Text version below to those who prefer to read:
Hey there, folks. My name is Eric from Support Adventure: The Expat Outsourcing Company. We are a community of people who live remotely around the world and work for the English speaking world online.
I wanted to make this video about the benefits of working remotely and working from home in general. Most of the people in Support Adventure, at least after they’re fully trained for the positions they inhabit, have the option to work from home.
I’m going to go over the benefits first and then at the end, we’ll talk a bit about the disadvantages.
- 1. No commute.
- 2. Solitude, peace and quiet. Your own music
- 3. Able to eat at home and domestic bliss
- 4. Ability to live in the city of choosing
- 5. Business and pleasure
- 6. Able to change it up
- 7. More efficient communication
- 8. Able to let the work speak for itself
Even some of the people that we hire who initially want to work from an office space or some sort of Co-working space, they do, and eventually transition to wanting to work from home. This is because working at home offers a lifestyle which is very convenient and very easy to balance.
1. No commute
The number one benefit of working from home is the lack of commute. All you have to do is wake up, roll out of bed and pick up your computer and start working. Contrast that with going on the tube in London or going on the subway in New York or Toronto, being packed like sardines in a tin can with a bunch of other people commuting to work. It’s much better to be able to not have to commute because if you’ve seen a morning commute, and I’m sure a lot of you have, they’re not the most pleasant environments to be in.
You’re either driving and there’s lots of traffic because lots of other people are trying to get to the office for 8:30/9am, or you’re in a subway or some sort of other vehicle bus or whatever, trying to get there for 9am with a bunch of other people who aren’t really happy about the fact that they’re doing it and the vibe and the energy you get from all of that is, well, not so inspiring.
Now waking up and working from home can have a disadvantage as well, because you don’t have that sort of rev up period, you don’t have that distinction between work and so what I recommend to people is to go for a walk, go out for coffee, and then come back and start work from home rather than just rolling out of bed and starting immediately. If you’re working on a set schedule like nine to five, then I would recommend that you wake up and go out first and come back for the start time as if you’re commuting to work. But you don’t have to go as far and you don’t need to cram yourself into a vehicle with other people.
2. Solitude, peace and quiet. Your own music
One of the main benefits for people like me who are very focused and maybe introverted by nature (believe it or not, I am an introvert) is solitude. People like me thrive on solitude, peace and quiet to get the work done. This means that essentially, we do our best work when uninterrupted when we are able to focus on the task at hand, and seek within ourselves to find the best way to execute that.
Now, that doesn’t mean that that doesn’t mean that we’re people that don’t enjoy talking with others or collaborating with them. But what it means that the default for us should be in a quiet place where we left to do our thing and reach our full potential in working alone. Maybe putting on our own music, maybe having our own sorts of surroundings, you know, being able to choose whether to sit at a desk, sit on the couch, and just sort of give us control of our own environment to Make yourselves comfortable so that we can focus on the task at hand.
Also, I find that I’m much better at focusing on telephone calls and video conferencing, when I am alone in a space where I can close the door. So I don’t think I’m very loud when I talk on online. And I don’t think other people would want to be in the same room. When I talk to these people, they naturally have this booming voice that would fill any open office space that I would be placed in. So I think for online collaboration, telephone calls, video conferencing, and for getting stuff done, it’s better to have control over my own environment and be able to close the door and really have my own space.
3. Able to eat at home and domestic bliss
The third best thing about working from home, including Airbnbs when I travel, is the ability to eat at home and cook your own food, and have that element of domestic bliss.
Being able to work from home allows me to control what I put into my body. Rather than being at the mercy of the fast food places around the office, I can actually take the time my lunch break to prepare a meal that fits all the checks all the boxes of what I like to consider good nutrition. So usually I make dips like hummus or guacamole that I would prepare fresh during lunch hour or salads that I would prepare with fresh ingredients.
If I have a one hour lunch break, that’s even enough time here in Belgrade, Serbia, where I live, to go to the local green market where the people from the village will sell their produce. So that’s a huge benefit to be able to control what you eat and have that element and also be able to exercise in your space as well.
I do yoga, in the morning before I start work. And it’s a great way to clear my head and prepare for the workday, with a little bit of exercise. I like my own space, my own food, I’ve got a food scale. So I can measure the ingredients and then write down how many calories I’m putting into my body.
All that sort of optimizations, optimization of diet and lifestyle works a lot better when you’re working from home in your own space.
4. Ability to live in the city of your choosing
The next one particularly pertinent for Support Adventure is well being able to choose the city where you live. This journey started when I lived in London, UK, and I wanted a way that I could support myself online while living in Belgrade, Serbia which is a vibrant city that’s really cool and affordable. I love the people, the culture and all that stuff compared to those places which basically exist and people move to them because of the opportunity.
Now in the 21st century, luckily, we have the ability through remote work to tap into opportunities providing value to the world online over the internet. So what does this mean?
You can choose based on any factor you want, where you want to live, there just needs to be like solid internet and power there. You can move there, live there, travel around and all that stuff. This is a huge win for lifestyle.
For people who want to design their own life, like the previous thing that I talked about with controlling your own food and exercise, you can have even more control by choosing the city where you live, and what’s available there. Separating the idea of moving where you need to be for a job and telecommuting into that place with where you want to be for your lifestyle. It’s amazing.
We tend to like medium sized cities, let’s say 2 million people like Belgrade in Serbia, Medellin in Colombia, and Chiang Mai in Thailand. And that’s where we sort of flocked to because those are cities that have lifestyle options for us where they’re not so big that you have to always take public transit to get around where you can have nice areas where you have a good expat lifestyle. That’s what we love.
5. Business and pleasure
That brings us to our next point number five, business and pleasure and separating the two.
I like the fact that I’m working with offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, and all these different places around the world that are great centers of commerce with excellent cultures for getting things done. Yet, I live in different places like Belgrade, Serbia, Chiang Mai, Thailand and Medellin, Colombia because I love those places. They’re great when I walk outside, no matter how stressed I am because of work. It’s always something different, more relaxing, more laid back.
These laid back places don’t necessarily make the best places for business. But there’s enough infrastructure like Internet and whatever you need to get business done. It’s very possible and comfortable to live in these places. They’re very livable, very good for families very good for the health care. In all three cities, private health care doesn’t cost that much money. They’re all very walkable, the weather’s pretty good.
6. Able to change it up
The ability to change it up is always appreciated whether that means rather than working from home going to a co working space one day, rather than working from the city where you normally are. It could also mean to go to a beach and work from an Airbnb or hotel room or travel around the world.
Switching cities every weekend to approach each work week from a different place really works, some of our staff do lifestyles like that, and it’s great! It requires more care to get what you need, but it’s the ability to change it up is that attracts people to Support Adventure.
The idea of hiring people and making them come to an office every day is absolutely obsolete. I’m sorry a lot of you are still hiring people like that, but it’s absolutely obsolete. And you will find that you have a much inferior pool of talent by only focusing on your own local area and those who are willing to commute to an office every day. You’re just not going to be able to attract the best people who are more creative types, who do their best work alone in a self directed way.
You need to give them options such as Support Adventure, which gives their staff options of where to work for, with the only sort of limitation is usually being time zones. There’s even some flexibility in that if you’re willing to work in the evening or night rather than a regular day shift. You have the ability to change it up. Of course we’re very strict with the need to show up to work, with proper internet and power. When people start telling us that they’re not able to work because of the power, we start having serious conversations with them. It’s a responsibility for our contractors to be able to come and deliver their work, come online and deliver the work. So we take that very seriously.
7. More efficient communication
Most of these jobs in the information sector, at least the IT support field, can definitely be done remotely. All you need to ensure that the team members that productive is the right communication policy.
Do you honestly think that filling an open office where everybody can hear what everyone else is saying is the most efficient way for your team to communicate with each other? I don’t. In fact, that drives me insane when I can hear what everybody else is saying. It just drives me insane.
What I would like to emphasize is that you need to look at the communication policy, how you’re communicating with your remote workers and make that the template and if you know when to use the telephone, when to use chat, when to use email or ticketing systems, and video conferencing, then you can really make the communication effective. You can really make the communication of your team optimal.
I recommend using telephone and video communication when you need to discuss things in depth, in a conversational format, needing to have a back and forth communication.
In 15 minutes you can get what can be achieved in two weeks of emails, or 25 minutes of chat done in two minutes of actually hashing it out in real time and talking with someone and with video chat, you can look them in the eye almost and sort of you know, get that as close to face to face communication without having to commute or cram them all into an office together.
That’s really good chat, I would say chat is probably most useful for when you’re already on a call to ask a quick question of someone. Or to ask a quick question.
Hey, we’ve got a call booked for now here’s the link to get on the zoom call.
Yeah, so we always try to get people in our communication policy to write the whole issue rather than just saying hi, and then waiting for and then waiting for them to say hi back and then writing what you want before you press enter, right the whole scenario, what you want from them the questions you want to ask and then press enter, it will pop up on the screen that can answer immediately that makes chat a lot more efficient.
The worst is having someone saying hi, and then distracting, distracting you from what you’re doing. And then watch them for five minutes. The fact that they’re typing, some people still take the type like this, unfortunately, and watching them type for five minutes before you actually figure out why they’re interrupting you.
If you don’t want to interrupt people, the best thing to do is send an email and it’s understood that people are going to get back to you when it’s convenient. So if it’s urgent call or send a chat that says what you need. If it’s not urgent, send an email. And if they don’t answer email within a couple of days, yes, send a follow up. Because you know, some of us have crazy email in boxes that just get us an email. So yeah, that’s pretty good.
8. Able to let the work speak for itself
So all in all, if you’re the micromanaging type of manager or business owner that likes to look over everybody’s shoulders all the time, see that they’re there on time, all that well keep on having people in the office, but it limits the ability for your businesses scalar itself if you’re a business owner, and if your staff member limits the ability for you to get the best work done, because the best work comes from actually sitting down and doing good work rather than being in a office destroyed and communicating properly with your co workers.
And this can be done in this day and age really 100% remotely. And I think that if you give staff members the right structure for where they should put their notes about the work that they’re doing, if you give them the right structure on how to write those notes, you give them the right, weekly catch up calls and the ability to raise their concerns and report on their progress, then if you give them all that structure, then from a bird’s eye view, while you’re working remotely from where your employees are at, you should be able to see in this system, what’s getting done, and the word should speak for itself.
That’s the main thing. You don’t need to manage more, you need to give people the ability to report in the correct place what they’re being done so you can review whenever you want. And when you review it the worksheet speak for itself.
And if someone’s not performing remotely, get them in a call and talk about the issues just like you wouldn’t face to face. I try to get all my clients and contractors for sure to have video and a good headset like this, by the way, for perfect communication, you need a Sennheiser headset, or at least a Logitech or similar brand USB Headset.
And also, it can be a lonely life, if you do need if you do end up focusing and the main thing in life is your work. And you get wrapped up in that. And you’re in a foreign place where you don’t have many friends that can be a disadvantage. But in cities where a Support Adventure is active, you can always call up the other Support Adventure staff members.
And yeah, working remotely. I mean, if you’re traveling all the time, it can be hard to keep up with it. If you’re on a flight, jumping off and on flights, it can be hard to keep up with your work. So we try to get people we’re doing works what’s called slow travel and tour based in places long term do that who can set up the routine set up their environment? So it’s optimal? And well, yeah.
The other disadvantage, obviously, with remote work is you can sit down and have a beer with people or have a coffee with the people after work and speak more casually. You can speak casually in video calls, but it tends to be not the focus. I mean, I have some remote contacts who I’ve never met, and I really feel that they’re my brothers and sisters and that I really love working with them but doesn’t always happen. So you have to make an extra effort to connect socially with your staff members when working online to build that rapport.
So I hope you enjoyed this. This is Support Adventure. I mean, this is our business, we’re helping people work remotely.