Most people don’t think of their job as a means to making themselves happy. “Work is work”, and a means to existing as a human in this country. The idea of a job directly making you happy, not just through monetary incentive, is foreign to the majority of our workforce.
The first thing most people say to me when they learn I have a remote job is: “I couldn’t be productive if I worked at home”. I always get a laugh out of this because I had similar concerns when I started working remote a year and a half ago. Now that I’ve experienced the benefits first hand though, I’m not sure that I can ever go back to being stuck in an office.
When you really think about it, the concept of an office is terribly out-dated. A centrally located “box” where employees come together each workday made sense 50 years ago when it was possible to live within minutes of where you worked. However as our population grows, cost of housing/living increases, and jobs become more and more computer based, an office makes much less sense. The average American spends nearly 30 minutes each way commuting to work. This is time that could be spent with their family, on personal development, or simply getting some much needed relaxation. Needless to say, the daily drive to the office is wasting our time.
My productivity doesn’t change just because my location does
The counterpoint to this is that having a distributed team means it’s harder to monitor what employees are doing with their day. Do employees actually do their job if there isn’t someone there to monitor their activity? To me this comes off as untrustworthy, and furthers the idea of employees being expendable to their company. The reason that performance reviews and performance metrics even exist is to answer this exact question, and reviewing these almost never requires an employee to be centrally located.
My experience working remote so far has shown that I’m not only more productive, I’m happier as a person. I know that my company trusts me to deliver results on time and to a specific quality. My company knows that I’m consistent in my work, and that my productivity doesn’t change just because my location does. This type of bond is exceptionally empowering as an employee, and motivates me to push beyond the normal scope of my job. I have the opportunity to be creative and think critically, which makes me excited to come back every morning. This all stems from the inherent trust that all of my colleagues have for each other, and is a key part of our company culture.
Apart from having a more engaging job because of working remote, my life outside of work has also dramatically improved. The stress of having to schedule my personal life around my work life has all but vanished. The inherent trust makes it easy to adjust my work schedule around personal life activities. It could be something necessary like visiting the doctor, or something less necessary like catching an afternoon yoga session. My company recognizes that having my personal life in order means that I can be more focused and productive at work.
Working remote has made me feel more fulfilled in both my career and my personal life. I can pursue projects and ideas that I never would have dreamed of doing just a few short years ago, and I’m excited to see what the future will hold.