Remote work is on the rise.
What seemed like a pipe dream or wishful thinking only a few years ago is now a hard reality, and it does not appear to be going away anytime soon. If anything, it will only continue to gain traction and popularity. We can observe this with the rise of remote job boards such as WeWorkRemotely, RemoteOK, NoDesk, Remoters and Jobspresso to name a few.
More and more companies are hiring this way, and it makes complete sense that they are.
Remote just works out better for everyone involved. This certainly applies to the field of SEO, where such a thing is possible (unlike some professions, which absolutely require a physical presence).
It may feel uneasy at first to even consider the idea of “working from home”. It probably conjures up images of scams and shady ‘business opportunities’ you’ve seen advertised on late night television or web banner ads. If you can move past any false stigma remote work may have, however, a world of opportunity becomes available to you, which a traditional office job could never provide.
Let’s see how:
It’s almost a certainty that you don’t live in the same suburb that you work in.
Even if you did, there’s still a good chance you have to take a few minutes out of your day to commute to work. Whether it’s via bus, train, car or otherwise, commuting to work is a task which is necessary for anyone who is required to be in their place of occupation. It can take anywhere from 20-180 minutes a day traveling to-and-from work, not to mention days where there is traffic, breakdowns or accidents of any kind. When we add that up over a career, that is a staggering number — entire YEARS are wasted moving from your home to your place of work and then back home.
Some may justify a commute by suggesting such a reserved period of solitude can be used for something productive such as learning (i.e. reading a book, listening to a podcast etc.), although at some point the law of diminishing returns would certainly be at play.
And if you do happen to live extremely close to work, there is still the problem of time required to invest in your presentation. That means fixing your hair, applying some form of cosmetic and undergoing other unique aspects of preparation in order to present yourself to colleagues and superiors in a professional way. This may even trump your commute time.
In any which way you choose to look at it, our most valuable commodity is being sacrificed for an unnecessary expectation of presence, which could be eradicated by the concept of remote work.
If you actually enjoy the time spent in an office and feel like you’re getting real work done, you may want to consider the monetary cost of not going remote.
Very few people go the entire day without eating or drinking, and even fewer companies offer free coffee and food in their shared kitchen. It might explain why Starbucks is extremely busy in the morning as employees pick up their favorite latte on the way to work. Lunch time? Unless we’re packing it ourselves, a $10 meal is nothing to worry about. Over the course of a year, that’s only ~$3000. If we’re earning a few thousand dollars a month, that’s not a lot to spend on coffee and lunches, right?
…That sounds like a lot to me.
Well if you can wait it out and you’re going to drive home for your meals, you still have to pay the cost of gas once every few hundred miles. And let’s not forget about the tires that need to be replaced, or the oil that periodically needs a change. Heaven forbid we should need a new alternator or air filter!
The cost of not working remotely is undeniable. Conservatively speaking, you’re spending at least $4000 a year on stuff that doesn’t improve the results you were hired to produce. Thousands you won’t ever get back from your boss, or the government.
The very nature of being confined to one specific location for most of the working day means you are unable to address certain situations which will naturally arise over the course of your adult life.
Traditionally, a trip to the doctor (whether that be for yourself or a dependent) required a full day off work. The same would apply if you needed to pick up a friend or relative from the airport, if you needed to renew your license at the DMV, or even if you just needed to be home to accept a package that required a signature. And let’s not even discuss taking your kids to-and-from school.
It doesn’t matter that the task-at-hand may only be 2 hours of your day. For the most part, your 9-to-5 schedule is as rigid as a rock. Even if you were given some level of leeway, there will inevitably come a time where your permitted “freedom” will not be sufficient to fulfill an important obligation or duty.
True flexibility is only found in the context of remote work. Nothing less.
This may come as a surprise, but your health is at a greater risk when you follow the traditional route.
The obvious plus for remote work is the inherent benefit of avoiding all coworkers who are sick, but there are other elements which can expose us to bacteria and infection in a conventional work environment.
Shared bathrooms are a common breeding ground of filth and contamination, not to mention the pathogens, germs and microbes they often contain.
The thermostat is another culprit. With a number of bodies in the one area, there is often an internal struggle for the ideal temperature that will be suitable for all who must work in it. This may seem like a silly difference of opinion, but it does affect our overall well-being and susceptibility to common sicknesses.
Those who work remotely also tend to have better health due to superior eating habits, greater time for exercise and not dealing with the pressure of eating out with colleagues.
Most importantly, thousands of people are killed every day in car and biking accidents. A majority of them were either traveling to or from work. If you are lucky, you won’t be one of them. But, honestly, why take the risk at all?
There is little doubt that you will be infinitely happier working on your own schedule in alignment with your own values and work ethic, than doing things the way you’ve simply been told to.
Some companies have mandatory participation in certain events and gatherings. Others have high expectations which you are strongly encouraged to meet, if you want to be accepted by your peers and have any chance of career progression.
Office politics and gossip are usually unavoidable if it’s common to your culture and coworkers are all engaged in it. Distractions are hard to circumvent without having to plug your headphones in and play something to drown out the noise, even if you simply preferred silence.
Moreover, there is something unnerving about using IT which is not native to your style and preference. I personally can only work on my own configuration of a MacBook with Google Chrome — nothing else. The time and energy I have spent optimizing my setup over a number of years allows me to work at full efficiency. Everything down to my bookmarks, extensions, software and keyboard shortcuts means I am able to get to work immediately without having to deal with the frustration of operating an entirely foreign operating ecosystem which requires new passwords, details, customization and a steep learning curve to say the least.
Working in a standard career environment seems to influence individuals in unique behavior, ultimately turning them into inauthentic (fake) versions of themselves.
Remote work offers the chance to be free from any extracurricular obligations. You have the option of dead silence or blasting music without the use of headphones. There’s no gossip to tolerate, no politics to navigate and no frustrating IT to worry about.
Remote work allows you to be authentically you, without any worries and with zero compromise.
Yes, we share this planet with other people. And getting work done from wherever we are only makes it better.
Consider the amount of traffic we sit in daily. A majority of that traffic is caused by you and me, who are traveling to a work place. That very traffic has essentially caused thousands of hours in waste and inefficiency, since we are all slowing each other down by trying to get somewhere at the same time and needing to share the road at that very moment. Remote work would solve that issue at the snap of a finger.
What of the pollution such traffic causes? Do we not care for the environment? Why do we need to pollute the air with our engines when we could stay at home and not cause any carbon footprint?
There are millions of people who are disabled. They can’t walk. They can’t drive. They are a recluse. They are agoraphobic. They aren’t able to leave their residence for one reason or another. That doesn’t mean they are not productive members of society. They can work, if the world could give them an opportunity. Working remotely, evidently, seems to do just that. It gives the disabled a chance to put their talents to use and not allow a disability in one area of their lives hinder them in all the others. Remote work allows the disabled to contribute to society, making it better for all of us.
In addition, beyond the responsibility we share with strangers, is the relationships we tend to sacrifice at the altar of a high-paying job that requires a commute and long hours. We miss the mornings with our kids, or the unforgettable moments we experience with our partners. The overall quality of our relationships with those we love can be enhanced if we were simply present for them in the first place. Remote work allows us to do just that. It allows us to strengthen our bonds to each other and, collectively, the fabric of our society.
In more ways than one, remote work does more good for the world than we have ever stopped for a second to think about.
Final (Important) Thoughts
There are benefits to remote work for business owners, also.
Let’s face it: the most talented or people best suited to your company culture are NOT all within a 20 mile radius of your companies headquarters. Furthermore, there are significant savings in office space and all the other miscellaneous costs associated with a present workforce. With that in mind, it only makes sense that companies move toward this radical idea of remote work, too. It’s a total win-win.
Remote work is the future. In some ways, the future is already here – the rest of the world just needs to catch up.
If you value your precious time, money, freedom and health — if you want to be authentically you and have a positive impact on society — working remotely is the best way we know how.