2.8 Million Self-Employed People Consider Home Their Primary Place of Work—That represents 2% of the US workforce and 21% of the self-employed workforce. The working landscape has changed to one of telecommunication; many have become digital nomads, vagabonds who will be cloudcommuting, hotdesking, and being even more local by being virtual. This is a good thing.
If we can balance our life and work styles to have the best of all the worlds (environmental, social, cultural, economical) we can save the planet while remaining connected both digitally and physically.
The convergence of dramatic changes in technology, psychology and the environment have driven an increase in teleworking described below.
Three major technology changes have taken place over the last decade: the decreased cost of laptop, tablet and mobile technology, cloud-based computing and significant improvements in online security.
The shift in thinking is occurring on both sides of the equation. Employees and employers are moving from their fears of loss of control, performance and competitive edge to acceptance as the statistics come with the results of increased employee productivity, increased health of workers due to less stress, decreased office costs and smaller environmental footprints, among others.
For example, the savings on the environmental footprint of 50 million US remote workers that would telecommute 50% of the time (from Lister and Harnish 2013):
• The oil savings would equate to over 37% of our Persian Gulf imports
• The greenhouse gas reduction would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road.
• Reduced road travel and the associated injuries/wear on infrastructure
• Reduced off-shoring of jobs
•Save over $500 billion a year in real estate, electricity, absenteeism, and turnover and productivity, that’s more than $11,000 per employee per year.
• The telecommuters would save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year
Make the case for working remotely for two days a week to your employer. Make an appointment to discuss and negotiate your proposal. Or if you are an entrepreneur, make a plan to try a year of becoming a digital nomad living the tiny sustainable life. I know many who have made the switch to a happier, more pleasurable, substantive and less costly lifestyle.
Happy Trails to you…and let us know if you have made the switch. Tell us your story.
• It Saves You (and your employer) Time By Not Having to Commute
• It Helps the Environment
• Saves You (and your employer) Costs
• It Cuts Down on Interoffice Conflict
• It Prevents Complications and Loss of Work Due to the Weather
• It Saves Money on Moving Expenses
• It Increases the Productivity of You and Your Boss
• It Eliminates the Possibility of Spreading Disease
• It Keeps Employees Happy
If you work for someone else, check the employee manual. If there’s an existing telecommuting policy or flex schedule then your chances of success are good. You can use the information provided here to make your case in your remote work proposal.
If you are an entrepreneur or company owner who has employees, consider initiating a remote worker program. Learn more about how to build a strong remote workforce here.
If there’s no written information but some of your co-workers currently have flexible work arrangements, ask them for advice on proceeding; they’ll have the inside scoop.
But don’t worry if no one ever has established a flexible work schedule or remote work agreement at the company; you can be the first!
Use your experience to your advantage:
• Because your supervisor’s support and approval will be key to getting your request granted, you’ve got a leg up if you are an established employee whom your supervisor trusts and values. Make sure you maintain that respect and continue to make yourself invaluable to the company.
• When creating your remote work proposal, reference past employee evaluations that had positive comments related to critical telecommuting traits, such as: initiative, ability to work without supervision, communication skills, etc.
• If you’re a new hire, prove your ability to telecommute productively using examples from past experience at other companies. If you don’t have past remote work experience, highlight the expertise you do bring to the company; they hired you for a reason, so they will probably want to keep you. Perhaps delay the request, however, until you’ve developed a strong rapport with your supervisor and proven yourself invaluable to the company.
•Offer up a 90 -120 day remote work trial period with dual performance assessment when the term is completed
The Deep Dive:
How to transition into the simple life here.
Advantages and disadvantages of teleworking here.
Learn what it takes to become a digital nomad here.
Role of teleworking in reducing carbon emissions here.
The Pro’s and Con’s of digital nomadism, here.
Remote Work: An Examination of Current Trends and Emerging Issues (2011) from Cornell here.
Remote Work myths here.
Check out a legitimate telecommute job search site worth paying for here.