And for me, it's just sort of mind-boggling that you'd jet set around the world. We own a home. We have friends and family. We have a great dog and probably kids in the future. We've built something here that we like. Yes, I know that the weather is great/everything is cheap/people are nice in City, Country, but the lifestyle just doesn't appeal to me. I like being at home.
One thing I'll say though is that the loneliness can extend to the non-Nomad remote worker as well, though. Not that long ago, I worked at a startup in my city where I came into the office every day. I really liked it, I just wanted to do something different. And now I miss the camaraderie, going out to lunch with work buddies, happy hours, and just getting in a physical room and talking through tough problems. Sorry, a few Google hangouts a week does not replace that.
Are all those things mentioned above worth sacrificing for the additional flexibility, coming and going when I please, waking up when I want, working on the things I want to work on? I don't know. Some days it feels like it is, some days not so much.
I am still perplexed at how companies push offices as some kind of hyper-collaborative space and yet every time I visit those offices, most people have noise-cancelling headphones on because the ambient noise is insanely distracting.
Many of the negatives pointed out in this article are present in jobs where you go into a physical office. Just like how you can know two married people that exist in the same physical space and are terribly lonely and barely know each other anymore. Or what about jobs where you go into an office with terrible coworkers that you cannot escape, because you are required to be at the office? Funny enough, I had to leave a co-working space for the exact same reason -- a single person that was beyond annoying and would not be quiet.
Every time I get into my car during rush hour, I remember why I work from home. I just talked to a recruiter recently and they were OK with remote, but they required that I go to stand-ups, every Monday, which would be a round-trip two hour commute, mostly sitting in stop-and-go traffic. And that would be time I would not be getting paid for.
It's great to be able to choose where you live, what your routine will be, and who you surround yourself with. As a remote worker, you are in charge of all these things which would normally be decided by your company. You'd live near the office, your routine would be determined by your work hours, and you'd be surrounded by your colleagues at the office. All pre-determined.
However, sometimes when we have so much choice, and we must make these choices ourselves, we can get a bit lost. Without concrete requirements, it's easy to get yourself into the wrong routines and forget to properly plan out what you want to do each day, where you want to go, and who you want to see. It's easy to spend a few days in a row without even leaving your house or apartment. You can end up ordering all your food from delivery apps and doing your shopping online.
So it takes a conscious effort to remain happy. It's really a day to day endeavor. You cannot just put in a bunch of effort for a few days in a row and then just veg out for the rest of the week. The brain needs to be constantly stimulated by changing environments and real face to face social engagement.
This is so true. I have just discovered it recently. Traditional office and commute routines simply do some of this work for you, although inefficiently and incompletely. You can be in charge of it, as today's technologies allow more and more people to do it, but you cannot altogether dismiss this very real human need.
Way to generalize there!
And simply not true. No, not everyone. Some do, some don't.
It's even trickled down into actual work. New grads from college somehow think management consulting's traveling every week is a fancy perk. What?
Having only a suitcase of possessions is very freeing, and I’m saving tremendous amounts of money.
For me, it is a fancy perk.
And even within that, some people can enjoy travel up to a certain point. Might be fun to travel for work once a month, but not for 3 out of 4 weeks. I traveling for my first job where I was gone 60-80% of the time and it was fun, but after a year it got old.
This is possibly a thing that is not very possible, and very cumbersome with long term travel. Especially if you would like to practice multiple instruments.
Not everyone can afford traveling (I agree that's not as much true in the U.S.). And staying in fancy hotels is cool.
Once you have a family that changes quickly (I don't have children), but for 20 somethings it must be a real perk.
Edit: sibling comments says it wears out after 4-6 months.
Personally, flying and airports are just miserable. Traveling is nice but too much of a hassle to do more than once a year.
Middle of fucking nowhere? Oh joy.
Hot? Cold? Dangerous? Yeah, nah. Not so much.
I haven’t been anywhere exceptionally dangerous since I was younger.
I think the biggest problem is that if you DON'T want that, then society really isn't set up to allow you do that at all. Society is entirely set up for you to stay in one place, and begrudgingly gives you a few weeks vacation to see somewhere else. Even in tech, if you want to have a good chance of making industry median money you either need to be very specialized or live in one area. At the same time, even when the butts are in seats, half of meetings involve 2 or 3 different locations anyway.
Of course, what you value and want to get out of life may be very different than the average nomad.
Now I work from home where my wife and toddler are. Being home to educate her is worth more than just about anything. I don't have to drive 2 hours every day just to be an ass in a seat. Two hours where all I do is sit in a car and wish to be home.
My productivity has remained high. I take on additional duties happily. I can chat with friends online if lonely. For me there are no cons to working remote. If I did go into an office I would be the only person from my division there, my next closest team mate is a state away, which would make socializing even more awkward for me.
My goal is to never have to go into an office ever again.
I did it for ten years, and then returned to the office. It's a difficult transition. It took almost a year to really get back into the routine.
But the routine was actually better for me. Though I hate commuting, having a regular sleep/work schedule, responsibilities, and stability seems to have made me a better human being. My health has improved markedly, and even though my cow-orkers can be annoying, getting out of my bubble each day exposes me to new things.
I work remotely and have a regular sleep/work schedule and regular work responsibilities. If your prioritize these things, and choose the company you work with carefully, you can have a work/life balance while working from home.
I do agree with separating spaces. I used to live in a studio and that was a bad idea. Now I have a second bedroom as an office and when I'm done, the door is closed.
Working from home exclusively does not appeal to me. I also don't want to have superficial conversations with coworkers in other parts of the world on a video chat client; that has no value for anyone. I would love to grab a pint with you though and chat about who you are as a person outside of work. Otherwise, you're just a resource I need to interact with to get my job done.
Luckily, the job market is large enough that everyone can have the sort of job they desire (fully remote, mostly remote, full time in office).
> I also don't want to have superficial conversations with coworkers
I would argue this is a problem with the relationship between you and your coworkers and/or the size of your company and nothing to do with the means by which you communicate. Some of these people also may just not be your "kind" of person you like.
In addition to my remote work mates I have also found remote gaming buddies. Both workers and gamers alike I have found deep relationships with. I know all about their kids, pets, activities, deaths, illnesses, etc. Comparing these faceless friends to friends I regularly see in my area are the same. In some cases the faceless people are deeper because you can chat whenever. IRL friends you have to deal with families and work schedules and a month may go by before we can meetup to grab a drink or movie together, especially when they start having kids.
I would bet if you can't find much to talk about remotely you wouldn't find anything more to talk about in person besides the weather and how the coffee tastes today. Just because a person is next to me doesn't mean I like him or will have a deep relationship with him/her. I've sat in an office before, 5 years with a team. Some people just aren't compatible. When I left, I no longer communicated with them, the ones I did develop a relationship with I still talk to to this day.
This is absolutely true, of course.
What I would like to point out is that interaction in the physical space is higher resolution than what you tend to get in virtual environments. In my experience, when you make a remote friend, you have even better interactions when you're together physically.
It's sort of like sports - you may like watching a certain sport or you may not like it. But, regardless of how much you like it, you'll like it more if you're actually at the game. There's just something about being there in person that makes it more fun.
I've risen from an L1 help desk support member to running the entire support team and reporting to the CEO, all remotely.
To be fair, an hour by car each way is on the long side of a commute, at least compared to the US average. (For some cities, it's probably pretty good.)
I live in a damn nightmare now and am looking forward to the day I move out of this state in less than a year.
Any other route would add a ton of time. I don't plan on working (or living) there much longer though, so it's only a temporary annoyance.
One thing I love about traveling is when I set aside time to "focus on traveling", do I really want to be traveling through some beautiful place while staring at my devices and responding to email? Nope.
I have worked full-time remote, from a well setup home office. That was fine.
Ah, yes, that would indeed explain. And it certainly agrees with the accounts I've heard about my employer's Marketing department's abject stupidity.
* * *
The company makes numerous products. Some people in one of our other locations made a new product, and it was being demonstrated at some kind of trade show. So Marketing has T-shirts made for the show, with designs that look like a Beetles album cover, and words to the effect of "Meet the Developers of new product".
Except, of the four or five faces on the shirt's design, only two belong to people who actually worked on that product. Another one or two are developers from a different team; and another one is one of the QAs on my team. This particular QA, I might add, has a ... let's say it's an unprofessional-looking face and leave it at that.
Conclusion: our Marketing department is stupid, therefore I'm not surprised that other Marketing people are stupid enough to buy into the glamour of digital nomadry.
But, it sounds like digital nomadry is a tool being misused like other tools in this Dilbert-esque environment you work in. How do I get a job in this marketing dept.? I have NO experience in marketing, but my common sense is good half the time. I'm sure I can make fewer blunders than the current team.
With nomad work, the entire impetus falls on you to find a community and build connections. Easy for extroverts perhaps but not so easy for the rest of us
When I was growing up I moved every year of my life because my single mother was always changing jobs, boyfriends, husbands, etc.. It sort of rubbed off on me and now I get depressed if I stay in the same place more than 6 months. I didn't become a remote worker to visit City, Country. I was forced to become a remote worker because of my lifestyle that I can't seem to escape. I know there has to be a lot of others like this
Then a year ago, I got this desire to experience a place through all its seasons, really get to know a community, and be concerned with a longer time horizon. I bought a house (which I always viewed as an assault on my freedom) and some land in a 2000 person town. I'm volunteering for political campaigns and planning to become a volunteer fire fighter.
It's a simple lesson but desires change. It's great to have the ability/privilege to embrace those changes.
Now as an adult, I grew up so accustomed to change that I feel lazy when I stay in a spot for too long. I think it's a a blessing and a curse at the same time. A blessing because "thriving in change" is a great quality to have. Seeking change also makes my life a bit difficult to reconcile with most other people.
As an adult, I took the whole "change" thing pretty far. Went full on digital nomad, moving somewhere new every 2 weeks... or more like every few days. Bought a sailboat and I'm now prepping it to be a work platform. Sailboat is supposed to help me deal with "a need a change of scenery" while providing me with a place that I can feel home and comfy. It's tiring to live in your luggages and having to pack all the time.
I would except I want to travel while keeping my carbon footprint minimal.
My key issue when working from home is staying focused and avoiding distractions. Still haven't found a good solution (I only end up using website blockers a few times before my hedonistic side takes over and just stops using them).
I can be very productive and effective when I'm able to stay concentrated for extended periods of time, but it's tough. I disliked working in an open-ish office, but knowing people could see my screen often pressured me into being productive.
Put me remote and I can get by just fine with some casual jokes on slack. I can lurk in channels where issues that matter to me are discussed and tune out when it doesn't apply, and there is no anxiety because people dont know not care that I am "present".
Not saying my practice is healthy socializing, just saying that putting me in physical proximity of other people does nothing good for my loneliness.
Of course our emotional state is a derivative of our daily experiences, so we cannot always affect it directly.
Regular exercise, good sleep, healthy diet and taking a break every now and then go a long way however.
Even wife's boss of her formerly in-person, now remote job praised her for how much time she spends online/connected, even though she's just strictly keeping a normal work schedule. We both view our jobs as having the exact same responsibilities as before, just with a flexible location, but I guess some folks might have a hard time not inferring some slacking off or other drop in productivity.
even with noise-cancelling headsets, people would still talk to me. or people would do impromptu meetings on a desk by my side.
In theory, it's a lot easier for me to stay focused when I'm at home, and many days that is the case, but in practice my lack of discipline and procrastination become problems.
> I can be very productive and effective when I'm able to stay concentrated for extended periods of time, but it's tough. I disliked working in an open-ish office, but knowing people could see my screen often pressured me into being productive.
- - -
As having been able to work a lot from home over the last few years, I recognize this too well.
What works for me is time boxing: Set the alarm on 25 minutes, and don't allow yourself to do anything than work towards the current task at hand before the alarm rings. After that, you're free to check email/social media etc, until you set the alarm for another 25 minutes.
Works wonders for me. Just have to remember to actually do this, since after some time I use to get over the problems and don't need the time boxing ... but then I need to remember to start using it again when starting to backslide.
Not to mention that I get a lot of good work done after the sun goes down, and it's a lot easier to do that when you're working from home and people aren't commenting on how they haven't seen you lately(which happens at my day job all the time unless I'm in a chair 9-5).
I'm same as you, natural recluse who never feels lonely. I do get out and interact with people but have found that most are so overflowing with negative emotion that being alone is more enjoyable.
I think there is a big difference between working from home and spending lots of time alone vs being in a place where you don't have any friends physically around for 100s of miles. I tried that for the last 5 years, wouldn't recommend it.
And apart for having moral support it was financially sound. When I was doing well with my freelance gigs I would contribute to the household and everybody enjoyed the fruits of the excelente USD to MXN exchange ratio, when work dried up I knew I wouldn't starve.
There's always a character in US sitcoms that lives with their parents and is portrayed to be such a loser. I just don't get it.
I guess, what I say is: if you want to travel around the world do it. If you want to live alone or with annoying room mates do it. But if you're happy with your parents (and vice-versa) why does the culture wants force you to be miserable and alone?
Screw the culture.
Parents can be rather selfish too, most can't wait until their kids turn 18 and leave the house. The want to live alone too. We like our personal space. It's common complaint for us Americans when non-USer's stand too close to us or otherwise invade our space. This is a common issue we encounter when standing in line at a store and the other patrons get too close to us. It makes us very uncomfortable and irritated. (This is a generalization of course, but I've had this conversation with dozens of people... it's a thing).
This is the worst aspect of it. The hypocrisy! When I was young and naive, I believed parents loved to have the kids around. Oh boy. Don't they right? The only problem is that they want us still to be kids, and won't leave the household to you and let you live a full adult life there. If you are going to live with them, they want you to depend on them, and they want you to let them be the one who runs the house. All the sob stories you hear, when you are growing up, about kids leaving their parents won't tell you that side of the story.
So if you are a kid in the same situation, and have philosophical/ideological difference about how to life a human adult life, DO NOT PLAN ON living with your parents if objectively they don't need it. Don't do it becuase of some romantic notion of the "right thing" that the mainstream narrative has fed you. *ITS FUCKING BULLSHIT!"...
It's purely cultural.
If you're in it, you're welcome to fight the collective billions of years that reinforce it. Seems unlikely, but not impossible. That's how culture works in general.
individual success and personal independence is valued in (modern?) us culture, not contribution to broader family.
if you are contributing to the family income, your family is being needy, if you are living at home to save money, you are unable to do it on your own, etc etc. true pragmatism is sacrificed in the name of the all-powerful super-individual
plus even if you are not ready to begin a family for many years, you should be out 'living the life' and having disposable partners, showing off your prowess by having some fancy apartment, etc.
^ and queue the people who will criticize me for making life about starting a family, only belying my point...
My sons still live with me. The oldest is 31.
We have good excuses that are culturally acceptable. But I basically don't care what other people think.
why is this automatically a 'leech'?
Shouldn't parents be happy to contribute to their childrens lives, irrespective of age?
but of course in supporting OP, my response clearly shows 'lacking perspective'
He mentions co-founding a company and never had a "real" job but his title is all about being a remote worker for a company.
There's a HUGE difference between being a remote worker FOR a company, and a remote worker for YOUR OWN company.
In the employee / company case, you have someone telling you what to do work on day to day and probably report to them on a regular basis for progress. You have no chance to spiral out of control because if you produce low quality or no work over a few days or a week you'll get reminded by your employer that they are paying you to do work.
In the entrepreneur case, you have no one for that and then it's very easy to get into trouble.
I've been working remotely for ~20 years (for my own freelance / teaching business) and I find it super simple to find motivation to work on client work because someone is requesting I do something for them, and they pay me in return (similar to a "real" job).
But for the teaching (creating and selling video courses) side of things, it's much harder to grind through everything because there's no real deadlines (other than being irrelevant if you take too long, which is a serious threat but you typically don't think of that during your day to day). I imagine someone working on a startup as a solopreneur could have the same issues, because it's the same thing.
Most of the time they are looking at someone with their own PLUMBING BUSINESS and saying how easy it is to make money.
Sorry, owning a business is not easy. Doesn't matter what type. There is a lot of risk, and people need to be rewarded for that risk. That is not free money.
If we look at the average repair guy for the a property manager, who works a fixed schedule with a fixed pay check and who and does plumbing and electricity, that guy will not be earning so well.
I cannot overemphasize how little I identify with anything written in this article. This guy's life experience is completely non-intersecting with my own.
It's possible what keeps me from feeling isolated is the fact that I've grown up on the (slightly more modern) Internet, and am able to draw energy from being in a chatroom/conference call with my coworkers in the same way I am when there in person. So many afternoons/nights/weekends forging friendships in the dark recesses of IRC/B.net/AIM/Ventrilo/Discord made me comfortable enough with the mediums that I know how to manage remote relationships as well as I manage in-person ones.
But loneliness exists in conventional workplaces too! I work in an open office every day, but I'm still extremely depressed, isolated, and alone.
Culturally, I am very different from my coworkers. I do not fit into their social events cleanly, and do not socialize with them. There are many possible boundaries to creating human connections in modern society. Individualism in America has guaranteed that.
And honestly, I'd much rather work remotely and be lonely than spend all day in an office being lonely. At least at home I can focus and be more productive.
I am surrounded by people in an open plan office but I do not work with any of them - all of my team are remote and in different timezones by 5 or 8 hours so there is often only 1 working hour overlap. I can literally go an entire working day where all I physically say is "thanks" to someone holding a door open for me.
I'd much rather work from home than be surrounded by what are essentially strangers. Working on globally-distributed teams sucks big time. No chat or video calling can make up for that. Sometimes I am not even sure if anyone is even noticing/using the things I am working on - it's like I am just doing "busy work" and often wonder if anyone would realise if I just stopped working at all. It is a deeply depressing and lonely experience.
Luckily for me I am happily married and get a lot of energy from spending time with my wife in the mornings and evenings. I dont know what I'd do without that.
Depending on your status, do you have anything against asking guys/gals to grab lunch?
Sounds weird but honestly, I ask out plenty of girls all the time not to date them but to see if they'd be an interesting friend.
EDIT: I see you're also 21 like myself. Ever tried going to meet ups? Maybe not tech-oriented meetups but hiking, kayaking, boating, etc.
I have been going to meetups occasionally! There is an LGBT women's group I go to near my office sometimes. Still, as the article mentions, making friends is a constant battle! Got to keep working on it.
"I see that there are many young people here; as an old man, a little advice... Life can set us a lot of snares, a lot of bumps, we can fail a thousand times, in life, in love, in the social struggle, but if we search for it we'll have the strength to get up again and start over. The most beautiful thing about the day is that it dawns. There is always a dawn after the night has passed. Don't forget it, kids. The only losers are the ones who stop fighting."
Email in my bio if you'd like a penpal.
The worst time, when I almost lost my mind, was when I was living in a tiny apartment, having my work desk inside my bedroom. Although I had my mother and my sister living with me, I was supporting all of us and that pressure was strong, so we didn't interact much.
I'd never leave the apartment. I'd wake up and jump on my work chair and start coding. I'd get stuck in my bedroom sometimes working 16 hours in single days.
At some point I didn't know if I was working from home or living at work. It was terrible. I wasn't aware of the potential problems at the time, so I let it happen to myself. I had to eventually rent an office, otherwise I'd lose my mind for real.
I love remote work and I love times of solitude, however you need a break from time to time. Even if you are anti-social, you need to at least see and be near people. Co-working spaces, coffee-shops, etc. they all work great for me.
This type of advice is shallow, obvious, and unhelpful. The only thing that has worked for me is having a disciplined routine that I follow.
- Bed by 10pm
- Up by 5:30am
- Coffee made by 5:45am
- Protein smoothie for breakfast with coffee by 6:00am
- Yoga/dynamic stretching for 30 minutes
- Read through and reply to all emails and missed slack messages from the previous 12 hours
- Then work starts for me at 8am
- Pause work for 2-3 hours for rigorous exercise for 2 hours (BJJ)
- Dinner by 8pm
- Work for 2 hours
This is my specific routine. Your routine will be different, but the point is you need one, and it must be disciplined.
Going to the gym, coffee shops, meetups, social events, etc. will bring you friends and other acquaintances. It's the routine of your daily activity that will bring you mental health.
I do miss pranks and foosball, though. But those aren't a big enough upside to justify all of the downsides of going in to an office.
Yes! Honestly, my commute (probably 20 mins average) was laughable compared to anyone who works in the city. But even after good work days, getting stuck in traffic with other tired people who were driving poorly would absolutely kill my mood for the evening. I could leave work feeling energized and be absolutely dead by the time I got home.
Not to mention that an extra 40 mins every day is huge for anyone who struggles to find time to exercise. For me that means I'm getting a 5-mile run in for "free" everyday and not feeling stressed out about it.
it kind of helps that my wife is a housewife, so we can have meals together, we can talk to each other when we are feeling lonely and etc. also i try to chit-chat with coworkers on our "random" slack room just like i would do at an office.
But I'm single, have worked remotely for most of my 15+ year career, and live alone and I really have no desire to commute in a car every morning and be distracted by co-workers. I also like that I can setup my office environment exactly as I want, or go to a co-working space when I want, or a coffee shop, or a friends house.
This is why I reject this premise that all remote workers are sipping drinks on the beach. Have people ever tried to use a laptop in the sun? It's awful :)
Here's what I've found works for me:
1. work at a coworking space/coffee shop. Be around people. Get out of the house some.
2. Watercooler conversations don't happen automatically. I try to schedule a coffee meeting 1x/week with someone.
3. If you manage a team, you need to understand what's going on with each person. For the past 3 years I've been building a tool for distributed teams (https://www.fridayfeedback.com) that people have referred to as "therapy for remote teams". It's shocking what you can discover if you ask people, "what's going on" on a regular basis.
4. Quarterly or semi-annual meetups can help significantly. I want to get to know the people I work with. It's super important to be reminded that these are REAL people, not avatars on a screen.
> Some days I would go to bed 3am, others I would sleep until 2pm.
There is your problem. Don't blame it on being remote. If you don't have the discipline, you will find that you ll hard time making a lot of things in life work..
Lots of people work remotely without being digital nomads. Lots of people have families and work out of a home office. Especially folks over the age of 30.
People in sales or consulting who nearly always visit other sites used to be called "road warriors" which is definitely not implied by "remote work" in my mind. On the other hand, "work out of a home office" can mean anything. It can be someone with an office who stays home a few days a week or month, or even just works extra hours in early morning or late evening. It can be someone who does visits client sites and has client meetings in public, but keeps their files and records at home because they don't need a storefront. This could include road warriors who lack an assigned space in their nominal place of employment.
Encouraging people to use sick days for mental health when they need them.
Finding work-life balance isn’t about prioritizing your
mental wellbeing at the expense of your work. It’s
acknowledging that, in the long-term, all areas of your
life are better off when you put your mental health first.
However, if you are not in the lucky situation of having a partner for whom you feel responsible (e.g. by regularly doing things together, stopping work together, or even just having a conversation over dinner), it becomes way too easy to get sucked into a spiral of not going out and seeing people, and not even feeling like you want to.
I have had times when I was working alone for extended periods of time, at which I felt lucky to even be able to talk to a cashier while shopping for food. That alone however didn't automatically motivate me to go out and seek friends or activities. It's way too easy to forget taking care of your mental health in such a state.
Ultimately, public health systems and employment laws should take care of people by providing counseling and paid mental health days.
But I’ve got 20 people on my team. Some of them are new grads, some are recently divorced, etc... This article helps me see areas we as a team can do better serving them I wouldn’t have seen myself. Thanks to the author and OP.
The author then uses this anecdote to assert that "working remotely" is fraught with peril.
They say nothing about why they chose to move to Taiwan. Was it a place they had always wanted to see? Or was it just an attempt to try to escape in the wake of a breakup? The anecdote also makes no note of how or even if being a "remote worker" factored into their unhappy experience.
Further moving and traveling are not the same thing at all. I sounds like the author moved:
>"I lived in Taiwan for about a year before I returned to Europe"
The article seems to willfully conflate moving to another country, working remotely and working while traveling. These are all distinctly different things they people might choose for different reasons.
And some of the assertions are just downright silly such as:
>"Loneliness isn’t something that many traveling remote workers write about. You won’t see it in their Instagram stories."
It's also not something that sedentary office workers write about either. Having a daily routine and a familiar office space does not prevent loneliness. And most social media to has a positivity bias, nobody seems to curate anything other than a "fabulous" online persona for themselves. You would have to be a fool to let yourself be "informed" by social media.
Days I am working from home
- I have better energy in the morning and evening due to no commute.
- I work way more and focus on personal diet and health way less because of no set schedule.
Days I go to office
- I feel more energetic during morning and afternoon. This is mainly due to socializing with colleagues and working with humans face to face.
- I get out more, go for walk, have lunch with people outside.
- Evenings are dreadful with 1/2 hr commute.
- No energy at night.
My personality is such that I like to be around people and like to get out. Remote work sort of stops me from doing that however if I go to the office everyday then commute kills me.
Have not found the answer to this problem yet.
When I worked in a office years ago, I frequently ate donuts and pizza because they were free. LOL.
But what if you work in a company that's: tiny, not very social, or you just don't feel a sense of connection to anyone? My current workplace hits all 3 of these, and I feel lonelier when I'm in the office than the couple times I've gotten to spend a full week working remotely. I think the real issue is to investigate whether you have a healthy social life, or whether you're lonely and using workplace socialization as a crutch or replacement for real personal bonds and activities
This doesn't outright invalidate the main thrust of the piece, but it does perhaps explain the rose colored glasses he appears to have for the benefits of a normal job.
I was a homemaker for many years. Then I had a corporate job. I've done remote freelance work since.
Jobs can be crazy making, soul sucking and put you in awful situations you have no control over. People put up with it because they need a paycheck.
My mom was a homemaker for a long time and also did freelance work from home for years before going to work. I'm perhaps more prepared than most to live this way because I saw it growing up.
I'm all for finding ways to improve the status quo. That can be done without injecting so much judgy drama into the problem space.
He begins with talking about leaving a girlfriend and moving elsewhere and how miserable he was. He basically blames his misery on doing remote work.
I lived in the same house from age 3 until I was an adult. I got married, he joined the army and we went to outer first duty station. I was miserable. It was horrible. It took me years to stop blaming Texas and realize I would have been miserable anywhere.
It was a huge shock to my life to move someplace new. I had no coping skills at all for such a scenario.
You can't blame remote work for the misery of combining multiple major shocks like dumping a girlfriend and leaving town. That's not realistic. You can have that same scenario without remote work, such as by joining the military.
I do occasionally have to stop and make a conscious effort to count my blessings. Working the way I do allowed me to repeatedly move pretty much at will and that has benefited me tremendously. It helped me solve problems that would have been much more nightmarish if I needed to job hunt to move.
I wish him well in meeting his goals of improving remote work for his people. But I respectfully suggest he first disentangle some things from it in his mind that he is conflating as due to working remotely.
I mean, those are great tips, but any kind of remote or non remote or whatever profesional career or relation more likely will need or greatly benefit from all that!
Fast forward a year and a half and I still work on my own but now as a consultant. I work at most 3-4 hours per week of actual focused work. The rest of the time I work on side projects that never seem to come to fruition but that's another story. Mental health wise I no longer feel depressed but that may have something to do with having a newborn son who keeps me plenty smiling and a reason to live. I still go to bed late (writing this at 2:15am in my bed) and I think this alone is having a terrible effect on my health but I feel powerless to stop it. These days I am more isolated than ever with zero real life friends and very few old friends I still talk to online. I don't feel the need for human connection as I know spend most of my spare time with my son but that could just be something I tell myself. Truthfully, I want to make friends I can meet with to hang out but it has become somewhat an impossibility with my current work situation and language barrier - not to mention the social barriers put up by people of this society. I am not sure where I am going with this or what the trick is to working remotely... I guess if I think there is one thing that helps, it's that working less is more beneficial than busting your ass day in day out.
Remote work from home is dissimilar from nomadic work.
Mental illness is a real problem but I don’t see the correlation.
Some kernels of good in there but 8 weeks vacation? Why not 12 weeks vacation and 3 hour work days. Irrational proposals.
Not a reasonable article in my opinion.
I suggest folks to try it with a critical mindset in evaluating the productivity and social interaction. With a mature sense of responsibility. If you miss meetings or don’t deliver, you’re making it harder for others who know how and love to do it. Be mindful, either if you’re a worker or a company.
I have been working remotely for few months every year. My director was skeptical initially. I told him that if I didn’t act responsibly, that would have been my last time. That happened almost 10 years ago. It’s really on us, folks.
For people that feel alienated, well, social (and social network) skills can be improved and put us on the stage of this kaleidoscopic beautiful world. : )
The whole Taiwan part is not really related to the issue of remote work. Remote work or not, moving to another country and then returning to home country after 1 year simply means you made a rush decision to relocate or you are bad at coping with a new environment.
No doubt it requires the people nomading to be very compatible with each other and both individually compatible with the lifestyle. I could see it being difficult without the company, unless you just settle in some place long enough to make friends, which is really really more like moving than nomading.
We have one suitcase each, with more clothes than we need, and one decent laptop, camera, and phone per person.
We definitely want to head home to visit family and friends about twice a year, evenly spaced.
But from my samples size of 1 (or, 2), I recommend it very highly.
If these were not the case, loneliness and other social pressures would be less of a thing - if your normal circle of communication, social connections and support systems are not tied to work, then not physically being next to your coworkers wouldn’t make that same impact.
That’s not to say that face-to-face cannot at times be more productive (though it could also be less productive too), but the psychological impacts would simply not exists as you wouldn’t be isolated in the first place.
I don't really recognize the issues the author is describing. Obviously exercise, activities apart from work, and being cognizant of one's mental / physical / emotional needs are all good things. But, I can't say I've ever felt loneliness or any kind of existential dread over any of it. If it weren't for my kids (school, activities) we would go nomad for big chunks of the year too.
It's usually an insult to say "take a hike," but in the remote working world, this activity is super important. Walk to the store, walk outside, join a hiking group, walk to the bar and grab a beer.
Or whatever your interest is, turn off the computer and do that during the evening, and try to get fresh air.
I spent a lot of time travelling / being a nomad. The article touches on a brutal reality of the experience, but most of us who's done this really don't talk about it. We just shrug and say we know how it goes.
i have lived completely remotely for the last 2 years – hotels, different countries etc., have not spend over 60 days in a single location at a time.
i think it is amazing once you know how to do certain things well:
- have a very well-adapted set of routines.
- know how to maintain deep relationships everywhere
- appreciate different places for different things
- are busy
i use silicon valley for interactions with smart people and fundraising, russia for hiring and great social life, switzerland for deep work, asia for seeing very forward-thinking economic markets etc.
if you have good practices around arranging time with people in each location, mix in a bit of acid/MDMA/meditation – you can have it all – deep relationships, understanding of many markets/cultures, independence from annoying governments and their taxes, and the best of each location.
i would also argue there is a lot of value in training yourself to be independent of locations in the modern world – it feels like it increases your overall flexibility and ability to adapt. which is clearly worth a lot.
i write a lot about my specific routines for making this work here https://hackernoon.com/biohack-your-intelligence-now-or-beco...
It also allows me to have "non-standard day" (about 30 hours, that is about 6 hours longer than regular ~24 hours day that most people have). I am not sure if such non-standard day is good or bad for me, but I like it so far.
To stay mentally sane, I make sure that:
1) I exercise every day (usually, run for ~3 miles).
2) Talk with people -- both business and personal - (usually on Skype).
No question about it, the best part of being an all-remote team are the days when we get together to cowork in person, and it can't happen regularly enough. Funny how that works.
Yet very rarely do we see an article complaining about such things (besides the occasional mildly damning article on open office arrangements).
I don't travel much, but I woudln't stop working remote for all the money in the world. Working when and from where I want is a huge chunk of freedom.
Don't throw you lifetime away.
Their runway will be a bit longer. They will easily higher more people especially if they let people know they offer higher than average salaries, it will attract the best engineers in the area, and I don't see how the product will be any worse.
I work remotely from a shared office with other people. We socialize all the time and go for lunches together, just as I did when I worked at the office.
Before I did that, I did work from home. And it’s definitely isolating.
Joining a makerspace and yoga are my favorite things to keep me busy.
Thanks to the author for writing it.
That's such a sweeping, verging on racist, terrible generalisation of Thai citizens. I have one friend who has lived in Thailand since 2002 and another who lived there up until ~2009 before his company shipped him off to the US.
Both have nothing but good things to say about their living experience there and the people they met. Sure you're going to encounter cultural differences (for god's sake don't say anything bad about the monarchy), but that's up to you to integrate. And by all accounts, in Thailand, it isn't that hard to make these adjustments compared to say certain countries in the middle east.