Founder & CEO at Microverse (YC S19), the global school for remote software developers.
The coronavirus pandemic has been taking a toll on the world for many months now, and normal life continues to be disrupted. As people are settling into working from home, many teams that were already working remotely have needed to make adjustments to how they work. For years though, many have been making the most of the many advantages remote work offers.
In this article, I’m going to discuss something that will surprise many: We will choose to continue to work remotely after the danger of the pandemic has passed.
The fact is, there are tools and guidelines for approaching a transition to remote work the right way. As we eventually move beyond this need for physical distancing, many companies and employees who have transitioned to remote work will likely continue this way.
Here are ten reasons why:
Working from home gives many the chance to be more proactive and achieve deeper work compared with working from a traditional office space. There are some exceptions, like if you have small children or dependents at home. But if you follow the guidelines I shared about setting up your home workspace, you likely find you’ll become more focused and productive at home.
Teams are realizing that if everyone works remotely, it doesn’t matter where new hires are from. This means that your talent pool spans the entire globe. For all companies - and especially those based outside of typical talent hotbeds - hiring remote team members creates new value for the company that would have been otherwise impossible.
During this period of working remotely, the most perceptive teams have learned that the rigidity that comes with being at an office specific times every day has been holding them back. Removing these formalities enables teams to focus on outputs. For remote employees, the flexibility means more time to spend with families, including for lunch or other occasions that wouldn’t be possible in traditional office environments.
The pandemic like the one we’re seeing may be unlike anything we’ve ever seen, but life is full of unforeseen circumstances. While everyone almost without exception has faced disruptions, teams that were already remote have had to make fewer adjustments. This most certainly holds for other kinds of natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances as well: Remote teams are far more prepared than most to face these obstacles.
Working remotely makes everyone work more autonomously, since you don’t have coworkers around you all the time. As remote workers become more autonomous, there’s usually less reason to have meetings. Teams become more adept at making decisions in other ways, which means more time is freed up throughout the day for deep work, which requires long stretches of unbroken concentration.
Employees save money on things like transportation and meals. Companies save money by reducing hiring costs as well as office space expenses. In the case of a company, some of savings from office space can be used to hire and develop talented people from all over the world, or to host in-person team retreats.
One of the silver linings of the quarantines that have been imposed around the world is that we have seen a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions globally. There are reports of improved air quality in places like China, Spain, and California as a result of fewer cars on the road and planes in the sky. Once the pandemic is over though, pollution could go back to previous levels. But people and businesses should be conscious of the positive environmental impact of remote work.
Working remotely usually means giving people the autonomy to design their lives and their schedules. Happy employees who are satisfied with their lives are also more productive and more effective at jobs.
They are also more likely to stay with a company for a longer period of time, even if they are being offered more money to work at a different company that doesn’t give them this flexibility.
Remote work democratizes workspaces in a profound way that goes beyond geography. The features and benefits of many traditional workspaces are inaccessible to people who have disabilities. On the other hand, remote workers who are disabled can design their home offices to be more accessible and comfortable. For most people, all it takes is an internet connection to make a virtual workspace accessible to anyone.
We’ve already touched on the environmental and financial benefits of not having to travel to work, but the time you save cannot be overlooked. That time can be reclaimed to do better work, or to simply spend more time with family, friends or doing hobbies. Even better, as quarantine measures are relaxed, the scope of what we can do with the extra time will broaden dramatically.
Surely, there are plenty of other reasons that people will prefer to continue working from home even after this unprecedented health crisis is behind us. Are you among those who will keep working remotely? Do you have a question about making the transition? If so, let me know in the comments!