Hello, beautiful creatures! Today I am talking to you about remote work. Remote work is here to stay, and I, for one, am grateful. I’ve been a full-time remote worker since 2011. Before 2011, I worked on a hybrid model, and that’s how I knew I preferred remote work to hybrid or in-office work. I wanted to talk to you in-depth about remote work and recommend where to look for these opportunities if you are interested.
If you don’t live in the USA and you’re wondering why Americans stay at toxic jobs, it’s because our jobs and health insurance are tied together. Think of it as handcuffs because getting sick is costly inside the USA. And almost 70% of bankruptcies in the USA are medically related.
Can all jobs be remote work?
One of the first objections I’ve heard to remote work is that since not all jobs can be remote, no one should be allowed to do it. That’s just silly! While not all jobs can be remote, most office jobs can be. And even if all jobs can’t be remote, all jobs should be improved to create a better employee experience.
People who can’t work remotely deserve to have more control over their schedules, and they deserve to have better working conditions. America is failing its citizens left and right with our practically non-existent protections for workers and citizens. Remote work is here to stay, but all work needs to be improved. Businesses have had too much power over the past 50+ years.
Why remote work is better
Remote work is better for so many reasons! First and foremost, fewer vehicles on the road are better for the environment. Second, it’s less expensive for a company to pay an employee to work remotely than for a huge office space. Third, it increases employee productivity. Fourth, it’s better for your health! Fifth, you don’t have to deal with office politics. These are all reasons remote work is here to stay.
If you’re like me, someone who gets overstimulated by an open office hellscape floor plan, you’ll thrive in your home office because you can control your environment. I no longer have to sit in an office where I’m freezing because the temperature is set to make the men in the office comfortable, not the women. I no longer have to deal with people coming up to interrupt me every 5 minutes with office gossip. I no longer have to deal with loud people, people who reheat stinky food in the office kitchen, or people banging on my desk.
I’ve invested in myself and my health; I bought a Humanscale Freedom Task Chair to prevent back issues that I’ve endured from painful, cheap in-office equipment purchased by a company looking to cut corners at every opportunity. I’ve customized my desk to make it more efficient for me and how I work, including external monitors so that I can increase my productivity.
I used to commute an hour each way for a job, and it would sometimes be over an hour based on traffic. Now I use that time to walk twice a day with Dave and the girls, work out in my home gym, and meditate. I’m improving my health and strength training, and having that time to invest in my health is invaluable.
Can remote work cause depression?
If you are an extrovert (someone who is energized by being around people), you may find remote work leaving you feeling a little down initially. Extroverts interact with many people daily, so they miss those in-person interactions. The extrovert needs to fix the issue by first making sure that they are talking to their coworkers on MS Teams / Discord / Slack. Reach out to people, say good morning, and see how their day goes. Second, be sure to schedule social time outside of work. You are responsible for ensuring your social interaction needs are met, so schedule workouts and hangouts with friends outside of work.
As an extroverted introvert, I reach out to employees on my team daily to build rapport with them. I also schedule my social time outside of work with friends. I don’t rely on work to meet my social needs.
In short, it’s on you to manage your social needs. Only rely on your job to meet some of your social needs. You have to take responsibility and schedule the time outside of work.
How remote work benefits employers
As I’ve already mentioned, remote work greatly benefits employers. It lowers operational costs, which saves a company money, and increased productivity is invaluable. Companies also see reduced equipment costs with remote work because they only send a laptop or computer for equipment. These are all reasons that remote work is here to stay.
Employee turnover, which companies should be concerned about, is reduced with remote work. Most people enjoy the flexibility that often comes with it, and there are also fewer absences because people have more control over their environment. It helps that I’m no longer going into an office and picking up illnesses from people who have kids and would come in to work sick.
Finally, employers can hire more talented people since they aren’t limited to their geographic area. This means better people on the team, making better products.
Will remote work last forever?
Remote work is here to stay, no matter what some dinosaur companies think. Remember, remote work is a concept that has been around for a long time. I worked in a hybrid remote model from 2004-2011. More remote-first companies are cropping up each month, and remote work will last forever, especially in forward-thinking companies. Yes, remote work is here to stay.
How to be successful at remote work
The number one thing you should do to be successful at remote work is to set up a home office. You need a quiet space where you can shut the door and not be disturbed by screaming children. The biggest reason I see people fail at remote work is the need for a quiet space; they need to set up a calm space where they won’t be bothered. Additionally, having a separate room will allow you to transition from home mode to work mode easily.
The second thing is that you must invest in your health and buy an ergonomic chair to help your back. Don’t just sit on your sofa or favorite chair or bed! With bad office chairs, which I had at every office I worked in until I started working from home, you will end up with back pain from sitting or hunching over your desk.
Third, set your desk up to support the type of work you do. If you need multiple monitors, as I typically do, get a riser or whatever pieces of office equipment can help you. Set your desk up to minimize any repetitive motion issues. I cannot emphasize enough how you must invest in your health and home office to make the best of your remote work experience, especially if you want to avoid returning to an office or damaging your body.
I say remote work is here to stay because I will never return to working in an office again. I love doing my consulting.
Remote work with no experience
Can you find this type of work with no experience? Yes. You can find remote work with no previous remote work experience. You need to take stock of your skills and see what sort of jobs match those skills. If you’re a retail worker, you have customer service experience, which can translate to being a customer service phone representative.
Where to find remote work
I specifically look at people-first remote companies when looking to find remote work. Below are the resources I use, and I’m mentioning two paid sites worth it because I’ve received multiple interviews and offers through them.
- People First Jobs
- Remote Jobs with 32 hour/4 day work week
- Virtual Vocations (a paid site I used in 2020)
- Flex Jobs (a paid site I used in 2022)
- GitHub Awesome Remote Jobs list
I recommend finding a great career coach and getting assistance updating your LinkedIn profile if you want to transition into remote work. I hired Anne Genduso as my career coach, and I highly recommend her. She did a great job bringing me up to speed on improving my profile, raising my visibility on LinkedIn, and improving my opportunities. I struggle not to downplay my accomplishments, and she has been instrumental in helping me learn to talk about them.
I target people-first companies because I am no longer willing to be treated like a cog in a machine. I’m a person with a life, and work should take up at most 1/4 of my time daily. I no longer tolerate jobs that have an archaic accrual system for vacation, paid time off, etc. And I only accept jobs that are results-oriented. I hate the ancient ‘oh, your work is all done, but you have to sit chained to your desk for 40 hours a week, no exceptions.’ That’s not even touching on how the 40-hour work week is outdated and predicated on having one partner that doesn’t work at all to do all the housework, shopping, and maintenance.
I’ve had many inspiring conversations with friends over the past several months that led me to create this article. After working through burnout for ten months, I quit my job and focused on my consulting. I am so much happier, and I’m recovering from my burnout. So many friends are burnt out, having breakdowns, and feeling miserable and trapped in toxic jobs. I’ve helped several friends change their career paths and find jobs where they’re now treated as people first.