Thursday, December 13, 2012


Remote Worker: Six Benefits

I am going onto my second full year in being a remote worker. In my travels, I often mention that my office is officially in my basement but that I periodically spend time on the living room couch and use a Home Depot bucket as my desk. On more than a few occasions, I have been asked how often do I visit a physical office which I usually respond that there is one close by but since I do not have government clearance, I am forbidden to enter.

Most remote workers I know, seem to do so only in a part-time basis. You know, they are still on the fence. They may work from home a few days a week and hotel it in the office for the remainder. For me, I like the fact that hoteling is not an option for me and therefore I must find solace in the comfort of my own home.

There are six benefits to being a remote worker that I have discovered that I wanted to share with others in hopes that they too will find their inner zen.

Productivity: In environments that still are primarily dominated by the office culture, you will find the need to spend wasteful time on socialization activities that do not necessarily contribute to the bottom line. I do not miss the amount of energy I used to expend with a former employer on the need for "presence" and am now focused solely on getting shit done.

Gas and Insurance: In days past, I used to fill up my tank about every seven to ten days. Now, I can go two to three weeks before filling up. This means that I have at some level become more green and am doing my part to contribute less to the greenhouse effect. More importantly, with gas prices so high, I think I have given myself a $50 a month bonus. Bet you didn't know that if you do not use a vehicle to drive to work, you can get significant discounts off auto insurance. For me, this fact has saved me about $300 a year.
work/life balance: Once you shift mindsets from hours to outcomes, lots of possibilities become reality. For example, I know attend pretty much every school event, field trip and parent/teacher conference of my two kids and without having to necessarily ask permission to be out of the office. While many employers are usually accomodating, the simple fact that I have been able to remove the administrative task of asking also results in time savings.

Lower Stress: Pretty much all work environments have their stress factors. The key is in your ability to quickly and easily remove it. Earlier in the week, I found myself frustrated with a bureaucratic process, yet was able to relieve stress by immediately yelling at the top of my lungs lots of explicatives. I have been known periodically to put Wutang Clan and Ozzy Osborne on blast. Bet you can't do this in an office setting.
Multitasking: I also like the fact that I can multitask. You know, throw a load of laundry into the washing machine and get hyponitized in watching it spin. In life, we have lots of little tasks that simply queue up. My queue in this regard is very small. Part of achieving personal Kanban.
Casual dress: It goes without saying that I also spend less on my wardrobe. Casual clothes simply cost less than business casual clothing. There are days when I don't bother to get even casually dressed. The ability to dress in a way that makes you personally comfortable, aids in productivity, time savings and most importantly ability to engage in providing value to your employer, anytime, anywhere from any location...

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