More people are working remotely than ever before. Eighteen percent of people work remotely full-time, and this number is only expected to grow in the coming years.
Not only is technology making it easier to switch to remote work, but more and more people are also realizing the benefits of remote work and demanding changes from their employers. In fact, 16% of American companies only hire remote workers.
But, what is remote work? Why are more people trying to work remotely? And, more importantly, how do you work from anywhere in the world?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about remote work life.
What is Remote Work?
Remote work simply means working from somewhere other than your company’s office. For some, this means working from home, while for others, it means working from a coffee shop or co-working station.
Remote working offers many benefits, including:
Shorter Commute Times
People spend an average of 27.1 minutes commuting one way in the US. This means that the daily commute is about 1 hour, which adds up to about 5 hours per week. That’s a lot of time to spend sitting in your car in traffic.
But, wasting time is just one of the downsides of a long commute. Studies show that long commutes can also increase your stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, those with a long commute are also more likely to suffer from depression.
By cutting down on your commute, you’ll have more time to eat breakfast, sleep, workout, and converse with your family. Having a little extra time in the morning to do something you love can really set you up for a successful day.
Better Work-Life Balance
Many people who work from home experience a better work-life balance. Many remote jobs offer flexible schedules, which means you can start and end your day at different times as long as you finish your work.
For example, one day, you can work from 11 to 7, while another day you can work from 8 to 4. Remote work also often allows people to take breaks during the day to run errands, pick up kids, and go to appointments, so as long as you stay on top of your tasks.
For those who enjoy traveling, location independence is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of remote work. If you work as a freelancer/independent contractor and don’t need to keep a strict schedule, you can pretty much work anywhere you want, from the beaches in Thailand to the cozy coffee shops of London.
Even if you do need to keep a strict schedule, you still have a lot more flexibility with where you work. For example, one day you can work from home, and the next day you can head to a cute coffee shop. If you can hotspot from your laptop, you can even bring your workstation to the park or to your patio.
How to Work from Anywhere
If you’re ready to hop on the remote work train, the first thing you need to do is figure out if your current career allows for remote work. If you spend a lot of time on your computer, chances are you can make an argument to your boss that you can switch to working remotely.
Here are some tips to help you convince your boss to let you work remotely:
Be Clear About Your “Why”
Don’t just tell your boss you want to work from home because you hate commuting and being in the office. Instead, think of specific reasons as to why remote life would be better for you.
For example, maybe you have young kids and you want to be able to get them ready for school and pick them up. Or, maybe you find that you’re more productive in a remote work environment. Or, maybe you have a parent who has reached retirement age, and you want to help take care of them.
Highlight the Benefits
While remote working is beneficial for employees, it’s also quite beneficial for employers. When requesting to work remotely, make sure to mention how your boss will benefit from the situation as well.
Perhaps the biggest incentive is that hiring remote workers is more affordable. With a remote workforce, employers can cut back on real estate costs, utility costs, technology costs, and transit subsidies.
You can also point to all of the studies that say remote workers are happier and more productive. With these benefits considered, your employer is more likely to listen to your case.
Improve Your Performance
Your employer likely isn’t going to allow you to work remotely if they feel like you can’t do your job well. However, if you’re already a top performer, they’ll be more likely to trust that you can do your job with minimal supervision.
Consider how your past few performance reviews have gone and what your rapport with your co-workers and clients is like. If you recently dropped the ball on an assignment, take into consideration how you recovered.
You should write down any recent positive feedback you’ve received as talking points during your discussion with your boss.
Put Together a Plan
One of the biggest reasons bosses say no to remote work is because they don’t want to deal with helping you transition to a new work setting. To make the decision for your boss easy, plan out your remote setup ahead of time.
Here’s what you should take into consideration:
- How you’ll define your work hours (i.e, when you’ll be online and available to managers)
- Where you’ll work and how you’ll ensure you stay focused
- How you’ll be present for meetings and important conversations
- How you’ll handle work conflicts
- How you’ll stay involved in the company culture/community
- How you’ll set up your office space (You can click on this page to find the right laptops for remote work)
If your boss refuses to budge, you can always work toward a compromise. For example, you can ask to work remotely two to three days per week and stay in-office the rest of the days.
Consider a Career Change
If you have an interactive career that doesn’t allow for remote work, or if your boss simply says “no” to your proposition, then it may be time to consider a career/job change. Here are some of the best careers for remote workers:
- Software developer
- IT manager
- Web developer
- Graphic designer
- Information security analyst
- ESL teacher
- Medical coding and billing specialist
- App developer
- Travel agent
- Sales consultant
- Telehealth nurse
Not only are these great remote careers, but most of them also come with decent salaries and opportunities for advancement.
Know How to Be a Productive Remote Worker
To succeed in your career as a remote worker, you need to learn how to stay productive. While working in an office certainly comes with its drawbacks, one of the biggest benefits of in-office work is that your distractions are limited.
It’s harder to browse on your phone without getting caught, and there’s not a TV sitting right next to you that you can turn on whenever you please. Luckily, there are many things you can do to stay productive when working remotely, such as:
Set Up a Dedicated Office Space
One of the biggest drawbacks of remote work is that your office space and home space can quickly meld together. This can make it difficult for you to focus, and it can also make it difficult to maintain a work-life balance.
This is why we suggest setting up a dedicated office space in your home. Your office space should be complete with a desk, chair, and computer. Ideally, it should be in a separate part of your home that’s quiet and free from distractions.
If you live in a small apartment and don’t have space to set up a dedicated office, consider joining a coworking space.
Create a Schedule and Stick to It
While a fluid schedule allows for more flexibility, creating a set schedule will allow you to be more productive. First, think about the time of day when you’re the most productive and alert.
For some people, this is the early hours of the morning, while for others, it’s later in the day. Then, take into account how many hours you need to work per week, and set your schedule from there.
When creating a schedule, factor in your before-work activities that will set you up for a successful day. For example, you may find that starting your day off with exercise or journaling helps you remain focused.
Are You Ready to Work Remotely?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is remote work,” it’s time for you to figure out how you’re going to transition to the remote work life. With the right job and schedule, you’ll soon be reaping all of the benefits that remote work has to offer.
For more tips on finding a remote job, browse our blog.