Whether it’s called remote working, telecommuting, digital nomadism, or something else, more and more people are recognizing that work is what you do, not where you do it.
Still, many people resist the idea of working from home, from a coworking space, or anywhere that isn’t their office cubicle. This is true even of people for whom remote working is very doable—people whose work primarily involves sitting alone in front of a computer.
If that reluctance sounds familiar to you, here are 7 reasons to try remote working for yourself.
It’s not all or nothing
Some people get hung up on the extreme aspect of going fully remote. I’ll be lonely, they think, or it will be too hard to collaborate with my team.
The good news is that you don’t have immediately start working from outside the office every day. Pick a weekday that makes sense for you and try it. You might find that having a day set aside for head-down concentration helps you to be more productive, while still giving you plenty of time during the rest of the week to interact with your coworkers.
We have the technology
The concept of the office was born in another time—before phones and computers even existed, let alone operated wirelessly.
Today, technology like cloud computing, instant messaging, video conferencing, and even regular old email makes connecting and collaborating with people possible no matter where they are.
Not sure where to start? Free tools include:
- Google Hangouts for video calls
- Skype for chat
- Trello for project management
- Dropbox or Google Drive for cloud document storage
Output, not input
When people ask you what your job entails, do you say it’s all about sitting in a certain chair for 8 (or 10, or 12) hours a day? Of course not.
When you embrace the idea that work is what you do, not a place to commute to and from, you move towards a mindset of measuring output rather than input.
Some managers are afraid to allow their teams to work outside their field of vision. In many cases, that’s because they’ve fooled themselves into thinking that because they can see the top of someone’s head in their cubicle, they must be working. What a joke.
The reality is, if you don’t have a way to measure what you and your team achieves, concretely, it doesn’t matter where they sit. You won’t know if they’re productive or not. And allowing your employees to work wherever they want to might just be the spur your organization needs to implement that kind of constructive productivity measurement.
Increasingly, employers are finding that competition for the best talent is stiff in the marketplace. If you adopt flexible working policies, you have another perk to offer your applicants—one that doesn’t cost you anything.
In addition, remote working frees you from the constraints of geographically based hiring. Is the best person for that open position living on the opposite coast and unable or unwilling to relocate? No problem.
Why limit yourself to a small pool of people who happen to be nearby, when you can go around the world to find the best fit for the role and your company culture?
Cut your carbon footprint
Working from home just one day a week cuts your commuting miles by 20 percent. Two days and you’re up to 40 percent. See where this is going?
The less you commute, the less time you spend on the road. The average American commutes 25 minutes each way, five days a week. And if, like most Americans, you drive to work alone, working from home can dramatically cut your carbon emissions. So what’s better for employee and employer can be better for the planet as well.
Did you ears perk up? Yes, allowing yourself and your team to work remotely can save your company money. If you commit to a flexible working policy, your company won’t need nearly as much office space.
You might choose to spend part of what you save on monthly rent on memorable, team-building excursions, to give your people extra face-time.
Try it and see
As you can see, there are many reasons to try remote working. Exactly how and why you make your company more flexible depends on you.
There’s really only one way to find out how many of these benefits you can realize, and how. Pick one day a week and try it for a month or two. Once you’ve done that, reflect, connect with your team, and see what remote working has done for you.