Updated: Aug 7
Okay, so I never really got on with the idea of swinging in a hammock on a tropical island, drinking pina coladas whilst casually pinging out an email or two.
Probably something to do with me being laughed at when a hammock I was swinging in came crashing to the floor. Twelve I was. And my family very quick to see the bright side of any embarrassing situation.
Oh, and wifi, on a remote beach? Sand scratching your iPad? Glare on your screen making it impossible to see your screen (tried it)?
I'm not sure.
I want to talk to you about remote working.
You see, I remember a conversation in which someone told me - RIGHT before lockdown - that her company was never going to allow remote working.
And then there was lockdown. And they had to. And they did.
Only to find that - after lockdown - (these same?) companies were quick to try to herd their employees back into the office.
Office occupancy currently stands around 45% here in the UK. On Fridays it's only JUST hitting 20%.
With an increasingly international workforce. With companies being international themselves. With you perhaps seeing the appeal of the hammock lifestyle (no judgement here, not everyone has a family who loves belly-laughing at unfortunates falling from hammocks).
What IS the deal with remote working?
First of all, can we just have some definitions?
Hybrid working - Being in the office a couple of days a week, working from home the rest.
Working from home - Literally what it says. Working from home. Clarify with any company where you apply for a role if this means 100%. This is not always clear.
Working from anywhere - You'd THINK this means literally what this says. Working from anywhere in the world. And there are companies who do it, successfully. And then there are the companies who SAY they do it and then don't. Or companies who find it too difficult, for operational and tax reasons.
Remote working - the umbrella term wrapping its arms around ALL of the different terms above (and more). (Just to confuse you even further. Click 'remote' into a job board? You *may* just get all of the above.)
You see, there are the obvious benefits of working remotely: you being happier, not having a 3 hour commute each day, being able to look after children and parents without it feeling like you're inadequate at everything. You being more productive and working more flexibly.
But then there's also the disbenefits: isolation, the small fact that your line manager doesn't BELIEVE you're more productive (despite evidence to the contrary), the famous watercooler conversation that leads to creativity and innovation. (Have you ever had one? No me neither).
And then there's the practicalities. Your contractual relationship. (Are you working as an employee? Or are you working as a consultant or contractor?) Visas. Tax. Cyber security.
But if we look at it from your perspective. The first thing to think about is what YOU want.
How do YOU work best? What does YOUR ideal lifestyle look like?
Do you need people around you? Face to face? Do you work best alone? Are you happiest working from home, but have no trouble coming in to an office once a month (even if that means travelling)?
What's next is knowing where to find jobs that allow you that lifestyle - or how to set up your own business.
And finally - as always - it is about communications.
About talking to people. To find out if the attractive remote job is indeed allowing you to do what you want to do, to live the lifestyle you're looking for.
About talking to your employer and finding out what THEIR policies are and their willingness to help YOU do your best work.
You see, I'm a great believer that - if both parties want this to happen - you WILL make it happen.
And if your employer doesn't? There are others.
It's DEFINITELY possible. People are doing it, after all.
But there is also a lot to think about and plan for to make it happen for YOU.
Which is exactly where this journey should start. With YOU!
What do you think? What is working for you? Right now? And in the future?
Tineke Tammes is an ICF credentialed Career Coach, who supports professional women in making successful transitions to careers of Freedom, Flexibility and Fulfilment! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artist, never-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler. Oh, and she knows a bit about change management too.