One day, you will need time to “find yourself.” It’s like Liz Gilbert’s memoir or the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love,” where Julia Roberts takes 365 days off work after a difficult divorce. But the point of the true-life story is that Gilbert was brave enough to “leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life,” says an Amazon review. So she goes on this spectacular soul-searching journey across the world.
The question is: When the time comes, will you be brave enough to go? Most importantly, will you still have a job when, and if, you return? You will if you participate in the Remote Year program, says the CEO and entrepreneur, Greg Galant.
“We have people working for us from anywhere from LA to North Carolina to Canada and even Poland," Galant told FastCompany.com. “Some of them we never see. It’s an increasingly large trend because of the challenge of both finding the right talent and also the nature of work becoming easier to distribute. Half the tools we’re using didn’t exist just five or 10 years ago.”
And according to a recent survey, there are “clear cost-savings and productivity gains for companies that employ remote workers as well as a number of both personal and professional benefits for workers themselves.” The following, “Consume, Cogitate and Appreciate,’” explores the top three advantages of working remotely.
Gilbert’s first stop is Italy where she devours world-famous Italian delights such as pizza, gelato and wine. “I came to Italy pinched and thin,” she writes, but she soon fills out in waist and soul, according to a Publisher Weekly review.
In other words, Gilbert had “explored the art of pleasure in Italy,” says the Amazon review. However, you will not have to leave your job in order to consume life, which is one of the advantages to working remotely. According to the Remote Collaborative Worker Survey, most people work remotely because they are seeking personal satisfaction and a better quality-of-life. The survey, conducted by ConnectSolutions, also found that 45% of those who work remotely are sleeping more, 35 percent are more active, and 42 percent are eating healthier.
Next, she pursues “prayer and ascetic rigor: seeking communion with the divine at a sacred ashram in India, Gilbert emulates the ways of yogis in grueling hours of meditation, struggling to still her churning mind,” says Amazon. But unlike Gilbert, you will not have to do it alone.
Greg Caplan, the founder of the Remote Year, had initially launched the program because he did not want to travel alone.
“I was able to find remote work, but it’s difficult to find friends to travel with," Caplan told Fastcompany.com. “The biggest issue is traveling alone. I thought it’d be lonely. I wanna go travel but I wanna do it with a community and in a more structured way.”
The company, which offers 100 remote workers a chance to explore the world together in 18 different locations over the course of a year, plays the role of both employment agency and travel agent, said Jessica Hullinger, a freelance journalist who covers innovation, tech, and science.
“In return for serving as a de facto travel agent / employment agency, Remote Year takes a cut of its participants’ paychecks twice a month to cover the travel costs,” Hullinger added. “It keeps some for itself, too, but Caplan is coy about just how much.”
According to The Washington Post, the journey runs participants over $25,000 for the year — $3,000 must be paid in advance and then $2,000 each month. For the money, Remote Year arranges and covers the cost of housing in each city as well as travel insurance and travel logistics between the year’s 12 stops (though participants buy their flights to and from the first and last cities), according to The Washington Post. The program, which had over 25K applicants and started June 1, also secures work locations with Wi-Fi in each, and “plans events and meals to foster a sense of community among the 75 participants,” according to The Washington Post.
But it is today’s digital technology that enables companies like Remote Year to exist. And many companies already encourage remote work, like Sawhorse Media, the technology company behind MuckRack and the Shorty Awards, said Hullinger. And with this type of opportunity, you will have plenty of time to examine your life and re-examine what’s important to you. And that’s a huge advantage to working remotely.
Finally, Gilbert ends up in Bali for “balancing” and “tries for equipoise ‘betwixt and between’ realms, studies with a merry medicine man and plunges into a charged love affair,” says Amazon. Most importantly, she learned how-to appreciate life, which is the greatest advantage to working remotely.
In the ConnectSolutions survey, over 44% of remote workers reported being more upbeat, 53% said they were more relaxed and 51% they were spending more time with their family.
Out of the over 200 remote workers interviewed for the survey, over 60% said they have a more positive attitude to their work.
“Our Remote Collaborative Worker Survey suggests there are significant benefits to be gained by both remote workers and their employers with off-site employees motivated to work harder and more efficiently to protect both the personal and professional benefits of working remotely,” CEO of ConnectSolutions Michael Fitzpatrick said in a press release. “Even the personal benefits workers experience can be viewed as employer benefits since workers tend to be happier, less stressed out, and healthier, thereby bringing down the costs of turnover, absenteeism, lower productivity, and other issues.”
On the other hand, 39% of remote workers admit to working in their PJs, and over 10% admit chatting with clients and colleagues while not wearing pants. Now that has to be enough incentive to “Go, ‘Find Yourself’ and Get Paid to Do It!”