Remote working - the new essential?
I hope that this Tuesday finds you well?
I was on LinkedIn yesterday afternoon, and I came across a poll which asked:
Would you consider applying for a job that didn’t have remote working as an option?
I selected ‘No’ and was in good company. 69% of all participants (I believe at time of writing there had been 81,410 votes) all felt similar. The comments section was an interesting read, with many echoing similar reasons as myself.
I even asked my husband what he would do, recognising that we potentially approach job benefits differently. I have been the primary care giver for our two sons and so have worked part-time for quite a while now to help reduce/cover the costs of childcare. My husband has worked full-time throughout and has been quite ‘traditional’ in his approach to work, so I was quite surprised when he said he would answer ‘No’ too. For him, the ability to work from home has become a ‘must have’, primarily, it must be said, because it helps us with childcare. He can now pick up our sons from school on the days when I am away at University and continue to work at home whilst they watch television. A win, win!
Beyond the flexibility that remote-working provides, I am not sure I have ever fully contemplated its benefits before and so I began thinking about what the other benefits are? This is what I have come up with.
- The gift of time! Time is saved from commuting to and from the office.
- Financial benefit – Money can be saved from petrol or diesel costs and car maintenance.
- Work/life balance – Time gained with loved ones and more time to achieve personal errands and tasks.
- It’s good for the planet! Less travel on busy, congested roads, means less use of petrol and diesel which means a better carbon footprint for us all!
- Increased productivity – now this one is probably dependent on the individual but for most people that I talk to they state that they have become more productive on the days where they work from home. They have less opportunities to distract them and I suppose working in a calm, quiet home office is possibly more conducive to work than being at a busy office. I recognise that this one is probably very subjective.
- Mental and physical health – I think it is also important to add to this discussion the fact that sometimes we are not in the best place mentally to deal with the rigours of working life. If I am honest, sometimes I can be in such a grump that I am best left to my own company, passive aggressively working my way through my tasks for the day. I surely cannot be the only one! Remote working enables people to be more intune with their mental and health requirements and allows them to opt to stay at home wearing relaxed waistbands on those days.
As with most things however, remote working cannot be viewed through a vacuum. To do so risks having a very limited and insular perspective and awareness. The ability to remote work is heavily impacted by socioeconomical factors. For someone who is fortunate to have a home office in a warm house or flat, the experience of remote working will be very different to someone in a studio flat who is working from their sofa. It may be a generational issue too. Working from home allows parents that much needed flexibility to work around childcare and school but for someone young, starting out on their career, would it be advantageous? Could they learn their craft as quickly and as fully if they are not surrounded by experienced peers daily? Do people risk becoming isolated? And for the employer, it is easy to trust a member of staff, who has years under their belt demonstrating their reliability, to work remotely but would you hire someone offering this benefit when you don’t fully trust that they won’t abuse it?
I would be really interested in hearing your recent experiences of remote working and any insights you have on it as it is a much discussed topic at the moment, so please email me below to share them with me. Why not tell me how you would answer the poll?!?