Get paid to be on vacation.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
As COVID restrictions begin going the way of the dinosaur, there are some things society has realized ought to stick around. Remote work, the digitally nomadic lifestyle of the next-gen workforce that is suddenly an acceptable way to earn a living, is a prime example.
Gone are the days when you must be chained to an office desk for 37.5 hours a week while a micromanager stands over your shoulder close enough for you to feel their cigs and coffee breath on the back of your neck. An incessant bottomless abyss of critique for useless processes (“I’m still missing your report of the report for the thing that doesn’t really matter”), juvenile office politics driven by envy (“It must be nice to have a desk so close to the office cooler, eh?”), and territorial, hierarchical bullshit (“the top half of the fridge is for managers”) upheld by faceless HR you only get to know intimately when you finally snap and quit.
If you currently find yourself in this situation, might I offer a solution? There is a slew of decent-paying remote jobs out there right now, and personally, the benefits of working remotely far outweigh any drawbacks for a few reasons.
1. Travel to and from the workplace can be bad for your health.
If you drive, the morning and after-work commute can take years off your life. According to medical and mental health experts, driving more than 10 miles a day can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol, risk of depression, blood sugar, anxiety and increase the likelihood of back pain from slouching in your seat. Basically, being parked in bumper-to-bumper traffic can take years off of your life.
Public transit is slightly better, but not by much. In a list of the top 8 reasons people give up on public transit, the usual culprits — transit delays, subway closures, long waits, overcrowding, traffic, and surly transit employees who do cruel things like watch you sprint half a block to their vehicle before slamming the doors in your face and driving off — can all lead to their own stressors. Then there are just the randoms you share space with who are a daily risk assessment no one needs.
A cat sleeping on fluffy pink pillows.Byron Armstrong | Narcity
2. You can spend more time with your furry or feathered friends.
Pet owners can be close to their loved ones all day, making time for daily walks on breaks and just more petting time in general a possibility. In a survey of 1,000 remote workers, 75% cited being with their pets as one of the main reasons they prefer to stay home to work.
Couple that with the fact that there are major health benefits to owning pets — regular walks out in the fresh air, exercise from play, socialization, lower blood pressure — and the question becomes why wouldn’t you want to work from home to spend more time with your pets? With all due respect to the Pope, who has recently said having pets over kids is selfish, spending more time with pets even edged out spending more time with your kids.
3. The environment and your lungs will thank you.
The COVID era has taught us a few things, not the least of these being that when fewer vehicles are on the road, air quality rises significantly. At the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns, satellites captured air quality footage from cities all over the world. They all pointed out what should be rather obvious if we ever stopped to think about it. Fewer people commuting to and from work in cars and transit leads to cleaner air.
Yes, you could buy an electric car for the cost of a downpayment on a micro condo in Toronto, or you could just not travel to an office at all. Trust me, Elon Musk doesn’t need your money as much as you do.
Chaise lounges by turquoise waters with palapas nearby. Byron Armstrong | Narcity
4. You can get paid to be on vacation.
No more begging for that extra day or two around the long weekend. No more Game of Thrones-style intrigue and strategizing over vacation schedules with your co-workers. As a remote worker, you have entered the secret society of digital nomads who roam the earth connected to a paycheque through a phone, laptop and decent Wi-Fi connection.
Spend your days immersed in different cultures around the world, working your shift from a cafe, shared workspace, hotel lobby, or poolside if the internet is available. After work, explore the sights, sounds, people and tastes — not necessarily in that order or separate from each other — of your new environs. Be inspired and stay motivated. If the job itself isn’t motivating you, maybe the travel perks of the job will.
A room with tables and chairs, a wall covered in plants and another with wall-to-ceiling windows. Byron Armstrong | Narcity
5. Avoid toxic work culture and people who excel in those environments.
If narcissists, control freaks and agents of chaos who “just want to watch the world burn” lurk behind every cubicle, office or hallway at your workplace, remote work provides a clear path of relative avoidance. At the very least, you won’t have to share eight hours of enclosed space with Anna Delvey, Simon Leviev, or Luka Magnotta office variants.
You don’t owe anybody your sanity, emotional wellbeing or physical space. Remotely, your time with these people is limited to a virtual meeting once or twice a week; hopefully, meetings where you only spend 15 to 30 minutes forcing yourself to smile while sidestepping the bureaucratic bullets.
6. The workplace becomes more inclusive and equitable.
Yes, remote work is incredible if you can manage your own time and work around that schedule. Still, a conversation about inclusivity in the workplace that includes disabilities, race, gender, sexuality and so much more should also be addressed.
Does the workplace look, and is it experienced the same way for everybody? Is the commute the same for somebody with a disability — or in the case of COVID-19 — immunocompromised folks? These are questions affected people have been asking ever since being forced to leave the workspace, only then to realize that lifestyle worked out better for them.
Of course, all of this won’t necessarily be the case for everybody, but for the most part, I see very few downsides to remote work, and if you hate going into the office every day, I think it's safe to say you won't either.