Remote Working Revolution

Published on February 28, 2021

Believe it or not, even before the emergence of Covid-19, there was already a work-from-home revolution afoot around the globe. In Europe, the pre-covid number was already a respectable 15%*, now a whopping 40% of the workforce has said goodbye to their onerous work commute and settled in at home. Why? Because remote working can have many benefits, such as improved productivity, reduced distractions, lowered stress, increased work satisfaction, reduced cost (both for employers and employees), improved working relationships, and greater workday control/flexibility. And let’s face it, thanks to the technological advances of the last decades, we can get everything we need to get done via Zoom, Google Suite, Slack, Asana, Facetime, Skype, and so forth with ease. We just don’t need to sit in an office to be a productive member of a business anymore; many kinds of work can be done as well, if not better, from a remote location.

Joining the WFH bandwagon

Remote working, also commonly known as telecommuting, telework, teleworking, working from home (WFH), work-from-anywhere, mobile work, remote job, and flexible working is a work arrangement in which employees do not travel to a central place of work (office building, warehouse, store, etc.). Rather they work wherever they like, be it a home office, coffee shop, library, or poolside sun lounger!

According to a recent study by Robert Walters, over 45% of workers claim they are more productive from home' and almost 80% of employers report increased productivity from remote workers. Obviously, for business owners, the incentives to have a remote workforce are clear — reduced overheads. Indeed, many companies now say that the changes made to accommodate the pandemic will become permanent models for the future. 

Whilst some people remain doubtful about the long-term viability of this working style, with regards to managerial oversight, team connection, productivity, and loneliness, others only see the positives. And, once you take a closer look, they are many are varied, such as these following five:

Profitability Organizations save $11,000 per year, per part-time remote worker,
Productivity — Remote workers are 40% more productive than their office counterparts,
Performance — Remote workers with good support and autonomy structures produce work with 40% fewer quality defects,
Engagement — Remote workers are more productive and satisfied with their work, resulting in 41% less absenteeism,
Retention Staff turnover is 12% lower when staff is offered a remote work agreement by their employer.

Where in the world to choose!

So, employers are happy, but what about the staff; how are they taking to the ‘new norm’ of remote working? Well, for many of them to transition to a virtual workplace has been effortless. People with a positive outlook only see the benefits.

Since working from home became the new normal for many of us, savvy and intrepid workers have seen it as a golden opportunity to broaden their wings. If job requirements can be completed from anywhere, why not go anywhere in the world with a good wi-fi connection!

Now, many destinations that heavily rely on tourism to support their economy are turning their attention to remote workers, luring them with favorable visas, a low cost of living, minimal taxes, affordable schooling, and tech-forward infrastructure. From Anguilla and Georgia to Dubia and Barbados, there are scores of stunning destinations now vying for your attention (and much-needed dollars). 

One other hot destination is remote working in Thailand. Renowned for its friendly locals, amazing good, stunning beaches, excellent customer service, high level of English, and 5G network, it’s not hard to understand why the Land of Smiles is appealing to remote workers in many industries. From a hot desk in Bangkok to a co-working space in Phuket or a shared office in Chiang Mai, there are many options for digital workers to choose from in this stunning Southeast-Asian country. And, let’s be honest, the beauty of working in a country like Thailand is that once the workday is done, you have scores of great places to visit in the evening and on weekends. The perks of this lifestyle have been known to ‘digital nomads’ for quite a few years already, that’s why Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai, in particular, are already well established as remote working destinations. Do a quick search online and you’ll find loads of resources to help you get started (accommodation, co-working spaces, nomadic worker clubs, legal advice, and so forth). 

The other side of remote working

Keep in mind that there are some negative side-effects associated with remote work. What starts out as a fun novelty can quickly turn and start to affect one’s mental health. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of isolation, loneliness, or disconnection from the world
  • Being unable to ‘switch off’ from work
  • Having difficulty staying motivated
  • Inability to prioritize your workload
  • Uncertain about your progress and performance
  • Insomnia, sleep problems, weight fluctuations (gain/loss)

But, don’t despair, just like with everything in life, the solution is quite simple. Here are some professional WFH coping mechanisms:

Set up routine and structure for your workday, create boundaries between ‘work time’ and ‘relax time’,Create a specific (aka avoid your sleeping zone) and comfortable (good chair and desk, high-speed internet, etc.) place in which to work,Stay connected with your manager/co-workers via regular video and phone chats,Minimize distractions (pets, children, neighbors, technology) as much as possibleTry a digital detox in the evenings, for example from 6:00 - 10:00 pm,Try and get outside at least once a day, even if it’s just a walk around the block to get a cup of coffee,Plan extra social interactions, be it a lunch date, exercise class, or chat with mom,Focus on the positives — not seeing that colleague you don’t like, not having to commute to an office, not having to eat stodgy birthday cake, and so forth.

And lastly, don’t forget these other helpful tips for maintaining positive mental health:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep at least 7 hours per night
  • Eat a healthily, balanced diet
  • Do activities (sports, hobbies, reading, etc.) you enjoy
  • Stay connected with social supports (family, friends, clubs, etc.)
  • Manage stress through problem-solving, meditation, and relaxation
  • Think in ways that are productive and helpful, not limiting or disabling

*https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/jrcsh/files/jrc120945_policy_brief_-_covid_and_telework_final.pdf