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Why Working From Anywhere is Good for the Soul

Beautiful mountain scenery  of  National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido in Spain
National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido in Spain

We live in a busy world where technology is increasingly being developed to do tasks that were traditionally led by humans, from writing articles to generating graphics. Artificial Intelligence does not need a break, it does not stop and pause; it can’t smell the flowers. Which makes it more important than ever for us to define our roles, in a world where machine learning and AI can facilitate what we do and create better efficiencies.

We need to find the time and space to think on what matters to us, process our experiences and reflect on what is to come, and imagine the way things could or should be.

How to get started? Start with what AI cannot do.

Step away from your desk

Working from anywhere (WFA) is good for the soul. Working at Clarity, a fast-paced global marketing communications agency, my team and I are faced with constant change, helping our clients define what they do to a broader audience and assessing the needs of a team with colleagues on the other side of the planet. 

While I love what I do - working with people and applying creative approaches to problem solving, storytelling and explaining how technology works – our energy is not constant. There is a natural ebb and flow. 

One bit of advice shared with me early in my career was Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, a well-known guide for helping to prioritize what’s urgent, what’s important, what can wait and what to eliminate. Covey also suggests that we must take the time to “sharpen our saw” to remain effective, to preserve and enhance the greatest asset you have—you. While it was first published in 1989, the lessons hold true today.

Hence a change in scenery from the everyday office or home environment forces our brain to carve new paths. To think differently and find a new pattern, and during free time instead of the habitual comforts of the familiar, it allows us to explore new places.

Plan something that excites you 

For my family this summer WFA meant working from Bilbao, Spain where my husband’s family is from. During the work week I am online for teams on the East Coast and West Coast from the early afternoon until past 10 p.m. CET, but on the weekends we take local trips around Northern Spain. 

Beautiful waterfall scene - “Cola de Caballo” Horsetail Waterfalls in Ordesa
Me taking photo of “Cola de Caballo” Horsetail Falls in Ordesa

Live as the locals do

But weekend excursions to new places aren’t the only highlight. Absorbing the pace and nuances of a new city lets you be both a tourist and a local at the same time. This for me is the best type of travel experience – where you get to see a place not as a tourist but someone who lives there. Going to a market, having coffee at the local spot, taking a walk in the park, or sitting on a bench and watching the world go by - for me this is what fuels my creativity.

“Cafe y pintxo” in Bilbao, a typical Basque breakfast
“Cafe y pintxo” in Bilbao, a typical Basque breakfast

The benefits of WFA

In today's digital age, the concept of working from anywhere has become more prevalent than ever before. With advancements in technology and the rise of remote work culture, employees now have the freedom to choose where they work. And I am here to tell you to do it because it is good for the soul. Not just for individuals seeking a better work-life balance but also for businesses looking to enhance productivity and boost employee morale. 

Look at AirBnB which lives its brand by encouraging employees to work (and live!) from everywhere. Remote work provides an opportunity to break free from the traditional grind and explore new ways of working. This sense of freedom and exploration can lead to increased creativity and personal growth, allowing you to take full ownership of work, career and life. If you’re still not convinced, here are three major benefits:

Better work-life-travel blend:

One of the primary advantages of working from anywhere is the ability to achieve a better work-life and travel blend. By eliminating the need to commute to a traditional office, employees can reclaim those precious hours and allocate them to personal activities or hobbies. And if you choose to travel to a new location to work remotely, then your new surroundings become your next travel experience. 

This increased flexibility allows individuals to better manage their time, and explore new places, resulting in reduced stress levels and improved overall well-being. When employees have a healthy work-life balance, they are more likely to be engaged, focused, and motivated in their work, leading to increased productivity.

Increased productivity:

Contrary to popular belief, working from anywhere can actually lead to increased productivity. Creativity and space to think can be found if you can be remote in a new environment and tailor an experience to your individual needs and preferences. 

Whether it's a rental apartment, a cozy coffee shop, or a co-working space, find the location that benefits your concentration and workflow. Set your hours so you and your team know when and how to best reach you. Stick to them. Use asynchronous time wisely and create the perfect environment for your most productive hours, resulting in higher-quality work and faster task completion.

Enhanced morale:

Working from anywhere has a significant impact on employee morale. It provides a sense of autonomy and freedom, which can boost employee satisfaction and loyalty, and ultimately contribute to the success of individuals and organizations alike.

When employees feel valued and trusted, they become more motivated to perform at their best. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, reduce burnout, and a greater sense of fulfilment in one's career.

A Clarity benefit

Not everyone has the luxury to WFA – in which case a good vacation is best. But if you are part of a growing remote work culture or a hybrid work environment then you may have the chance to try something new. At Clarity we have the flexibility of a hybrid work culture and a WFA benefit, which I gratuitously indulge in, sometimes to the raise of an eyebrow of my colleagues and clients, “Wait, Margaret, are you still in Spain?” Yes, and here I work remotely, blending life, work, travel and family. I hope it makes me a better person, manager and teammate, certainly my stress levels go down and I am happier. The proverbial saw is sharpened. 

Want tips on working remotely in Spain with a family? Come work with us at Clarity and join a flexible hybrid work culture, and perhaps plan your own WFA experience. We want to hear from you!

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