Working from home has influenced more than just my environment; it has made me a better writer
Two years beyond the sudden thrust into a remote workforce, the work-from-home learning curve is finally starting to flatten. Freed from a reactionary mindset, workers and companies alike now have some breathing room to consider the pros and cons of in-person versus remote environments and how each impacts both productivity and the product.
While I have worked many years as a contract writer, most of my time was marked in a traditional office setting. Often, the only difference between me and my full-time coworkers was my lack of a benefits package. When I joined Dragonfly Editorial as a fully remote but full-time team member, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Despite my own steep learning curve, Dragonfly has a deeply rooted remote-workforce strategy that casts a wide net to fulfill its tenet of putting the right people in the right seats.
Here’s how working remotely has impacted my writing.
Enhanced workday rhythms
Long gone are my night owl ways. While I’d suspected that my ideal productive groove happens in the early morning, the impulse was always interrupted by the inevitable morning scramble and the minor stressors of a long commute. Now, I can get a solid head start to my day. It’s more than just being able to work in pajamas and skip putting on makeup. Early mornings are a time that I can count on to be free of meetings or interruptive messages.
My brain responds in kind, the sound of my coffee pot Pavloving some of my most original and compelling ideas. Later in the day, when the work requires more craft to provide clarity and strategy, I turn to a physical task. At home, the act of pulling a weed provides more overall benefit to my life than an aimless trip to a corporate cafeteria. (Although, I would be remiss if I didn’t mourn my loss of access to the Thanks A Latte machine.)
A popular writer and sociologist received a lot of attention for his public lament that a sense of belonging in the workplace is impossible when you’re physically disconnected. I disagree. I’ve never met a single co-worker of mine in person, and yet I don’t feel hindered in getting to know any of them.
The relationships I’ve developed with the Dragonfly team — based on experience, role on a project, shared interests, or personality type — do not feel any different from those I’ve had in any other job. A collective quipping while waiting for the elevator has been adequately replaced by a lively message thread in response to a pic of a co-worker’s preschooler dressed up for “favorite storybook character day.”
The communication regarding the work itself is often reduced to its essence. The mere act of typing a question or concern makes me more thoughtful in clarifying my point. Not knowing if someone is immediately available makes me more proactive to seek answers. In other words, being stripped of the convenience (and distraction) of immediate contact has made me a more thoughtful and focused writer.
Workers throughout time have and will experience major societal, technological, or environmental changes that will disrupt the way we live and do business. I feel lucky that the basic foundation of my work — to create clear and compelling content — tends to be more fundamentally resilient to disruption than work in other industries.
Yes, there will always be industry trends to consider and the consistent adaptation to new platforms, but I’m very fortunate to be rooted in an industry, company, and era that supports workers, embraces change, and is equipped for what’s next.