Nowadays, work is not necessarily a place you go so much as it is something you do — hopefully with passion and purpose. The rise of remote work is real, with over 60% of U.S. jobs done at least partially from afar.
So much for the myth that remote work means you’re only remotely working. There’s a mountain of conclusive evidence showing that remote workers are substantially more engaged than office-bound counterparts.
The logic behind this productivity boost is actually quite easy to understand; by giving workers more control over their personal lives and permitting them to schedule their work-life balance accordingly, companies are making them happier and more fulfilled as they enable Average Joes to become workplace superstars.
That means remote workers have more time to enjoy loved ones, pets, and the absence of office politics. But it also takes a little work to make it work.
The best things about distance work also reveal the downsides. Your dog, no matter how awesome, is not a substitute for human contact. You miss out on impromptu meetings and socializing. And your fluid schedule and always-on devices make it easy to work overtime, all the time.
Balance is in the eye of the beholder, and it’s not your imagination that flying solo can end up too much of a good thing. As Gallup found in their recent State of the American Workplace report:
Engagement climbs when employees spend some time working remotely and some time working in a location with their coworkers. The optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend 60% to less than 80% of their workweek — or three to four days — working off-site.
Facetime, with all apologies to Apple, is best done at least occasionally in person. Who knew?
What you need to go the distance
While some big companies like Yahoo, Bank of America, and IBM have pulled back on work-from-home options, where you work isn’t the true barrier to innovation and collaboration. It’s how you work that matters.
Most employers don’t have distributed workforce policies in place to adequately train and equip you for flexible work success. That means you’ve got to be smart and disciplined with your schedule, and routinely use collaboration tools to stay in touch.
The point is to stop thinking that working remotely is the same as working by yourself. Distance is just a state of mind, and you have what it takes to be successful at work — no matter where you do it from.
Why remote work isn’t going away anytime soon (Fast Company)