Remote Work Means More than Work from Home
After last year’s experience, many of us have become experts in work from home and we could actually write books on this topic, but very few have a complete perspective on remote work.
In fact, the unusual context imposed by the pandemic allowed us to discover through work from home an alternative working style, but not necessarily a flexible one, precisely because we were literally forced to stay home longer than we would have chosen otherwise. Thus, work from home has become, for most employees, a situation as rigid as the previous 9 to 5 in the office. So where’s the energy you once thought people who don’t work from a fixed office feel? Where’s the enthusiasm for work that you expected to gain from the freedom of doing your job dressed in pajamas, saving precious time while avoiding traffic?
The answer to these questions lies precisely in the differences between work from home and work from anywhere. There are no rigid delimitations between these two working styles, which can blend harmoniously in our lives as long as we find out how to mix them in the right proportions for us.
Let’s first clarify what they have in common!
- Obviously, both imply that you are not physically in the office, surrounded by your colleagues and no one else, in a space dedicated only to your organization.
- Both may be temporary or long-term, part-time or full-time. For example, some organizations offered their employees the possibility of working one day a week from home long before the pandemic occured.
- Both work from home and remote work assume that you are good at organizing your own schedule and tasks. They assume that you don’t need to be stimulated by the presence of more disciplined and hard working colleagues. They offer you more flexibility and autonomy, but they also bring the responsibility of managing effectively your own commitments.
However, beyond these similarities, work from home and remote work must be understood as two distinct work and life styles, each of them with specific benefits and challenges.
Work from home is an effective alternative especially for employees with family situations that keep them physically tied up to their homes, such as parents with young children. It can also be a very good solution for those who need quiet periods in order to be able to focus intensely on an important work project, avoiding the office noise and distractions. Of course, this benefit is valid as long as you can delineate such an oasis of tranquility at home, free from disturbance. If you don’t have that possibility or if you can’t mobilize yourself to work in such a familiar environment, work from home might seem as appealing as rush-time traffic, and returning to the office could become your most beautiful dream.
As seen during the pandemic, working from home can also cause a feeling of isolation, loneliness and disconnection from your team. That is why it seems to be a rather temporary solution, particularly suited to introverts.
The full spectrum of remote work comes to light when work from home fails, while flexibility is a high value in the organization and employees embrace it with openness. In remote mode, your work environment is neither an office desk, nor the table in the living room where you keep your laptop at home. In fact, remote work means working from anywhere. It allows you to be a nomad. It allows you to work from a park, from a café, from a hotel reception, from a train, from a friend’s house in another city, from another country where you travel without actually taking days off from your job.
Today, technology allows most of us to work from wherever there is a good internet connection. Remote work does not, however, mean a bohemian working and lifestyle, lacking in structure and basic official frameworks. On the contrary, we could say that those who truly succeed at working from anywhere are in fact the most responsible, creative and ingenious employees.
While work from home involves physical isolation from a business environment, remote work eliminates this inconvenience through coworking spaces. These places provide access to all the facilities of a modern office, the possibility to work surrounded by professionals from different business areas and to feel included in a top community. Even a couple of days a month spent in such an environment boosts your appetite for work and helps you stay productive during the rest of the time.
In addition to these advantages, coworking spaces such as those to which you have access through Pluria offer the possibility of booking meeting rooms. You can choose an individual desk in a coworking place whenever you want, but there are times when you need a nice, quiet, business space for more people. Teamwork meetings or important discussions with your customers require such solutions. A meeting room in a coworking space would be the key, while your business grows and you keep working in a flexible style.
It would be impossible to suggest an all-encompassing answer when it comes to choosing between working at the office, at home or remotely from anywhere. Last year’s pandemic experience has led many to conclude that we should combine all these options in a balanced way. How would you divide your time between work from home and remote work in order to stay flexible and productive?