Remote Work is here to stay

I’ve left the corporate grind in 2005 and never looked back. And whatever the future may bring, I know I’m going to keep working remotely.

So when I stumbled upon the following article: Remote Work is Not Here to Stay, I felt the need to give it a proper response.

For the last 6 years, I have been the owner of a fully distributed/remote company with employees scattered across three continents.

My personal experience doesn’t fit the author’s arguments. I also disagree with her conclusions, and here’s why.

Clinging to Tradition Doesn’t Work

Of course, working from home is not an option for many industries.

Some people can’t stay home despite the current circumstances – medical professionals, caregivers, construction workers, and many others. They deserve our utmost respect and support.

But at the same time, it’s no secret that automation is changing the future of work.

Today, there is a growing emphasis on creative, intellectual work rather than mechanical work.

So remote work will always be an option. But it’s also the best option, compared to office work.

Giving People More Freedom Improves Their Wellbeing — and That’s What Really Matters

The most evident advantage of remote work is that employees have more free time to spend. They don’t have to commute anymore, and they can have more flexible schedules.

All this freedom tends to scare people. Managers and employees alike wonder — why would anyone be productive when they’re not being supervised?

The answer is remote teams are still teams. They still provide accountability, oversight, and team spirit.

If you use proper Project Management Tools (we use Notion and Slack), organize regular Zoom calls for your team (and one-on-ones when needed), work will keep running smoothly.

At my company, we are very productive, we communicate efficiently, and we also have fun.

Back when international travel was an option, my business partner and I would invite our teams and contributors to where we live. We’d spend high-quality time together as a team, plus we organized some casual catch-ups in passing. Company meetups happened in Bangkok, Barcelona, Prague, and Belgrade, and each one was a resounding success.

If you make an effort to organize things well, you’ll likely see an increase in productivity.

People don’t need constant monitoring to do a good job. What they do need is a healthy work-life balance, with plenty of time to see their loved ones. Remote work provides precisely that.

Is it any wonder “companies that allow remote work experience 25% less employee turnover than companies that do not allow remote work”? And remote workers are 29% more likely to be happy with their job (Owl Labs 2019)?

Remote Work Is Practical, If You’re Willing To Adapt

When it comes to practicalities, the pros of running a remote company far outweigh the cons.

As I mentioned, remote work improves employee retention. Just think of the productivity loss that comes with hiring and training employees too often. If you can prevent burnout by offering good working conditions, your finances will thank you in the long run.

The other question that comes up often is equipment.

Research shows 3 out of 4 remote workers cover their own internet costs without help from their company. Many people already have high-quality internet connections at home, so remote work isn’t a significant investment.

But even in cases where the employer needs to provide equipment or cover internet costs, will those expenses really be higher than the cost of maintaining a lavish office building?

In my experience, leaders who want to return to the “good old days” are just looking for an excuse not to evolve and make the necessary adjustments to a new reality.

Change Is Scary But It’s Worth It

The pandemic crisis has pushed us five years into the future. Many companies realize now working from home makes them more productive. They would have gotten there eventually, but current events sped up the process

I was new at this once, and I know about the doubts that tend to crop up. Yes, remote work means you have to let go of the status symbol your office space might represent. You have to develop new team dynamics, and your team will need to gain some new skills.

But the timing is perfect at this moment.

Trust me and trust the research: leaving the office building behind will leave you happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.

Welcome to the future!