Over the last four years, I’ve written thousands of words about the life-changing benefits of working from home. But only recently have I written about its life-saving qualities.
The spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) adds another substantive layer of benefits to remote work, but it’s only that – a layer. Working from home has benefits beyond protection from a life-threatening virus, all of which will remain long after a vaccine arrives.
I’ve always been a conflicted introvert.
In the right environment, I’m as outwardly confident as a TED speaker. I once spoke on a stage with three thousand sets of eyeballs staring back at me and loved every second of it. But I’ve also clammed up in a group of five. Over the phone.
So as I’ve aged, I’ve become more cognizant of who I am and where I thrive, and working remotely has been a key ally in that. It’s allowed me to bend the environment to my will, to amplify what I’m good at and jettison what I’m not.
Case in point. When I was wallowing in the misery of divorce, financial collapse and wholesale unworthiness, it was the ability to set my own hours, my own space and my own priorities that got me through (and a thousand litres of Shiraz if I’m honest).
I’m sure you’ve toyed with the idea yourself. If you haven’t, you’re in the minority. But in the absence of lived experience, I know it’s difficult for some of you to understand the impact it can have on your life.
I recently watched a brilliant interview with one of my favourite people, Caleb Wojcik, and Sean McCabe, riffing about being a workaholic, finding purpose and taking a year-long sabbatical. They covered a lot of ground, but one thing that really struck me was conversation around the impact of doing something you choose versus something you’re obligated to do – even when they’re the same thing.
It’s true for all of us. What feels like ‘work’ for one person is heaven for someone else. When I had to write an essay or a sales report, it felt like a dentistry. I’d put it off for weeks, then eventually succumb to what had to be done (and hate every minute of it).
Contrast this with what I do today. I work on projects I care about. I do them because I choose to do them. And strangely, I enjoy the things I ‘have to do’ because I do them where I want to.
Working from home has been the key. If I had to suit up every morning at 7:00 am and drive to an open plan office to write a marketing campaign, I’d probably have to kill myself. But waking at 6:00 am and wandering over to my beautiful home office to work on the same thing is bliss. Why? I choose to do this, that’s why. My employer doesn’t expect me to be at my computer at that hour, and so the whole dynamic changes.
Most of us would love to have this choice – the stats don’t lie – but we’re scared to broach the topic lest our boss rejects it out of hand. Right now, though, employees all over the world are being asked to work from home, thanks to the virus that’s spreading its tentacles around the world.
My point is, working from home is better for your health on multiple levels – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s just that now you can add infection mitigation to the mix, too. You don’t need a life-threatening event to start the conversation, because when the emergency is finally over, working from home (or anywhere except the office for that matter) will be one of the best things you’ll ever do for your health, your relationships, your stress levels and your finances.
If you want to see just what it can do for you (and your employer) download my free guide, the Work Anywhere Trail Guide – 6 Steps to Working & Living on Your Terms. In it, I walk you through the key stages to changing how, where and when you work so you can:
- See your family a more
- Open doors – personally and professionally
- Save a tonne of money
- Recover all the time normally spent commuting
- Eliminate or minimise most causes of stress
- Protect yourself and those you care about
- Get your energy back
- Pursue a side hustle or two
- Look forward to Mondays
As you age (I’m almost 52), you begin to realise how much living we postpone in the name of ‘work’.
We rush through the weeks as if we have an endless supply. We rush from meeting to meeting, task to task, project to project. And then one day we die.
It’s like each of us sits at the controls of our own slow-moving train wreck. Except, with the Coronavirus claiming more lives every day, that train-wreck is now accelerating.
The simple act of working from home could be life-saving in stark and demonstrable terms.
In 20 years time, anyone who can work remotely probably will. The reasons for sitting in an office all day will be so few that many of us will laugh at how we lived all those years before.
But you needn’t wait for that day to embrace the new norm. If the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, then the second-best time is today. For many of you, that platitude has a new level of urgency.
Other Useful Posts
How Working from Home Helped me Connect with my Kids
Earn the right to work from home – what it takes.
With these tools, you can work from almost anywhere.
Why it’s Pointless Comparing Yourself to Others
What it really means to live on your terms.
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