People seem to be in one of two camps these days: a lover or a hater of remote work.
It got me thinking about the reasons why I’m in the first camp. Whether you agree or disagree, hear me out.
Remote work isn’t remotely going anywhere (see what I did there?); it’s an increasingly common perk for many companies today. Let’s round up all of the things that make flexible work so great and everything you can do thanks to having the option. I got the list started:
- Bag the bagged lunch. Sick of weekly meal prep? Spending too much $$ eating out? Working remotely gives you all-day access to your fridge – however stocked it may be – so that you can dive into its contents at any point in your day well before your tummy screams, “FEED ME!” Not only can you choose when you eat, you can cut down on that last-minute AM frenzy when you wonder, “What the heck am I going to eat for lunch today?” The fewer decisions you have to make in the morning before your daily intake of caffeine, the better. Plus, you can always opt for dessert before 10 am…and copious quantities of tuna without insulting your co-workers. Done and done.
- Skip the commute. The average commute time in the U.S. is 25.4 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And that number can inch up to nearly 45 minutes thanks to rises in rush hour traffic, in urban areas especially. This means that Americans are spending around an hour, if not more, en route to work every day. That can add up to 42 hours – an entire work week over the course of a year – resulting in less time to do you, whatever that may look like. Working from home gives you back time for other things outside of work, and it gives you the freedom to dive right into the project you’re working on when you’re fresh in the morning free of delay and distraction.
- Give your fur babies some extra love. Dog walker prices are no joke, and what’s the point of having a pet if you can’t spend some time with it during daytime hours? Whether your pet likes to supervise you as you develop your latest report or provides a nice, fluffy cushion couch-side, having extra QT with your favorite furry friends will make you happier and maybe add some unintended inspiration as well (amphibians and reptiles welcome, too).
- Let your horticultural passions bloom. We’ve all been that person. The “plant killer.” Even if attention to detail isn’t your thing, you’ll have more time – and ample reminders – to let your green thumb develop if you’ve got the day to watch over your garden. Whether it’s growing your own herbs, tending to the roses, or just appreciating how easy your succulents are to maintain, you’ll be able to do it all from the comforts of your own abode and breathe a bit easier in the process. Thanks, photosynthesis.
- Turn up the tunes. It might not be full-on “Risky Business” – but it could be. Either way, nothing compares to a headphones-free zone. Regardless of whether Mozart’s your thing (I hear classical music does wonders for memory) or if you’re more of a Slipknot-while-you-code kind of person, you’ll have control over the volume in your own workspace. Cue dance party break in your underpants, if that’s the extra push you need to meet that deadline.
- Redefine your idea of “office space.” Imagine your “spot.” Your happy place. Why wouldn’t the place that makes you feel most Zen also double as the place where you can do your best work? You pour a lot of your life into the work you do, and you should be able to do it in a setting that inspires you. Whether coffee shop vibes get you jazzed, poolside hot spots brighten your work, or who knows, even space travel (someday?) takes off, you have the power to decide when alternative environments can be a part of the equation.
- Rock the business attire mullet. Business on top, party on bottom – and by party, we mean PJs and slippers. Have no video conference meetings to log into? Forego the button down and rock your jammies top to bottom. Hey, the louder the better. Adult footie pajamas? Sure. Full length kimono? You’ve got our permission. Whatever knocks your socks off to get things done…your way, your style.
- Lose the guilt. Mimicking the habits of coworkers too often? Sometimes, it’s easy to look around you and wonder if you’re working “right.” It’s not unusual to succumb to group behaviors, especially when it comes to taking breaks and modeling communication styles. If you find yourself saying, “Everyone at the office eats their lunch at their desk” or “No one seems to mind sitting instead of standing while working during the day,” you may be feeling the pressure to emulate your peers’ productivity preferences at the office. Instead of fitting into the mold, break free from it. Embrace the way that you do your best work, regardless of your surroundings.
- Sign on for ‘Signature Required.’ Keep missing your package delivery? Embarrassed that your co-workers will judge you for your online shopping addiction after getting lost in a stack of Amazon boxes sent to your work address? Worry not. When you need to be home to sign on the dotted line, you can. Now that’s something to get behind.
- Say yes to ‘lunchtime laundry.’ Nothing is a bigger downer on the weekend than an overflowing laundry hamper. The week(s) gets away from you, and suddenly you’ve got more dirty clothes than you care to admit. Instead of wasting precious down time on chores, get them done in between conference calls. Your mom would be so proud.
- Make work work for your schedule. Need to share daycare pick-up responsibilities? Have a doctor’s appointment you just can’t reschedule…again? Working from home opens the door to so many ways to make your life a little more sane. When flexible work options become the norm, you can stop saying “sorry” and start saying “thanks” a lot more: thanks for the freedom to work around your life, so that you can have a bit more of it.
- Get ‘er done. Studies have shown that people who work remotely are more productive, and that accounts for a lot. When you can hit the ground running, you might be surprised how much you can get accomplished in one sitting and as a result, what you can do with the extra time on your hands.
In the end it’s not about a one-size-fits-all approach. Those who are given the ability to enjoy remote work options are afforded a gift that others before them could only imagine: choice. It’s all about freedom. Freedom from the 9-5 grind that made life more mundane and work-life integration less manageable in the “good old days”. In the “always-on” reality we live in, flexible work policies should be used wisely and embraced fully so that we can juggle everything we have going on, on our own terms.
And if you’re fortunate enough, you’ll have the right technology at your fingertips to help you make the most of it all. That’s what we’re all about here at Fuze: making your life easier, no matter when, where, and how you work.
What others would you add? How do you embrace remote work options? Let’s keep the list going @Fuze or @amandamaks.