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Author

Mac Hasley
Mac is a content strategist at Convert, a copywriter across the webz, and an advocate for marketing that is humble and kind

The “Human” Benefits of Remote Work Perspectives from one company, and five countries.

March 27, 2018 –

Remote work is trendy.

Every day there’s a new study on how it improves productivity, or minimizes overhead.

But for us that’s almost besides the point.

Because it’s sometimes hard to evaluate the benefits of someone being “15% more productive.” But it’s pretty damn easy to see what’s valuable about being able to avoid 2 hours in morning traffic. Or work from a beach sometimes.

Remote work is good for us personally. It’s good for us professionally. And because of that, it makes us a strong team from no matter where.

Here some of the reasons why.

What pushed you to start working remotely?

I used to work as a developer in a company. It was 5km away from my home, but the traffic jams of Dhaka city are notorious. I used to spend an hour or more navigating this route—only to head back home through the same, frustrating rush hour.

I eventually ventured into the world of freelancing. I opened an account on a freelancing platform and slowly but surely started to grab new projects. Soon I was in a position to leave my job—but I was always restricted to shorter projects until Convert. I had no long term clients, and no long term colleagues before i made the transition

Nasir, Bangladesh
Nasir, Bangladesh

I started my journey to remote work in March 2013 and was fully remote by March 2014.

The main reason was the Greek economic crisis since I had no other options than to search globally for a job opening. My studies, diplomas and multilingualism allowed me to chart this path, and I am grateful that I followed it!

Dionysia, Greece
Dionysia, Greece

I started working remotely about 8 years ago, and it was quite by chance, The company I was already working for decided to make the transition Prior to that I worked in a very stuffy, corporate environment in the IT Department. One day when the commuter trains weren’t running due to a big snow storm. I was able to connect remotely to the servers and get work done. It made me wonder then why we didn’t do that more often.

Alex, Canada
Alex, Canada

In 2014, I started working for a Australian company. The majority of the team was working onsite and I was taking care of the complete technology stack from remote. I liked that working remotely gave me enough freedom to think independently and to explore more tech. I’ve learned a majority of technology stack right from LAMP, LEMP and MEAN stack much faster while working remote.

Robin, India
Robin, India

And what’s the benefit?

Thanks to remote work my productivity has skyrocketed. If I have a question, I can ask it instantly on Slack or Asana. I don’t need to be tied to my desk. I don’t need to be tied to the 9 to 5 paradigm. I can do what I want, when I want and still keep my professional life on track.

Nasir, Bangladesh
Nasir, Bangladesh

These days, I always carry my laptop with my highspeed 4G portable modem. So even I can work from parks, cafes, mountain peaks where the freshness really fuels me. Remote work helps me balance my work and personal life. Every month I used to work from bangalore for 10-15 days mostly in coworking and cafe’s and rest at my home town which is a beautiful hill-station.

Robin, India
Robin, India

Tell us the moment, since you’d started remote working, that made you think: “whoa this is cool.”

I took a great vacation and visited Cox’s Bazar & Saint Martin—for a whole week. Since I work from my laptop, I could dedicate free time, and my transit time, to my work. This wouldn’t be possible in the traditional setting of a physical office.

Nasir, Bangladesh
Nasir, Bangladesh

I took a road trip, Milan-Nice-Barcelona. This was impossible before. All that I needed was wifi/4g and my laptop. I’ve also taken many many other short trips or visits to my family that live in a different city

Dionysia, Greece
Dionysia, Greece

At home, I take care of animals often needing palliative care and being able to be here in case of emergencies means the world to me.

Alex, Canada
Alex, Canada

My two month trip to Canada was possible because of remote work. I also attended a tech conference in March 2017, half sponsored by Convert. And I’m always free to travel with my family while still working from my laptop.

Alejandro, Mexico
Alejandro, Mexico

How about a moment where you might’ve thought, “whoa, this is kind of hard.”

Because of the different time zones, meetings generally took place in the evenings. And my evenings, in the past, were devoted to family. I would take them out on long drives, eat out, chat with friends or invest those free slots in taking new courses. But as the weeks rolled into months, I learned accommodate my schedule to make evening meetings the new norm.

Nasir, Bangladesh
Nasir, Bangladesh

Working remotely is not only about freedom, but also about responsibility. And that’s the hidden subject not everyone have in mind when they aspire to work “from home”.

Working from home can be a trap if you’re not responsible. You have to really learn to manage your time or it can be a disaster. But it’s worth the effort you must put in to learn the skills, because once you bring this new philosophy to your life, you become more proactive, and independent than before.

Alejandro, Mexico
Alejandro, Mexico

These days, with technology expansion we have slack, teamviewer, asana ..etc playing a vital roles in making the team to communication more effectively than every. So I never feel that working remotely we are totally lost. Still, these days, different time zones can be bothersome.  Our CTO is in EEST timezone, and I’m in IST. So my mornings are with him. Other team members are mostly based in EST time zone, which is later in my night. So I’ve been adjusting

Robin, India
Robin, India

So what can we learn from working this way?

Remote work showed me my virtues and my defects.
I discovered I had to improve my organization skills when I started at Convert. And that I’d have to work harder to communicate clearly and often; the good and the bad (especially the bad).

Alejandro, Mexico
Alejandro, Mexico

Remote work transformed my communication and behavioral skills. In the beginning it can be difficult to adapt, but once you get started, you learn how even different punctuation marks can reveal your mood and energy vibes. I started noticing how people write when they are happy (lots of punctuation marks !!!, …., emoticons), when they are disappointed, when they are stressed or even when they are sleepy

Dionysia, Greece
Dionysia, Greece

With remote work, you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. So while you have freedom, you must really be proactive to get your tasks done. If you can manage that, stress is less in a remote setting and your productivity shoots up!

Nasir, Bangladesh
Nasir, Bangladesh

Working remotely is a big challenge, as well as a big benefit. It is very easy to get distracted. You can easily get diverted, in your attempts to balance your personal and professional life. So if you can setup a very clear boundaries between your personal and professional life, I think it’s a super-power. And you will never feel like you’re working too hard.

Robin, India
Robin, India

Originally published March 27, 2018 - Updated October 19, 2020

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