The Two Camps of the Remote Work Movement

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Have you ever gone to a protest or a political rally and noticed folks who are vaguely on your team, but upon closer inspection really Are Nothing Like You?

The remote work movement is starting to feel a little bit like that.

As with any movement, there are multiple camps and factions within the Remote Work movement.  

While these camps rally behind the same flag - Remote Work is the Future! -  they actually share very little in common.

At the risk of oversimplifying, here is my best shot to simplify (with all respect) the two most radical, polar opposite factions within the Pro Remote Work Camp.

Which camp are you in?

Camp One: There’s More to Life than Work!

You realized a long time ago that your 70% is probably just as good as most people’s 100%, and just because your parents needed to punch the clock five days a week, why should you?  Nobody ever said on their death bed “Man, I wish I had spent more time working.”  And frankly, you can get just about all of it done in three or four days and invest the rest in yourself, your family, your community.

Yes, my work is important, but it doesn’t define me.  It’s just one facet of a many sided stone.  There’s a whole world out there to experience, and I need a work lifestyle that allows me to lean into all that life has to offer; travel, family, friends, the arts, mental and physical health.

Of course I care about my work, and I what I produce is high quality.  But I’m not a slave to it.  And for those dinosaur employers that just don’t get it?  Well, good luck finding a replacement for me.  And if they still don’t get with the times, I can find a new job in a week - I no longer have to work for folks based within 30 miles of me.  Or maybe I will just take a break and travel for a bit.  

Remote work finally affords me a lifestyle that lets me be the best version of myself.  There’s no going back.

Camp Two: Let’s Usher in a New Age of Human Productivity

You’ve been paying attention, and you’ve realized that once things go digital, they rarely go back.  Music, movies, shopping, news, entertainment - once the genie left the bottle, well, you know..  Why should how we work be any different?

And your head races about the possibilities for how we work - all those commuting hours back, all that business travel gone, the elimination of all of those office distractions, how could we not get more done?  How could this not be a win for my career?  How could we not move faster as a civilization?  In the old days, three face to face customer meetings in NYC after 12 hours of flights was a win; now I can pack 6 Zooms in and still exercise, have dinner with the fam, and get a great night’s sleep and get up the next day ready to rock.

You've always been a grinder; now you can go headphones on and Get.  Stuff.  Done.

I mean, it’s simple math.  Let’s say the average human gets 1.5 hours a day back not having to commute.  If they choose to only apply 30 of those minutes back into their career, and the other 60 into family, community, health, sleep… the productivity wins are still world changing.  What does this mean for my career?  What does this mean for the world?

Remote work finally affords me a lifestyle that lets me truly seize my career.  There’s no going back.

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As is the law on the internet, this post is a caricature and is not meant to represent any historical figures living or dead.

But does any of it ring true for you all?  If you had to choose, which camp best describes your feelings about Remote Work?

Written by
Lawrence Coburn

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