Remote work and location independence

Little perks of remote work: fresh picked berries at work

I am a great proponent of remote work and location independent – both from the employee’s as well as the employer’s points of view. Demanding a commute when there is no other reason to be in a specific location apart from your bosses insecurities is not a good enough reason. Let’s talk about how to organize work differently.

If you are a surgeon or gardener it makes sense for you to go to the hospital or the garden to do your job. If you control a construction site or inspect cars, it is logical that you spend your day at the construction site or at your workshop. You need a specialized/specific environment to do your work.

However, if your professional activity requires a computer and access to software and the internet, the situation is quite different. Going to the office has turned into something we do because “that’s how you do work”. With the availability of affordable computers and wifi connections at home/at your local coffee shop, the reasons for going to a specific office are quickly disappearing. Honestly, there are more interruptions to your productivity in an office than anywhere else.

The difference between working remotely and being location independent

Working remotely means that you work from somewhere other than the company’s head office. Many companies start experimenting with this type of work organization by letting their employees work from home a couple of days a week. Remote is not necessarily location independent, it is simply in a specific environment different from the office, most likely your spare room.

Location independence means that you can work from anywhere in the world, provided you have access to electricity and a working internet connection. Digital nomads, a subcategory of location independent professionals, have popularized their flavour of location independence with pictures of working at the beach in Thailand or on a boat exploring the Nile river.

The reality is less impressive: internet in exotic places can be quite unstable, and productivity requires a single focus, no matter your surroundings. That means that the vast majority of location independent workers do work from their home office, a coworking space or their favourite coffee shop. Just because you could travel the world while working doesn’t mean you have to. You can use your freedom to create your perfect productivity outlet.

How (and where) to work location independent?

You don’t need to be freelance to work outside a traditional setting. Even if you love being part of a bigger project, there are companies that hire remote workers as part of their workforce. I lead a team of twelve, working from Scotland, Ireland, India, South Africa, Spain, Lithuania, Poland and the Netherlands. Some work from home, others prefer a co-working space. But none has to commute during peak traffic.

I work from my home office, with a standing desk and my favourite music on loudspeakers (and no one complaining about my choice of music). At my parent’s house, I have a similar setup so I can take the kids to see their grandparents for a month at a time while I continue my regular work.

We conduct team meetings and 1:1s via video call. Our weekly goals help everyone to organize themselves and be both productive and accountable. Daily conversations happen via chat. In the meantime, I can use the silence (or music) in my office to concentrate on my work without anyone interrupting my train of thoughts.

Interested? Here are some pages where you can find jobs that do not require going to an office:

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