In Defence of Remote Work
It’s a hazy Sunday afternoon in February, quite mild and just right. The British people go wild for a bit of blue sky — every timeline, snap, tik-tok and those behind them worship the sun god's rare mid-winter appearance. If lockdown was over now, I can assure you day drinking would be in full swing and shorts would be making their 2021 debut.
We can only dream though, eventually, someone will chime in about the impending beast from the east or west or north that usually smacks us straight back into our usual moaning selves.
For some, however, blue skies are becoming a realistic option and pretty much any climate you desire is available on demand. You can now finish coding a client’s website from a hostel in Rome or hold a team meeting from a New Zealand glacier. PWC, one of the world's major consulting firms found that 78% of employers believe remote work is here to stay. That number will likely be higher when firms realize the ridiculous savings in operational costs. For most, remote work means the ability to be anywhere you want.
Everybody wants options; options allow us to breathe, to disappear for a moment, and to live the life we desire. No longer is a working holiday, confined to an Australian visa scheme and wild-eyed backpackers looking to pick strawberries by day and drop 5 pills in Byron Bay by night. Hypothetically, anybody can take this opportunity now, but you must know it is not a walk in the park. If you are considering this post-pandemic, ask yourself the right questions, If you want to do it you must make the leap and if the desire is great enough, you will see through problems along the way.
Which skills do I possess?
Can I market them effectively online?
Where am I going? Further, why do I want to be there?
What is my back-up plan? Also, massively important, can I cover myself financially?
You must at some point, rather hypocritically, stop asking these types of questions because you will miss the boat and end up mentally chastising yourself into staying home. By all means, take your time and plan things but hit the ground running. Getting there is only 10% of the work. Then again, give yourself time to enjoy the fruits of this strange and alien country before you get going.
Maybe this is a dramatic monologue for my future self because this is where I eventually want to be. In all my naivety, I do believe there is some truth to all these questions — don’t let your news feed tell you this is easy.
The ensuing pandemic has seen Dubai become a hub of influencers and digital nomads constantly changing how we view social media. Often making the process seem too simple and with a digital distancing effect in full swing, they are the envy of us all.
The key to this is brand building but not always a personal brand as digital marketers make you believe. This is not restricted to extroverts selling half-baked courses, keep your anonymity and respect your privacy. You could go into e-commerce, freelance graphic design, or even just arrange to work remotely with your boss if they have not already embraced the ‘WFH’ (Work From Home) revolution. To write a list of the potential fields open to remote work would likely require republishing the entire encyclopedia.
Flashback to that hostel in Rome, I vividly remember waking up to a hungover software engineer in the bed above mine, agonizing at how the Waitrose website had been down. Slightly bemused, I inquired as to why someone would get that distressed about groceries, almost forgetting we were in Italy — he replied, “I forgot to fix the bug last night”. From that moment on remote work as a possibility, despite the stress it had given my hostel compatriot, was clearly a viable option and his mishaps certainly gave it the human element I was looking for. Not that I needed any more convincing by this point.
For those considering a career change or struggling with life back here in the UK — it might not be your job, it might just be the pandemic or maybe you’re feeling downright lost. We are constantly looking for answers and ways to improve our life but now with employers on board and the techno-sphere encroaching almost every aspect of our lives, a change of scenery may be in order; just remember though, even paradise isn’t perfect but it is a damn sight better than the alternative. Get out of the office.
Originally published at http://prismpress.co.uk on February 27, 2021.