If you’re looking for a surefire way of improving your work/life balance then remote working is, without doubt, the way to go. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for someone else as an employee or working for yourself as a self-employed sole trader, remote working offers the sort of freedom and flexibility you just don't get from working in conventional office surroundings.
Times are changing and so is technology, which means that it’s very easy to become a remote working powerhouse. With the right facilities in your home you’ll be able to save large amounts of both time and money with no commutes putting a dent in your day. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll find that remote working has the potential to increase your productivity and, more importantly, happier as you redress the work/life balance.
While working remotely might not be for everyone, especially those who like the community spirit provided by many office environments, it does offer a lot if you’re looking for positive change. Here are 5 good reasons why you should consider home working:
1. Work/life balance
For many employees remote working is one of the best ways to restore a little bit of equilibrium between how much you work and how much you get to actually enjoy life. We’re all working that much more and we all seem to be time poor. In many cases our health and wellbeing can suffer as a result. Being able to take charge of your work-meets-life matters has the potential to transform the way you feel. It could also make you more productive if you approach it in a sensible and considered fashion.
Working remotely removes so much baggage that comes with more conventional office-based jobs. There’s no bureaucracy, no faffing around with needless red tape; you can just get on with the job. That, for starters, will help to make you more productive although you’ll need to be self-disciplined to make sure you don’t end up being distracted by other things. While offices can have their own distractions, remote working can offer up all sorts of temptations to pull you away from your desktop. While that puts the onus on you to get the job done, it also makes remote working much more rewarding.
2. Future proofing
If you're an employee then you’re always at the mercy of what your company is going to do next and, similarly, if you work for yourself then you always need to keep an eye on what might happen next. In uncertain times working remotely can remove a lot of that anxiety as you cut costs overnight by removing the need for commuting. There are health benefits to be had from remote working too, with no need to go outside at all. On the more minor side, that’s great if the weather’s lousy but more importantly it can be hugely beneficial in times of national health issues.
3. Boosting productivity
We’re all different, so working remotely might not be the secret sauce that provides us with a universal answer for being more productive. However, there’s no doubt that being in charge of your own work time, as well as the free time either side of it, can be inspiring. If you’re lucky enough to have an employer who can see the positive benefits of home working then giving it a try should be a priority. Most of us already have the equipment needed to carry out a day spent remote in the shape of smartphones, laptops and tablets plus internet connectivity.
If, on the other hand, you want to start working for yourself then remote working is a no-brainer; one that can save you time and money in equal amounts. You don't actually need much at all to become a remote worker; just a device to work on such as the aforementioned laptop or tablet, login to the difference business apps you need to use, and that’s about it. Remote working at home is even simpler as you don't even need a proper office as such. Although if you’re serious about making it happen then dedicating a spare room or space in the home to your new vocation makes a lot of sense.
4. Cutting costs
Working remotely is a great way to save money, both for employers and employees. If you spend any amount of time commuting then you’ll know just how costly that can be, and it's not just about the monetary considerations either. Lost time on public transport can not only be hugely wasteful, it's also pretty depressing to have to experience the day-in-day-out drudgery of getting to and from the conventional office.
And while suburban commuters lose countless hours stuck in traffic jams, or on trains that are going nowhere fast, those who travel larger distances have even more to gain from remote working. Regular fliers will know just how much time gets lost going through security, waiting for delayed flights and battling for a taxi when you get to the other end of your journey. Living in uncertain times only exacerbates the issue. Add it all together and you’ve got a corrosive cocktail of wasteful time and money practices that are totally avoidable by remote working.
5. Work anywhere
Remote working isn't just about sitting at home on your laptop. Thanks to a wide variety of technological advancements it’s now possible to work from just about anywhere. While sitting in a coffee shop or library might not always be the best way to optimize your time, particularly given the distractions that public places throw into the mix, working outside of your home opens up all sort of opportunities. Even working as a team is possible remotely, thanks to a raft of collaboration software options such as Slack or Google Hangouts to name but two let you collaborate together online.
Given the proliferation of Wi-Fi it’s now possible to work when and where you like, using internet calling and video conferencing. And, even if there’s no Wi-Fi on hand, you can still stay productive by using mobile internet connectivity, or invest in a dongle or Mi-Fi. That allows you to stay connected no matter where you happen to be. With a laptop or tablet you can dip and out of work on the go, and even if you can’t connect at the time it's possible to catch up with emails and other internet based chores offline and then reconnect when you get a signal again.
You have all of the tools at your disposal and, just as long as you’re ready for it, remote working really is the way forward for many of us.
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Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.