I am one of the lucky ones – I work from home nearly 95% of the time. I have a full time job for a small company that has embraced the ease at which employees have the ability to work from almost anywhere.
Yes, I’ll admit there are a number of industries in which remote work is not feasible, but there are more in which it is. There is a growing number of virtual or remote workers in our country. Technology today has made working remotely extremely easy.
Flexjobs.com has explained a bit more all the different types of remote work or remote employee and how each can be achieved in this article.
For me, I love getting back the nearly 2.5-3 hours a day I would spend commuting. I love being able to sleep until I wake up instead of waking up to the buzzing alarm. I like being able to roll out of bed in to gym clothes, sit at my laptop and start working. I like being able to go for a short run at lunch time without having to worry about how sweaty I am afterwards. I love not having a manager directly over my shoulder, yet having them know I am accessible to them almost any time they need me.
I have worked remotely on and off for the better part of the past 7 years. I have mastered the art of flexible scheduling, of time management, of prioritizing. Yet, many employers still do not believe in remote work or flex schedules. That is probably my biggest issue since going back to work full time from freelancing – the lack of flexibility within the work day.
I am able to easily, most days, overcome the lack of flexibility due to always being connected. I receive my emails on my cell phone so regardless of where I am I can see if something has come in. If I bring my laptop with me wherever I go, I can usually access and respond to any email that comes over the wire. This is the true meaning of working remotely – not being tied down to one place, one desk, one office, one room.
This is where being a workaholic comes in handy. I don’t let work drive me, but I do make myself available when emails that require responses come in. I pay attention during 9-5, obviously I do the majority of my work during that time, but as a workaholic who has perfected the art of remote work, I also know that sometimes life takes over.
Sometimes you have a doctor’s appointment during your lunch hour, but end up waiting nearly an hour before even being called to the back, thus you have gone over your lunch hour. Well, as a remote employee, that doesn’t affect me all to often. I don’t have an office to be back at, my office is wherever I am located. I have answered calls or responded to emails from the waiting room, or even the patient room while still waiting for the doctor.
There has been much discussion over how American’s are obsessed with work, how the typical 9-5, 40 hour work week no longer exists (as noted in this article by Kevin Mercadante). Yes, it’s true, many people are now working early in the morning or late at night, sometimes both in one day. There are even people out there who simply refuse to take their work home, instead staying late at the office just to finish a task. To me that is a dis-service to your family, your friends, your work/life balance.
Now my industry has never been a 9-5 industry. We work with vendors, contractors, attendees who are sometimes located across the country. Some even based internationally. I have been known to take my laptop to dinner with me if I am waiting on emails, or if I am working a program with vendors/clients in multiple timezones or pressing deadlines. My friends understand. I delegate my time so I can do it all, I am less stressed this way because I don’t feel as though I am letting something lag.
Personally, it bothers me, concerns me even, when employers would rather have their employees stay late hours instead of taking their work home with them. Or if they know a project will require long hours, why not let them split time, do half days in the office with the rest at home. This will keep their employees happier, less stressed, more free.
Just check out this article on Forbes.com: Top 10 Benefits of Working From Home. For me personally, my top reasons for LOVING remote work are: More me time, less commuting time, higher productivity, more flexibility. Of course there are the perks: I can travel a bit while still working because, let’s face, as long as there is a Starbucks nearby, I can get on Wifi from anywhere!
Would you rather work remotely or work from a dedicated office building?