Working From Wherever. Is This Possible?
I think about location independent working and how to make it work for people all the time and it all started a few years ago when I realized 2 things:
1) My productive hours are from 7AM – 2PM. I can be productive again around 8PM.
2) I got a lot more done on days that I had the flu enough to stay home than I did in the office.
This got me to thinking about how many hours I spend getting ready to go to an office during my productive time and how many hours after I was chilling in my office but not necessarily getting much done. I also felt stifled by going to the same place day after day after day. It can be very uninspiring.
When I bring this subject up people almost always say ‘yes, that would be great but it wouldn’t work in my industry’ and I used to accept that as an answer. Now, I’m not so sure that it can’t work for any industry. * The only industry this wouldn’t work is in a retail setting where people need to physically check people out, make a latte, etc.
Since technology has come in and bowled over the workplace as we know it, people are much more connected. When I stopped working for someone else and opened my own business I realized that my network didn’t change very much because my network existed online. I can change jobs or cities and I still e-mail the same people every day that I always did.
Granted, the freelancers and small businesses will be the first ones to catch onto location independent working because the overhead of keeping an office, desks, phone lines, etc. will force them to consider co-working or remote working. I think the bigger companies will follow eventually.
1) Productivity will go up. If people don’t have to go to an office every day, office drama will decrease significantly. When I started adding up the coworkers birthday lunches, pointless on the spot meetings, and hallway chatter, I now wonder how I ever got anything done at all. By eliminating the social aspect of the office, people will not only get more done but they will then spend more social time with friends and family.
2) Companies Can Charge Less. The overhead that advertising agencies have to charge is enormous because everyone works in house. The same goes for a lot of other industries. What I’ve been trying to do is set up a core group of people that make up my company and when a client tells me what they need I contract those people accordingly. This means that when I don’t have projects where I need a designer, they don’t need to come and kill time at the office. This keeps my pricing very competitive.
3) Gen Y Will Demand It. Gen Y wants to know how everything fits into their life. They look for jobs that allow them to use the internet skills they have grown up with and that allow them to pursue their interests. Gen Y travels more than previous generations and will want to know how this fits into their job. Sound spoiled? I don’t agree. I’d rather hire someone who has thought of a trip they wanted to take, pitched it to a company who agreed to pay them to blog about their experience, and come back with ideas, writing skills, and a knowledge of how to create work out of their experiences than someone who showed up at the office every day.
4) The Family Unit Has Changed. It took me a while to realize this one but it is relevant to this subject. Our families don’t live as closely knit as they used to but things still need to get done. Most people don’t have grandma cooking meals, or aunts doing laundry, or fathers next door to fix leaks. I was starting to feel like I simply couldn’t get it all done and spend 60-70 hours physically at an office each week. Office hours are primo ‘get things done’ hours so these errands had to wait until the weekend which meant I couldn’t go and visit my actual family. Flexible work schedules mean we can answer e-mails while we wait for the plumber on a Tuesday.
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Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook.
“It is the responsibility of the individual to reject the prospect of mediocrity and to strive for the betterment of society as a whole” ~ Mark Montoya