2020 was a very challenging and different year for many of us. If 2020 had one redeeming quality though, it’s that more people are now working remotely than ever before. If you’re enjoying the freedom of working from home and want to continue exploring the benefits of working remotely, we have all the details on how you can continue working remotely after Covid with tips from remote work coach Hayley Crone.
How Covid has Changed the Working Landscape
In 2020 many businesses found themselves in the very difficult situation of figuring out how to continue their operations without putting their employees at risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Many businesses opted to send their employees home, resulting in a large influx of employees in America now working from their homes. Instead of physical offices, employers worked to create a virtual office by allowing employees to telecommute with regular video conference meetings on Zoom or Skype, and creating virtual message boards in programs like Slack or Teams.
Census.gov data reports that only about 5.2% of Americans were working from home full time in 2019. In April of 2020, that percentage ballooned as 51% of employees polled responded they were working from home full time. That number has fallen to 33% in the most recent polls, as companies have found safe ways to return their employees to work. Looking forward though, 65% of those who are still working remotely say they’d like to continue.
Advantages to Working Remotely
So why do so many hope to continue working remotely? Here are just a few of the advantages to working from home even after the coronavirus pandemic.
Save Time: Have you ever wished for extra hours in the day? The US Census Bureau reported in 2019 that the average American’s commute was 27.1 minutes one way. If you can cut out your commute, that’s 54 more minutes to knock out your to do list, spend time with family, plan a trip or get extra sleep.
Comfort & Convenience: Working from home provides all kinds of comfort and convenience that is just difficult to replicate in an office environment. Is your office as comfortable as your couch? Are you as comfortable in business casual as you are in your pajamas? Does your office have a full kitchen or a fridge full of your food? The ability to work from the comfort of your home is liberating.
Focus & Productivity: Studies show that remote workers are 35% to 40% more productive than their counterparts for a whole host of reasons including a reduction in workplace distractions, fewer sick leave absences, and improved employee satisfaction.
Location Independence: Working remotely provides the freedom to work & travel, provided there is a consistent working environment. With quality internet and a well lit, quiet area you can work remotely from just about anywhere. This has opened the world up, allowing digital nomads to work in new cities, new countries and some of the best digital nomad destinations in the world.
My Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Personally, location independence is one of the biggest reasons why I pushed to transition my job to remote working over 5 years ago. In that 5 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work from amazing places all across the globe. From riverside cafes in Seville, to mountain lodges in Idaho, high rise flats in NYC, to poolside villas in Barbados, the digital nomad lifestyle has provided a ton of opportunities to travel the world. If traveling the world is a goal of yours, becoming a digital nomad can help open the world to longer and farther away adventures by allowing you to fund your trips while you’re on them, and keeping you connected to your career along the way.
If you want to continue working remotely in order to transition to a digital nomad lifestyle, Hayley Crone can help make that a reality. As a digital nomad coach at Head for Horizons, she’s helping people across the globe get away from their desk jobs and out exploring the world by transitioning to full time remote working. If you’re an aspiring digital nomad, if you’re looking to be more comfortable or productive, or you simply want to add hours to your day, here’s Hayley’s expert advice on how you can make working remotely after the coronavirus pandemic a reality for you.
Option 1: Convert Your Existing Job to Remote Work
If you are someone who loves their career but has conflicting dreams of how they could also travel the world at the same time, believe me it can still work. Here are a few steps to take to convert your existing job to remote work.
1. Train your employer to value performance over presence
The studies about the rise of productivity when working from home cannot be ignored. Some employers still have the mindset that the only way to have a productive team is to have everyone present in an office. Coronavirus work from home mandates have shown that is not the case for most people.
Yes, some things may still require your presence like a client meeting. But how many meetings did you attend back at the workplace that could have just been a quick call or email. In order to justify continued remote working freedom, you need to break the traditional mindset that being in the office means you are being productive and being out of the office means you are not. The best way to demonstrate your performance value to your boss, so that they can begin to value your performance over your presence, is by taking step 2.
2. Track measurables, put together a remote work proposal
While you’re still working from home, start to track measurable actions which support why remote working is a good idea. Track your working hours, your completion of deliverables, how many breaks you take, your attitude for the day, distractions and sick leave.
If you have projects, tickets, leads or sales goals start tracking them now while you’re still working remotely. Do your best to ensure that your measurables now, while working from home, outperform your in office measurables to make the best case possible for working remotely.
Then think about things which may begin to happen back in the office. Back to two hour meetings and long coffee chats with colleagues about the weekend. Project how much this decreased your productive working time and make note of that in comparison to your current remote working productivity.
These kinds of measurables will support your proposal for remote working.
3. Stay small if there’s push back. Propose working just a day or two a week remotely and slowly transition to full time remote.
Keep in mind that you may get a push back from your boss. They may not support or understand why you might want to work remotely. If you have started off with the first two steps, and there is still some push back, try to agree on a couple of days a week, updating your boss regularly with measurables showing that you do not need to be physically present at the office to get your work done. With the goal of slowly adding a few more remote days, keep testing it out and updating your boss. If you have struggled to get a few days of remote work a week agreed to, you can try to settle on a 1 week trial with your boss for complete remote working. This could be from a different city or country to test out and show your boss with measurables how it could work, even if you are working from a remote location.
Option 2: Start Freelancing on the Side to Build a Portfolio of Work so That You Can Transition Into a Full Time Freelancer or Entrepreneur.
Starting freelance work alongside an existing full time job was the best option for me. I found myself and many other people with careers that they didn't truly love. I always found myself questioning my career choice and I have met many others still in this predicament. I was in a full time career in architecture, struggling everyday to see how I would fit in with the 9-5 office norm. I dreamed of travelling, seeing the world and I knew I had to do something about that.
I slowly began picking up small jobs that could be done alongside my career. Starting with becoming a travel advisor. I began building a brand and client base helping others to plan and book their dream holidays. I did that for a whole year alongside my job, but I knew I needed another income to leave my job completely. I discovered online English teaching and within a few months of having both freelance incomes I was able to leave my full time job. I started these additional income streams before I left my full time job so that when I left, I knew I would be able to support myself.
Now, I can travel wherever, I don’t have a boss to direct my location and I am truly free to travel the world. I have helped many others, who were in the same situation as me, leave their jobs and transition into remote working.
Picking up something on the side is a great way to begin that journey towards becoming a full time freelancer or business owner. But where to start? What have you always wanted to do, what is your true passion? Start there! It could be; teaching an online yoga class, starting a pet clothing business, becoming a writer or a travel advisor. Whatever you enjoy this is where you should be starting in terms of freelancing or a business. There are so many options and routes you can take for remote working, you just need to be open to new ideas.
Working Remotely After Covid
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who wants to continue working remotely after coronavirus this advice from Hayley is a solid start. If you need more specific help, be sure to check out her remote working resources page, contact her directly, or read more of our digital nomad articles.
If you’re an aspiring digital nomad, looking to be more comfortable and productive during your workday, or whether you want to simply add hours to your day, working remotely can help you achieve all of these goals. If you're new to remote working, here are a few quick remote work hacks for a post-pandemic world.
About the Authors
|Stephen Gary is the co-founder of Flashpacker Co. He’s been a digital nomad for the past 5 years traveling all across the globe exploring new cities, languages and new passions. Find more from him over on our Chronicles.
|Hayley Crone is a remote work coach and the founder of Head for Horizons, a travel and remote work website focused on helping travel lovers' transition into the Digital Nomad life, and see more of the world. She's been a full time digital nomad for just under a year. You can find more from her on Headforhorizons.com or follow Hayley on Instagram @headforhorizons