Welcome to Digital Homesteading.
This collection of resources from 9 Clouds helps you build your business and community.
I love my office.
Yesterday I worked at a standing desk in a cool loft space. Today it’s outside a little Bistro, where I’m enjoying great coffee and a lovely view of a quiet groved park. Next week? Maybe leaning against a tree in my back yard or maybe a coffee shop. It’ll be pretty much wherever I want—and that is awesome.
I am lucky. I have a job that requires only an Internet connection and work for a company that believes you can live anywhere and work everywhere.
This works great for the team here at 9 Clouds, and it can work for your business, too. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of having a non-restrictive office space.
The Real American Dream
The home and lifestyle I wanted were not in the same city as my dream job. The usual solution to this dilemma is to choose one or the other. You don’t always get what you want, right? 9 Clouds gave me the opportunity to have it all, living where I thought was best for my family without giving up the career I wanted.
While my job is definitely full-time, working remotely allows me a great deal of flexibility when juggling the logistics of parenthood with school-age kids and all of their activities. It also means I can cut down on childcare costs, occasionally letting the older kids hang out quietly at home. (Quiet is a relative term, but let’s be honest — the same can be said for coworkers!)
Commuting is a drag; working remotely frees up several hours a week and saves me money on gas. This leaves more to invest in my family, household, health and hobbies. That translates to higher morale and more energy to invest in the job when I’m on the clock.
Better Job Performance
I’m more productive on my own. People are wonderful, but they are also very distracting.
Coworkers take phone calls. They get together to ask and answer questions. They talk about life. They tell jokes. Whether productive collaboration or fun nonsense, distractions are distractions, detracting from the task at hand just the same. When I need uninterrupted, laser focus there’s just no better environment than the productivity bubble I’ve created in my home office.
Bonus: I have a treadmill and a nice, big window for creative thinking walks; all my music, all the time; and I’m always the last one to use the bathroom
There Are Some Downsides
Even at an online marketing agency, arguably the best case scenario for supporting remote workers, there is a trade off. It all comes down to one thing: People. The heart of a great company is its people and working remotely, you miss out on a lot of the human interaction.
When I have the opportunity to go in to the local office, I thoroughly enjoy the spontaneous conversations that come and go. They break up and add color to the workday. When I’m not there I miss out, I know I’m missing out and I sure do miss it.
A great team gets amazing results through seamless, apparently-effortless collaboration. While remote workers can still communicate, it simply is not as seamless. There’s no way to replicate grabbing your laptops and settling in side-by-side on the couch to work through a challenging project.
While we have tools that make keeping in touch a breeze, it’s just not the same as in-person communication. Inflection and body language make conversation far more effective and efficient. Well meaning comments can come off as frustrated or sarcastic, requiring back pedaling and explanation.
The other big challenge with working remotely is that the lines between work and home can become blurry. After hours and on the weekend, it’s all too easy to walk over to my desk and check my work email without even thinking about it. It’s right there. Once I’ve checked in, I’m in that mode; it’s on my mind. Sometimes this works out well for my employer, but maybe not so much for my family. My family has had to remind me more than once to leave work at the “office.”
Everywhere you go
While working remotely isn’t the perfect solution, the benefits strongly outweigh the disadvantages.
Technology is always bringing us closer together. Until teleporters are an option, this is the next best thing. Tomorrow, you’ll find me merry and slightly distracted at Queen City Bakery.
Our crew might be scattered in physical location, but we’re mentally a team. Find out what it’s like to work with 9 Clouds, and see what we can do for your business.
Photo: Marjan Lazarevski