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June 12, 2020

Remote Working: Are People Ready For The New Paradigm?

Are traditional work structures a thing of the past?

Many companies and their employees have been plunged unprepared into the telecommuting paradigm due to the recent virus pandemic, and things haven’t been the same since. In fact, even before the pandemic, the freelance-remote working archetype had become so widespread that the U.S. designated August 16 as National Independent Worker Day. How’s that for progress!

According to the site FastCompany.com “the virus pandemic is going to expose more people to working remotely than ever. Companies that don’t allow remote work already are going to have to continue supporting it going forward, now that they have proven to themselves that it works.”

In fact, the escalation of remote work has led many people in the workforce to question the rational of “working for one company” at all. It’s like ew, who does that anymore. So, get prepared. A new era has unfolded.

So, Who’s Really the Boss?

Getting accustomed to the new work-from-home paradigm will take some time. This is primarily because the old ways of thinking about work has changed. We’re inadvertently becoming “our own boss.” What’s more, laborers used to being told what to do, when, and how to do it, had better get used to the new work-matrix if they want to put food on the table.

Of course a steady salary, bonuses, healthcare, vacation time and more have their allurements. Yet, standard work packages are no longer guaranteed and people are having to re-invent themselves. As a consequence, the meaning of the word “work” has been dramatically transformed and virtually undefinable. Not to mention identifying as an “employee” is becoming outdated, even offensive. Say it to someone these days and they might reply “Oooh, don’t identify as an employee, that’s so humiliating.”

The increase of independent-contractors participating in the gig-economy and offering their services to the highest bidder is becoming the “new normal.” Just think. Seeing that companies today have a global pool of workers, we as freelancers i.e. remote workers i.e. telecommuters have a pool of companies to choose from as well. Don’t forget that nowadays, it’s not only companies that are in the driver’s seat!

Work, Technology, and Non-Tradition

Prior to telecommuting, most workers barely paid attention to their computer’s downstream bandwidth, how many megabytes they receive per second, RAM, what telecommunication app to use, or the advantages of using a laptop-hybrid device before having to work steadily from home. Now, knowing these things has become mandatory in the world of remote working.

Technology has opened doors to a multitude of advancements for individuals and businesses alike. Even so, it’s going to take some getting used to as traditional work arrangements and informal work-from-home agreements disappear. As a matter of fact, many of those who worked from home before the boom in telecommuting had no official agreement to do so. They simply took work home at night or over the weekend. “Only 20% said they were occasionally paid to work from home, and just 12% worked from home at least one full day per month,” as stated in the article Telecommuting Will Likely Continue Long After the Pandemic from Brookings.edu.

What the Statistics Reveal

According to the Owllabs yearly global remote work report:

-56% of global companies allow remote work with most of them being hybrid-companies or fully remote.

-52% of workers globally work remotely at least once a week and 68% work from home at least once per-month.

-Worldwide men are 8% more likely to work from home than women.

-Before the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. there were 7 million telecommuters with 43% of the population working remotely intermittently. In the past 5 years those numbers have increased by 44%.

-Based on recent reports, the combined income of U.S. freelancers in the gig-economy is roughly $1 trillion. That’s quite impressive!

Remote Work Pluses and Minuses

Minuses

Isolation

Probably the greatest telecommuting hurdle to tackle is getting used to the isolation, especially for extrovert type people. On the other hand, co-working (a space specifically used by a small group of workers from various companies to share viewpoints, experiences and supplies) or a shared common office (where people work separately without any affiliation) are good options if working alone makes one a bit, well, loony.

Workspace

Finding the best remote workspace at home might prove difficult, especially when living with other people. Let’s face it, working in the kitchen and engaging in live chat in the bathroom (because it’s the quietest room) may be uncomfortable, but we-gotta-do-what-we-gotta-do until we figure it all out.

Equipment and Software

A laptop with 4GB (check out the article How Much RAM Do I Need) may not be enough to handle tasks sufficiently in a new work-from-home setup. Forking out additional funds to keep any existing equipment up to speed may be required. Nevertheless, don’t be shy about asking the company to take care of some or all equipment expenses. Bringing home the laptop from the office might be another option.

Chilling Out

Thinking that remote work will make it easier to browse the comment section of a favored website is being delusional. Downloading specific software – known as “spyware” in telecommuting circles – will be required in order to clock every move and make sure the assigned work is getting done.

Leave Feelings Out of It

Working from home is not about working whenever one feels like it. It doesn’t matter what the blogs say. Ergo, remote workers are expected to work on an agreed timetable.

Pluses

Mavericks Stand Up

For individualist or loners, remote work is much like utopia. And germaphobes will no longer have to be concerned about the office fridge handle that everyone touches, the microwave handle that everyone touches, the bathroom where…well, the message is clear; telecommuting is what dreams are made of for those of us who take pleasure in working alone.

Just to clarify things, favoring “aloneness” has nothing to do with aloofness. It’s simply viewed as a privilege not being forced to deal with individuals – in the work environment – that one would rather avoid anyway.

Motivating

Working-from-home can be a great motivator, once acclimatization to the new arrangement is achieved. Ideas suddenly pop-up unexpectedly and the realization “hey, I’m pretty good at this stuff, I could be my own boss” becomes more palpable. The realization that there is a broad range of global employers – a better word would be “clients” – is extremely motivating in itself.

Becoming one’s own boss is something to consider. There’s no doubt that companies are looking for the best talent out there even if it means hiring someone from Bora-Bora as long as they have an adequate Internet connection, the required skills, and can save the company a few bucks.

Family Time

Remote work awards more family time if there’s family at home. Depending on the assigned work schedule, grabbing a quick snack with the kids is fun, having a longed-for chat with a significant other is valuable, and going out for a stroll with everyone in tow for a delightful outing is refreshing.

Saves Money

When working remotely, spending less money on gas (no driving), food (less eating out) and clothing (no more adhering to a dress code) is rewarding. Oh, one more thing about the whole “dress-code” thingy; it’s best not to wear pajamas during working hours at home.

Sure, there are a plethora of stories online about the comforts of “working from home in pj’s” but the boundaries between work and diversions should be made. Waking up in the morning with Rheum (in layman’s terms that’s eye boogers, sleep dust, eye shnooters, or simply gunk) and engaging in a video chat with the team manager is not cool. Dress for the part. OK, wear the bunny slippers but look put together otherwise.

No Commuting

The only time it will be required to leave home is whenever it’s necessary. If the commute to and from the office was four-hours previously, cutting that commute time down by three-hours and fifty-seven minutes is nothing short of amazing!

No Longer Under the Microscope

Remember getting those odd looks when running to the bathroom every 5 minutes due to eating too many prunes, or worrying about whether bad body odor from sweating due to scorching hot weather reeked throughout the office? Well, my friend, those days are over. Enjoy!

Creating a Private Setting

The days of sitting all day in an uncomfortable office chair or being held captive to that awful abstract painting hanging in the office are over. Remote work gives the freedom to create a personal office environment. Order that ergonomic chair from online and make use of various accents like plants and a complementary rug. Remote office spaces should be harmonious, accommodating and functional.

Political Correctness

What a relief! These days, just about anything said is bound to piss somebody off, especially in an office setting. At least as a remote worker, the burden has been lifted. We can be as politically incorrect as we dam well please.

So, what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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DebD  |  Contribution: 215