Remote work gives you the power to craft your own life.
It seems that the slow transition to larger remote workforces in the technology space has finally begun. The many benefits of working remotely combined with the pitfalls of modern offices and the current robustness of remote-enabling technology have finally culminated in this perfect moment. The time is finally right for remote work, right now.
Keep in mind that working remotely is not for everyone (employers and employees alike). The most challenging aspect involves carefully balancing trust, transparency and communication within a team.
So, why is the time finally right for remote work?
Offices Are Distracting
They just are. Many in our generation have witnessed firsthand why working at an office can make it so difficult to focus on our primary tasks. Distractions. Large and small workplaces alike are ripe with interruptions during the average day. Groups of people are the last place that one would naturally seek to create the focused space needed to think creatively, complete tasks and solve important problems.
Even the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market cannot relieve the effects of FOMO. When you see others talking or someone walking hurriedly past your desk, naturally we’re curious as to what is going on. Focus broken. We’re human and our minds tend to wander naturally.
Big Cities Are Silly
I don’t know how else to put this. It’s been somewhat disturbing to watch all of the technology and creative talent in the country flock to our big cities out of apparent necessity. Even more disturbing has been the outrageous rise in the cost of living and the gentrification of urban neighborhoods.
Going remote allows the most talented people to produce the best work regardless of their location.
Urban life, in general, makes sense and evolved out of people’s desires for the many benefits of living in a vibrant cultural community. However, this very dynamic is quickly breaking down as these cities become full of the same types of folks in the same types of careers.
More and more city-dwelling professionals will realize the advantages and freedom that come with remote work in the coming years and flock outwards to idyllic small towns and exotic locations. The mountains, small beach towns, remote cabins are all the idyllic location for someone to produce their most inspired work. Where are you the most creative and productive? Produce your work from there.
The Technology Is Here
Today’s technology has enabled much of the work in our industry to get done from anywhere. Reliable screen-sharing, VOIP and a number of cloud-based tools are all that’s needed to transition to remote work. This includes software like DropBox, WebEx and Slack (and hundreds more options) which enable most web folks these days to get on board with remote.
Many of these products and companies that are attracting tech talent seek to create the very tools that are strictly for connecting folks over large distances. This enables this very type of remote collaboration desperately needed in our industry. Let’s take advantage of our own creations!
Outside of the technology, the most important tools to successfully work remotely are a combination of trust and self-discipline for all those involved.
Craft Your Own Zone
When you are working remotely, you are faced with the freedom to craft your own work zone. There are less but different distractions present wherever you do decide to work. It’s not for everyone — some just don’t have the self-discipline to avoid these distractions, but it’s far from impossible.
Not everyone has a spare room for a comfortable home office, or maybe family creates too many distractions in your home. If this is the case, and you need to remove yourself from home to work; there are many spaces like coffee shops, coworking spaces, etc that are perfect for focused work. More creative areas like public parks or the library exist as well.
The best place to dwell depends entirely on who you are and what you like to do.
For me, the ideal place for completing high quality, focused work is a home office in a small town on the central coast. Occasional trips to a remote cabin will spark and fuel my creativity. I’ll spend my free time with my growing family or out and about in nature, drinking in the abundant inspiration.
If you’re interested in learning more about the real benefits and challenges of working remotely — I highly recommend reading Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37 Signals. This article was heavily influenced by what I learned reading this fantastic book. Read it and get on board — I’ll see you in the mountains.
Keep learning, keep growing. Work hard & be nice to people.