Real talk: I cannot imagine what my life would be like now if I did not have a remote job. As I type this, I am sitting in a cafe about 2 hours from home with Randle, Skillcrush’s Director of Content, who is traveling the country in an RV while she works.
How cool is that?
On a more “average” day, I am working from home in a remote corner of Vermont, where local employment options are … limited.
And others on the Skillcrush team work from all over the US and abroad, from home, from coworking spaces, from their favorite coffee shops and while traveling.
Remote jobs open up so many possibilities for where, when, and how you work. Here are a few ways remote workers can take advantage of the incredible flexibility their jobs allow.
1. Take a work-cation
When you work in a typical “corporate” job, you get a certain number of weeks of vacation each year, usually something like 2-to-4. But what if you want to spend a month skiing in the Alps, 2 weeks on the beach in Hawaii and 3 weeks driving cross-country with your BFF? Are you supposed to just take a bunch of unpaid days off? Would your boss even be okay with that?
With remote work, you can work while you are on vacation. Forget about limiting yourself to 2 weeks a year for traveling. Instead, travel when and where you want, working around your travel plans and other activities.
For tips on working while on vacation (and still enjoying your trip), check out this post: How to Spend Half Your Time on Vacation Without Getting Fired.
2. Work when you are most productive
For a long time after I started working remotely, I tried to stick to a rigid 9-to-5 schedule. But I learned pretty quickly that I am not that productive in the afternoons. I get more done when I work first thing in the morning and then again later at night, but not so much between 2-and-6 p.m.
In a regular job, I would be stuck in an office until 5-or-6, whether I was working at an optimal level or not. That means I would either get less done overall, or I would end up bringing work home with me anyway.
3. Do not miss as much time for sick days
This might sound like a downside at first, but when you think about it, it is actually great. How many times have you been feeling a little under the weather and decided to take the day off because by the time you get up, get dressed, and actually get into the office you will be too exhausted to actually do anything — or you do not want to risk getting others in your office sick? Or, maybe your kid is sick and you end up having to take one of your sick days to stay home and take care of them.
Either way, there are times when you take a sick day when you could actually get work done, but you end up with a ton of work to catch up on when you get back to work. If you are working remotely, you can work from home in you are pajamas if you are feeling under the weather, and not have to interrupt your normal schedule too much when caring for a sick family member.
This is a big plus for those times when you hate to miss work because of the time you will spend catching up, but you are just not able to go to the office.
4. Spend more time with your family
When was the last time you had to skip an important event in your family because of work obligations? A dance recital, basketball game or school play? How many times have you wished you could get out of work at the same time your kids get out of school? How much would that save on daycare costs and how awesome would it be to have a couple extra hours with them every day?
Remote jobs mean you can skip out for a few hours in the afternoon for an event you do not want to miss, and then make up for it at other hours of the day. No more missing those recitals and games and plays.
Same goes for traveling for things like weddings or family reunions. You will not have to take a bunch of vacation time to participate in important events, and can work around everything else that is going on.
5. Get more done in less time
Without all the distractions of an office, you can get way more done in way less time. I am a firm believer that putting in an 8-hour day at home is equivalent to working 10 or even 12 hours in the office, as far as output goes.
When you can set your hours around when you are most productive you can get so much more done in the same 8 hours a day. Working when you are “on” allows you to truly focus on the task at hand without your co-workers popping into your office to “chat” about something that is only vaguely related to work, or falling down 3 p.m. Instagram rabbit holes!
In reality, you can approach this in one of 2 ways: you can work the normal 8 hours and get way more done than you would in an office, or you can work fewer hours a day while still getting a normal amount of work done. It all depends on your goals and what your employer expects.
There are tons of other ways you can adapt remote work to your lifestyle and how you want work to fit into your life. The big takeaway is that most remote jobs are flexible enough that you can make them fit your life, rather than constantly having to adapt your life to fit your work.