The (Obvious) Update
Here we are in 2021. Zoom and the possibilities of remote work are in demand. Since I wrote this post in 2019, a devastating pandemic has ripped through this planet costing the lives of more than 2 million people. The enormity of the loss, and all of the changes associated with quaranting have made even the simplest of tasks difficult for folks. The world will never be the same.
Now that we’ve endured a year of this madness, I can understand now why many folks absolutely despise working from home and would do anything to get back to their office. No worries: this post isn’t for you. Whatever it takes to return some semblance of normalcy in your life is what’s most important.
With that said, I’m shocked at how many bosses (including those at universities that have plenty of resources) are asking their employees to return to work. Even with social distancing, masks, vaccinations, the risk to being exposed to coronavirus or exposing others hasn’t magically disappeared.
And for the most part, the reasons I gave in this post in 2019 are the same reasons that apply today. Even though the health and safety of employees is now at stake.
Remote work isn’t just about cutting costs, it’s about saving lives.
Alas, this is how many organizations work. But it doesn’t have to. And in a year or two, my complaints about the lack of remote options will once again be justified. Thanks for reading.
The Plight of the Remote Worker
Scrolling down a jobs board, I wonder if I should even bother.
Ah, yes. What an incredible opportunity! That’s based in New York or LA. This is something you grow accustomed to when you’re from the South, but it stings nonetheless. Yes, if I want to be a beat reporter in Wisconsin, I need to live in Wisconsin. But, seriously, why aren’t more companies offering more remote work?
These are the only reasons other than localization or physical products that I can think of and alternatives to each.
- To promote a collaborative atmosphere and “watercooler chat.” Fabulous. I love it. How about using Slack? You can create sub-groups and chat, share files etc. to your heart’s content. Zoom can be used to create meetings if you absolutely want to see my lovely, smiling face.
- Employers are concerned employees won’t get work done. There are myriad ways to keep track of your employees or contractors’ work. There are remote access programs like LogMeIn (with at least 10 alternative apps) and other time management software. Ensuring productivity can be done virtually.
- There’s proprietary software that must remain private. That’s a very valid concern that can also be addressed with remote login software and virtual private networks (VPN).
- You have an office dog. Sadly, even photos and videos of an office dog don’t produce the same fun and calming effect. But, hey, it’s worth a shot.
The Future of Remote Work
That’s. Everything. Exceptions may include jobs where handshakes and making coffee are important but…I mean, really?
Some will say the need for paper filing makes having folks in the office a necessity. But many companies use digital storage and apps, could easily transition to hiring remote employees and choose not to.
However, cost isn’t a viable reason because adding another body to an office means increasing costs. Software has free and premium options for every type of business. Hiring remotely will save money.
Here’s What to Do Now
Hiring managers: what is holding you back? Lack of knowledge? Fear? Both of these problems can be remedied. There are tons of folks (hello, me!) willing to work their patooties off who don’t live in a major East Coast or West Coast city.
Just something to consider the next time you start working on a job description.
And for job/gig searchers like me: Keep trying. Most freelance writers understand the best way to find a great gig is to send a query or letter of introduction. To get a blueprint of successful queries, subscribe to the blog.
If you see a position you like and there’s no mention of a hard request to work at that location, ask the hiring manager if this position can be done remotely. Check out We Work Remotely or Google “companies that hire remote workers.” You’ll find a decent list to start checking.
Let me know in the comments what your issues are with hiring remote workers or finding remote jobs.