Adopting remote working was one of the best decisions of my life, altering even. 2019 marks six years of remote working for me. I decided to look back and reflect on all the benefits of remote working and how it dramatically made my life so much better.
Before I started working remotely, I was spending 12 hours each day and six days a week at work. Out of these 12 hours, three were for my daily commute alone.
It was also a high-stress job at an online marketing agency in New Delhi. Project managers were a beacon of inefficiency and everything was last minute. The blanket excuse for this poor time and resource management was oh, this is how it is at a marketing agency.
That job left me with no work-life balance whatsoever.
No time to workout, no hobbies or proper sleep. About half a year of this routine, I started falling sick with something new almost every week. Chronic pain, recurring flu, cystic acne and a complete lack of sleep became a part of my daily life.
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Once I reached a year and a half mark, I left this soul-sucking job with no backup job in hand. What I knew for sure was that I was never going to work for an employer again.
Thankfully it was 2013 and remote work platforms like Freelance.com, Elance and Odesk were starting to gain traction in the online world. It literally took a handful of days after leaving the full-time job that I started working remotely.
Suddenly everything changed for good and kept getting better and better.
Here is a summary of how remote working dramatically improved the quality of my life.
1. I no longer stress any more (about anything!)
When I travelled to work, I would start stressing even before my workday started.
I had to drive through New Delhi’s peak hours resulting in at least an hour and a half long road rage-filled drive. All that simply vanished away without an unnecessary daily commute. It was like my stress level went from 110 to 10.
There are no more office politics, no inefficient project management, or last-minute tasks. I manage my own time, project deadlines and resources (and I’ve become much better at this too).
Within a few days of working remotely, I started noticing the physical benefits. I was sleeping much better, had more time for exercising. My hair and skin looked much healthier. I also put some (healthy) weight on and was no longer underweight.
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In retrospect, I worked more hours per week as a freelancer. But still felt little or no stress each day.
I worked from home or drove to a cafe with my laptop whenever I wished. I also earned much more per week as now I was working with international businesses who paid much better for the same work I did at my former workplace in New Delhi.
Thanks to remote working, I realised for the first time in my life that it is possible to enjoy your job.
2. I am more productive
Since there is no know it all micromanager overlooking my shoulders, I can focus on my work without getting aggravated.
Nobody is raiding my workspace to start a small talk. No one is there to distract me from my work. Well maybe my cat, but that is the part of HIS job. 😉
I get a lot more work done than I ever did as a full-time employee.
This is especially noticeable whenever I collaborate with in-house employees of some of my clients. I have to follow-up with them about their delegated tasks, send reminders, ask them to redo, delayed meetings or email replies etc.
There is no sense of urgency as they know they are going to get paid at the end of the month anyway.
As a freelancer, you either get paid by the hour or by the project. The quicker you wrap up a project, the sooner you can send off that invoice to the client. This intrinsic motivation is a serious push to meet your deadlines as fast as possible.
It’s all chop-chop, get work done way of life.
Don’t take it from me. According to a recent remote work survey by Tsheets, 59% of employers said they would rate their remote workers’ performance as “above average,” compared to their other employees.
3. I became more resourceful
Remote workers do not have any support staff or colleagues to ask work-related questions. There is no tech support or accounting or HR at my office. If I have any problems, I have to figure it out myself.
Remote work teaches you to be resourceful and proactively look for answers.
This is a great skill for both personal and professional life. In certain cases I find this to be more efficient as I do not have to rely on others for answers. It saves time as I do not have to pause a task and wait for a solution from another colleague. A simple google-fu can solve most of the issues anyway.
I have instinctively become better at problem-solving since I started working remotely.
4. I can make more time (for anything!)
Shortly after switching to remote working I magically became a high-functioning human being.
I was able to spend more time with family, get more work done, pay attention to my hobbies. Generally, live a well-rounded life. I remotely worked part-time even as a full-time student in Germany. It still did not interfere with my studies and was able to fund my way through my master’s degree.
Most of my work is flexible. I make my own weekly work schedule and set my own deadlines.
All my clients care about is that I deliver work on time and as promised. I do have to check in regularly and still attend weekly catch up calls. But they are a much-welcomed aspect of my remote work life.
Appointments with doctors, bank or visa office are no issue because I actually don’t have to miss any work. I can go whenever needed and simply work later that evening to make up for the lost time.
Another great benefit is that now I have time to learn new skills.
Whenever I am having a slow day I can go to YouTube or Skillshare to pick some new skills. I also read much more now that I actually have time. There is also extra time for hobbies and side businesses.
I set aside on average 5-8 hours each week to develop this blog for example.
5. I have much more flexibility
Most full-time employed people in Germany have to apply in advance for their holidays and get approval from their bosses. Usually, it has to be done by March or April of each year.
That means immaculate planning of all your free days of the year. While this is not a bad thing, it still takes away room for flexibility.
Planning holidays is so much simpler for me. I can spontaneously take a day off whenever needed or wanted. When my fiance and I want to travel together, I just don’t plan any work or deadline during those days.
Or even if I have some deadlines, I can simply take my laptop with me and work a couple of hours during the holiday.
Breaks are much more enjoyable.
I can choose whatever 10-minute pick-me-ups I like – playtime with my kitty, a short walk in the sun, a tea break on the balcony, a power nap on the couch, or brainstorm some post ideas for this blog. 😉
I can stop working when my fiance gets home from work and chill together for an aperitif.
We cook more often now because I am not washed out after a whole day of working and commuting. When the weather is nice we also take our cat out for a walk now that we have an extra couple of hours each evening.
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Do you work remotely? Did it improve your life in any way? What benefits of remote working have you experienced? Let us know in comments below!