If anything positive has come out of the last two years, it is that many UK based companies have come to the realisation that employees are able to work just as efficiently (in some cases more efficiently) when working remotely rather than from an office.
Having remote working opportunities has given many of us the freedom to take up new hobbies and interests, spend more time with family and even begin working on side projects, simply because, for the most part, remote working is more efficient and practical and simply less time consuming and stress inducing.
In my experience, I have been able to use remote working life in many positive ways. In the beginning, I expected remote working to last a few months, maximum. But now it seems that many companies are allowing remote working full time regardless of restrictions and for me, it still has not fully settled in. Let me tell you about some of the things I have been able to accomplish and achieve.
The Freedom to Explore Whilst Working
First thing is first, I am 29 and do not currently have a family (other than my parents) or even a partner, so it was pretty straightforward for me to pack up some things, including all my work gear (laptop and a screen) and do some travelling whilst working at the same time.If you have the opportunity to do similar, I would suggest absolutely taking it. At the beginning, I decided to spend one month in a location before travelling somewhere else. I would stay in an airBNB, work during the week as usual but use weekends and evenings to explore my new surroundings.
The first city I visited was Vienna due to my love of opera, so I visited the Wiener Staatsoper on multiple occasions. It felt even better attending these events after I had finished working throughout the day (it still takes discipline to work normal hours whilst you are in a new location. I quickly realised, however, that working became much easier and more enjoyable because I was nourishing my soul’s desire for adventure. I made sure to leave my apartment each morning and each evening, even if it was only to get a coffee in the morning. Travelling to new locations can be quite daunting at first.
I location-hopped for six months before I decided to come back to the UK to stay for the Summer. Without wishing to sound like a cliche, I learned a lot about myself and was so much more fulfilled when I came back. In addition, I still had all of my holidays left!
The winter months in the UK can be pretty bleak and it can be fully dark by 5pm. Working from home allowed me to finish work at 4pm on some hyper-efficient days which meant I could begin making my dinner before it got dark. I am not much into psychology but I found that this routine allowed me to prepare and enjoy my dinner so much more. I also stopped bingeing on takeaways as I still had energy left on an evening after work.
This may seem like a small and insignificant thing, but preparing my dinner when it was still light outside and eating it a little earlier gave me a lot of extra time to spend during my evenings which I simply did not have when I was forced to work from an office five days a week.
Picking up New Hobbies and Interests
Due to my extended evenings, I have been able to begin doing the stuff I have also said I would do. I read more now, I have made it a habit to read for at least 15 minutes before I go to sleep. In addition, I have managed to create a little garden for myself on my balcony with both fresh herbs and lots of colourful flowers which are beginning to bloom.
I know that some of my colleagues who are also working remotely have been able to spend more time doing the things they really enjoy too. One male colleague told me he feels less guilty about playing his favourite computer games now, because he stated that he has so much free time, he no longer has to choose between working on his own side project and gaming – he can do both. Another friend told me that she feels better about her hobby of playing online casino games. She searches the internet for the best bonuses to use on slot games. She tells me that this is relatively risk-free.
In addition to my gardening, my new reading habit inspired me to try to learn how to sail. I spent a whole weekend doing something I had never done before. It was intense and hard-work but it awakened something inside me. After the first day, I got home and immediately collapsed and the second day was tough too. But the days following the beginners course, I felt extremely content and happy. As the great Jordan Peterson would attest, I was content and proud of myself because the sailing course put me right on the border between order and chaos. I was trying to master a brand new skill.
If you are wondering, I was inspired to learn how to sail by reading The Odyssey by Homer!
More Family Time
Although I do not have a family myself other than my parents, I know from others that remote working has afforded them much more family time. Many of my colleagues now even spend every lunch time with their wives, husbands and children. Breakfasts are also spent with families and it seems that marriages have been made stronger. If you noticed, house prices during lockdowns in the UK went through the roof, and this was due to the number of couples and families who were working from home, requiring more space to do so.
Of course, working from home also comes with its downsides, if you have a house full of hyper-active young children, then working from a kitchen table is not easy, and a private office is a must. In addition, a couple working from home can often become frustrated with one another as they are spending a lot more time together, which means they may even need two separate offices in one home.
Often, the grind of a 9-5 can stop us from working on our true callings or passions in life. But remote working frees up so much travel time, and this time can be spent on setting up your own business or side project. Although this can also be daunting, I find that if you discipline yourself enough to spend a small amount of time at the end of the day (maybe even 15 minutes) on your side project, then this can bloom into something really quite quickly. In addition, the toughest part of any new project is usually just beginning it. You may quickly find that 15 minutes each night turns into one or two hours.
Of course, side projects are not for everyone. Other than my extra reading time and my garden creation, I have no desire to begin my own business. I am more than happy with my work life balance, and to me, work on top of my current job is just something I do not want to do.