With the possibility to work from anywhere you gain a huge amount of freedom. At home, your favorite Starbucks, in the train, a shady bench in the park, a beach … you name it. I would even go as far to say you are more creative and productive at these places than you could ever be in an office. In addition, when you get more work done in less time you are free to work less hours a week. This time can be spent in any of your other passions (your work is one of them, right?). Not yet convinced? Well, actually it is stupid. Our whole system teaches us that time equals money somehow. Therefore, we get paid for hours instead of results. Even those working for themselves sit in their offices 30, 40, 50 hours a week. We all could learn to get the important work done and then enjoy our passions like Everett Bogue suggests in his blog. How does location-independent work support doing the work that matters? You do the most and best work in less time when you are in a creative mood. When you arrive in the office at 9am you are rarely ever very creative. But say you arrive at any time you like at your favorite breakfast place and enjoy a coffee while listening to the twittering birds. You just sit there, enjoy the moment and, before you know it, an idea comes to your mind. You open the laptop and start doing work that matters.
To put it simply: Because everything you need to work is a laptop. I know. In your office there’s the whiteboard, the printer, the scanner, the fax, the paper cutter, another monitor (or two, or three) and whatever you got there. But you don’t need to have them around every minute of your work day. I admit there is something which is hard to replace by some piece of software or gadget: coworkers. If you do pair programming you need to sit in the same room in front of the same monitor. Video-chat and collaboration tools might work to some extent but they can’t replace physical presence. Apart from that I can’t think of any situation where meetings in person are a daily necessity.
Quitting the job is a solution but probably not the best. I’m currently working for ingame, an online platform for German gamers, as a side job to finance my studies. The IT department consists of half a dozen people, but none of them is ever in the offices. We communicate through chats, a mailing list, e-mail and Skype. We don’t get paid for working an amount of hours. We get paid for getting the work done. This is possible because the management understood the difference between “time spent in front of a monitor” and “results”. Now it’s your turn: convince your superiors that you can do whatever you do in the office from somewhere else. In case your company policy enforces meetings on a regular basis, suggest video conferences. Try to think of any obstacle before you talk to your superiors and work out a response. But most importantly: make sure to convince them that you are trustworthy. What if they say no? Try to find a compromise. Ask for three days a week “off” and offer work reports. Or ask for a trial period of two weeks. Again: try to have that plan B in mind before you start talking.
When I say “anywhere” then I mean it literally. If you manage to earn sufficient money from your online work then you are free to travel the world, pursue your passions and feel free. Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Non-Conformity set the goal to visit 192 countries because he loves traveling. I think this is awesome! Is your work location-independent? Imagine how it might change your life. Think about it. How difficult would it be for you to become location-independent? If you found this article helpful, please take a moment to share it on your favorite platform. I appreciate your effort to spread my word. Thank you!