Every company’s definition of remote work is slightly different, and every professional thrives in a different environment. Discussing remote work during interviews is essential for anyone looking for a new job. If you’re enjoying remote work currently, you may have to negotiate to remain a remote worker as the pandemic continues to evolve.
The coronavirus pandemic forced companies, small and large, to adapt quickly. As a result, many tested remote work programs for the first time and are now trying to figure out how to enter their next chapter. In this blog, WiFi Artists will share a broad definition of remote work, elaborate on its benefits, and share our vision for remote work going forward.
What exactly is remote work? Remote work empowers professionals to complete all work tasks outside of a traditional office setting. Many companies are starting to agree that work isn’t a specific place you go but rather a series of activities you perform. With jobs that depend more on software and internet connectivity than cubicles and conference rooms, some workers don’t require a physical office like they used to. Either way, remote work represents a significant shift in our thinking about work, professionalism, and work/life balance. For example, it’s now possible to separate long commutes and stuffy “professional” attire from a team member’s output. Today, thousands of workers benefit from the freedom of remote work.
Remote work benefits: 1. Flexible schedule Team members generally choose where they live and most of their work schedule with remote work. Organizing your schedule allows you to budget time for work, personal admin, and family matters. You may like to work a bit later in the evenings and spend more time outdoors during the day. You may take a brief siesta after lunch to prepare for more meetings. These routines are not easy to accommodate in an office setting, but they make working more enjoyable.
2. Lifestyle and travel options Professionals who don’t have to commute into the office every day or live in a specific city have immense flexibility. Remote workers can budget and invest differently. They can learn new hobbies and join communities that weren’t available previously.
Remote workers can prioritize travel and move freely as long as they have a strong wifi connection and an appropriate workspace. You could split time between two locations depending on the season. Some even travel the majority of the year, forming tribes of digital nomads.
Companies may request that you live in a specific state or region. This makes it easier to meet customers, attend quarterly meetings, or make in-person connections with team members. However, the terms of remote work are often negotiable, so an “impossible“ arrangement for one company may be entirely typical for another. 3. Improved health and wellness Remote work makes it easier for team members to prioritize their health and wellness. Being at the office every day takes a significant toll on employees mentally and physically. Not every office has ideal workstations, consistent natural light, or a genuine sense of community to offer.
There’s emotional labor involved in showing up to the office. Hiding one’s feelings during a bad day is difficult. Offices force team members to deal with personal and professional frustrations, disappointment, and trauma in public in real-time. These moments are not professional development. Remote workers can simply shut off their devices and cope with stress in more productive ways. Mental and physical well-being can change multiple times within one workday, and offices are not ideal for coping with stress. In the American Psychological Association’s Work and Well-Being (a survey of 1,050 salaried employees), 74% of respondents said working from home is better for their mental health. In addition, it’s much easier to advocate for and maintain one’s well-being when we create the environment that surrounds us. Going for a walk, calling a close friend to get advice, or doing some simple yoga poses can do wonders for our mood, mindset, and productivity. These routines may be difficult, impossible, or labeled “unprofessional” in a traditional office. However, these routines help us be productive and maintain a positive mindset when working remotely. 4. Renewed passion for work When performing a job is separate from a long commute, formal attire, and bland conference rooms, employees can focus on the parts of work they enjoy.
According to the 2021 State of Remote Work Report from Owl Labs, 90% of the 2,050 full-time remote workers surveyed said they were as productive or more productive working remotely than when they reported to the office. Helping team members feel more effective and less frustrated at work should be the goal for all employers.
It’s easy to get distracted from or removed from a flow state at work. Making the most of our creativity, clarity, and expertise is essential. By removing frustrations from the workday, we think more positively about the act of working.
Will most people return to the office?
Data scientists at Ladders believe remote work will continue to gain popularity. According to their projections, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022 and new remote work job listings will continue to rise in 2023.
If your company mandates that everyone comes back to the office, don’t panic. Leading companies post hundreds of remote job listings every day. The current labor market empowers professionals to choose who they work for and where they work. It’s absolutely okay to ask your employer to remain a remote employee or ask to try it for the first time.
If you cannot negotiate a healthy remote work dynamic with your current employer, look on LinkedIn and Indeed for similar jobs that meet your needs. Don’t burn bridges, but be patient and picky regarding who you work for and give your time to.
Companies that don’t allow for a remote option will likely have challenges recruiting and retaining top employees. In the American Psychological Association’s Work and Well-Being (a survey of 1,050 salaried employees), 84% reported that working remotely after the pandemic would make them happier. Cheers to more comfortable and more productive employees.
Will remote work continue evolving?
Remote work is not going away any time soon. Remote work will continue to change how we relate to work and lead fulfilling lives. Innovative companies will see this as an opportunity to change their employment and hiring practices to build dynamic teams located around the world.
Freelance work arrangements will continue growing in popularity. While freelancers have less job and income security, many creatives love this work arrangement. Freelance workers operate as independent businesses rather than as protected employees. While finding a client base can be challenging initially, many freelancers generate more income than they would as a salaried employee working for one company only. Most freelance workers don’t go to a physical office and work from wherever they please. Whether on a retainer, contract, or hourly agreement, freelancers bring subject matter expertise that companies struggle to find elsewhere. Some thought-leaders believe that full-time employment will change to meet the needs of aging populations, and “fractionalized employment” will become the new norm. Organizations are often slow to change, but new thinking will help solve future problems. The increase of freelance and remote workers will decrease the pressure to live a “traditional” life. For decades, professionals often felt pressured to marry in their twenties or thirties, purchase a home, and have children. However, a new generation of creatives is asking for more options and challenging the traditional path.
Coworking collectives and digital nomad groups will continue to gain popularity, offering a mix of experience and support that professionals demand. These groups may switch locations every month or stay in a particular city for an extended time. These groups’ cultural exchange and shared experiences help professions grow.
WiFi Artists prides itself on being a leader in the remote work revolution and an emerging coworking collective. Traveling year-round in multiple regions, we’re eager to demonstrate the benefits of taking the path less traveled.