Working remote benefits more than just the employee.


Today is Friday. I'm sitting on my deck, in balmy 64 degree weather. A hummingbird flies near me to feed at the feeder 3 ft or so from where I sit. The breeze gently flows over me and fresh air fills my lungs. I'm working on a project for work with my laptop in my lap; unintrusive to the overall sense of freedom. This is remote working.

Days like these make me very grateful that I am a developer. The kind of creative work that I do lends itself greatly to the idea of working remotely. But many other vocations are getting on board too and I believe that we are going to continue to see remote work trending upward.

Let's think back in time for a moment. For years there has been a belief that as we advance as a civilization we should work less. The thought being that technology will lead the way to greater efficiencies in our working habits and as a result, we will be able to get things done faster and then, of course, work less. Unfortunately things haven't worked out that way and what was thought to be a problem of efficiency turned out to be more of a societal and political issue. It's plain to see that despite many years of thinking we should work less that we aren't working any less. In fact we are probably working more. We substitute freedom from work with the ability to fit more work into the same time/space. This is a result of our insatiable appetite for more which of course is a discussion all on its own. But this article isn't about working less per se and I'm not saying that all work is bad. Certainly as a result of society working harder some truly impressive things have been accomplished. Nevertheless there is certainly some correlation between the idea of working less, efficiency and working remotely.

So if people have been asking for less hours or are at least in favor of the idea of working efficiently then why is working remote not more common? Well the truth of the matter is old habits dies hard BUT working remotely is becoming more commonplace. Not only is it becoming more common, but it's also being studied in an attempt to quantify its effects. More and more articles and studies are showing that remote workers are happier and more productive than their in office counterparts. Remote workers also represent a better talent pool than those in the immediate physical area. In fact that Harvard Business Review study I mentioned shows that remote workers are much less likely to quit their jobs than their full time office counterparts. Still not convinced? Just read through those articles above, I'll wait.

So why bother writing about this anyway? I guess my answer is simply this: If you're an employee and you know that your job would support a remote working you owe it to yourself to see if your employer would be up to allowing you to work remotely sometimes. The benefits are clear for both you and your employer. Likewise, if you are an employer, consider allowing your employees to work remotely on a regular basis. Not only will they be more productive, they will be happier and less likely to quit.