my work processes. Discipline, to stay highly productive while I focus. Clarity, to make sure my co-workers and manager know what I'm doing at all times and why. Order, to make sure I don't work on unproductive activities.