Remote work has been along for much longer than people realize. People have been working remotely and online for almost 20 years now. For a lot of people, the entire concept of working remotely still feels completely foreign and unnatural.
The entire world has been conditioned for decades that they have to work in a physical location because for all of human history expect for the past 20 years that was the only possible way. Technology was not advanced enough to make remote work possible.
In this post I am going to make my case for why remote work is better than working in an office with 3 concrete reasons why.
- Better life = Better work
- Humans crave freedom
- Distraction eats productivity alive.
Why Having a Work/Life Balance Matters
It is a proven fact that humans perform better, are more productive, and in general just less shitty when they actually have a personal life. No matter how much you love your job, career, or company you will not be fulfilled in life unless you have a life outside of work.
This doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur or an employee. Humans are designed to build lives with each other. It has been this way for 1000’s of years and it isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Let’s say you work in an office with 100 other coworkers. Some of them may be your friends and some may not be. All of you have this one common thread that ties you all together; work. Now imagine if you didn’t have this common thread of work to share with all of your work “friends”. How many (if any) of them would you still connect with at a deep level?
How many of these people would you be friends with until the day you die?
My guess is that if you’re lucky maybe one or two of these people you could actually connect with.
Working in an office causes a proximity effect.
Proximity in the workplace shows up all over the place.
Have you ever seen coworkers start dating? This is because they are in close proximity.
Do you tend to go out to lunch during the week with your coworkers? Proximity again.
Do you catch yourself going out to the bar on Friday nights with your coworkers? There is proximity showing up again.
I want to be VERY clear here. Proximity is NOT bad, it is just dangerous when it comes to building a fulfilling personal life. Proximity is extremely powerful and if channeled properly can change your life for the better.
When you are working remotely you have to be intentional about everything and everyone in your surroundings.
If you want to go to lunch with someone you have to actually make an effort and choose who you want to spend that time with.
You have to make an effort and go out of your way to make friends and go on dates. These people aren’t just waiting around for you at the office.
Can this be more challenging?
Absolutely it can be. However, the flipside of this is that you actually get the opportunity to create your own personal life on your own terms.
Humans Crave Freedom
Since the beginning of time humans have craved freedom more than anything else. We literally kill one another without question for freedom. Like it or not this is how we are designed.
Hundreds of years ago freedom was won by physically fighting and conquering other humans.
In modern times that obviously is not how freedom is created. Freedom has to be achieved by other means.
The western world has created an elaborate human zoo that we are all trapped in to varying degrees.
One of the ways out of the human zoo is having the ability to work anywhere with location freedom.
Being in control of your day to day life is one of the most, if not the most, important ways to carve out some freedom in the human zoo of the western world.
Let’s take a look at the average office worker’s day.
- Wake up.
- Rush and get ready for work.
- Commute in a car, subway, bus, etc.
- Get to work and be in a place where you have to stay until a certain time.
- Commute back home.
- Rinse and repeat at least 5 days per week.
You can’t tell me this isn’t a human zoo.
With remote work you can take away so many of these freedom killers.
- No more rushing to get to work.
- Commutes on the front and back end of the day are gone.
- Ability to control the environment you work in.
These 3 benefits alone will dramatically increase your quality of life. From my own experience of working remotely for almost 6 years now I can tell you first hand that those 3 things alone are absolutely priceless.
Humans are always optimizing for more freedom. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree, it’s how our million year old brains are designed.
Distraction Eats Productivity Alive
This is something that I have a unique experience with. Sometime ago I spent one year running a sales office. We had receptionists, assistant managers, and sales reps. Oftentimes we would have 20-30+ people in the office at any given time. This may appear to the outside world as normal or a thriving business. Well you would be wrong
Humans constantly distract one another. They are trying to talk to one another, get another ones attention, and in general just procrastinating. It takes an inhumane amount of discipline to stay productive in an environment with 30 other people talking, laughing, and vying for your attention. But in the modern world we have just accepted these things as normal.
As I am writing this there is no one around me. I am in a room by myself with my laptop. Is this more “fun”? No, not at all. But is this more productive, without a doubt.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending time with groups of people talking, laughing, and procrastinating. You just can’t have that be the norm if you want to accomplish anything meaningful.
When you work remotely you can get more done in 1 hour than a distracted person can get done in 3. This has proven to be true in almost every situation because as humans we don’t do well with distractions.
Here are some examples:
- Texting and cell phone use while driving is the number one cause of traffic accidents.
- Trying to have a deep conversation while watching TV is impossible.
- If multiple people are talking at one time you can’t focus on any one person.
These are just a few obvious examples that show up day in and day out. You might have your own examples but the point is that distraction eats productivity alive. And if you are working remotely in a distraction-free environment you will be much more productive.