A day in the life of a remote worker vs office worker

As I write this article I am sitting in a trendy cafe in the centre of Lisbon, the weather is beautiful outside, blue skies and 31 degrees, and there’s cool music playing in the background, happy days! I am in a cafe called Comoba in the Cais do Sodre area, very close to the Time out market and they have a very nice kitchen for when hunger strikes!

The global covid 19 pandemic has certainly accelerated the movement towards more remote working possibilities and has demonstrated to employees and organisations alike that remote work can indeed work and can come with many advantages.

Naturally, not all jobs can be done remotely, however, for those that can, there are certainly plenty of benefits on offer. This article is a tiny peek into the differences between working in a traditional office environment vs working in a remote environment and also in-person meetings vs zoom meetings in today’s world.

Is the typical 9 to 5 office job going to become a thing of the past?

Let’s consider for a moment what people have accepted and gotten used to when it comes to normal working life and working day. You have to go to an office for 8 hours, typically a sober working environment, do your days work, have some meetings maybe and then leave the office and enjoy what is left of the day. Is this really necessary in today’s world?

Why does an organisation need an expensive central office when so much technology exists to keep data flowing, to allow people to communicate whether that be a video call or sharing information.

In the end, it’s about productivity and profitability for a business and thankfully these days organisations are aware of the need for quality of life and wellbeing and not just the bottom line. Furthermore, why 9 to 5? It’s not necessary for remote work, instead, why not work when you feel the most productive, as long as quality work is delivered on time, what difference does it make at what time you worked or even where you were when you did the work?

As a remote worker, it really shouldn’t matter anymore and hopefully, attitudes have shifted in the right direction

Enjoy life now instead of later…

Tomorrow I will be joining some friends at the beach, just a short 30-minute train ride away, one of the beauties of living in Lisbon. Whilst there may not be a perfect life and it’s highly subjective anyway, this lifestyle for me at least is pretty close to perfect. I am free, not stuck in a dull office waiting for the clock to hit 5 pm so I can escape and enjoy what’s left of my evening. I am already enjoying myself while I am working.

The vibe is cool, I’m enjoying the bustle of the cafe while I sit here and write. It is certainly helping me to be more creative, way more than I think I would be sitting in an office cubicle staring at grey walls and the faces of people who are maybe dreaming of being somewhere else, maybe just the kind of place I am in right now. The thought fills me with dread..

Is the face-to-face meeting needed anymore?

I believe there will always be the need for in-the-room meetings, there is no replacement nor will there ever be for meeting someone in person, sharing a coffee together, feeling the energy, reading the body language and so on.

What I believe our current technology can help greatly with is the eradication of face to face meetings when a Zoom call will suffice. This is also kinder to the environment and way more efficient.

On the other hand, I believe that we’re now in a time where setting up a face-to-face meeting and even more so travelling to see someone can really add some gravitas, it shows an extra effort and importance when it’s, of course, easy enough to have the meeting over Zoom.

While Zoom calls or similar are certainly efficient they miss so much that can only be achieved in a physical meeting. If we want to close a big deal, find an investor or similar, the power of the person to person meeting is incalculable. What is the takeaway here? In my opinion, it’s pretty simple, when a face to face meeting is not needed, go for a Zoom call, it’s quick and efficient.

However, there are times when making the effort to be in the same room will pay off handsomely and in these cases, it can be well worth the effort to do so. 

Remote working can’t all be rosy, what about the downsides?

As a remote worker, by definition, you are physically cut off from your colleagues and the organisation you work for. There’s no bumping into each other in the corridor to chat about your weekend or the project you are working on. On the one side there’s perhaps less distraction, and potentially more productivity, on the other hand without self-discipline it could be very easy to burn out by working working working all hours. For an organisation, not having their employees in a central location poses a potential problem of giving up a certain level of supervisory control. In my opinion, I don’t think this is such a big problem if the organisation structures itself well, uses the right tech and hires well.

For those in professions where remote work is possible, it’s certainly a lifestyle that can come with a lot of benefits. Ultimately it depends on what a person wants out of life and what their ultimate priorities are.

Wrap up

We are living in a truly amazing time, affordable technology and travel options exist in abundance and attitudes towards work are finally changing. The average person probably spends up to 2000 hours or more a year working. That is a lot, why not work and enjoy life simultaneously instead of working and then looking forward to retirement when you hopefully have the means and time to travel and enjoy yourself fully.

Of course, at this time you are older, and maybe don’t have the energy or health to do the kinds of things you would have wanted to do in your 20s, 30s, 40s or even 50s.

As a remote worker/digital nomad you have the possibility to have it all in some ways, the chance to travel the world, and live a more balanced lifestyle where work and play are interconnected.

I for one really embrace this lifestyle and cannot see myself spending 8 hours a day in the same office building day in day out. Instead, I see myself in a different cafe or co-living space from time to time, a different city for a few months to get to know a new culture and really live life every day instead of waiting to live it someday…

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