While I was doing research for this piece, one of the things that most caught my eye was a study showing that working from home know as “remote work” actually makes employees more productive.
According to this study, on average, remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year, than those who worked in an office. While office workers reported an average of 37 minutes each workday not getting work done, remote employees only lost 27 minutes of each workday to distractions.
Having in mind these interesting findings, I began a conversation with three young people from Kosovo who have been interviewed for this article. Surprisingly or not, all of them, with one voice, agreed that remote work has been more productive for them as well.
In this article Youth Time will bring to you the stories and profiles of these young adults who are working remotely from Kosovo. Each story uniquely sheds light on the way remote work is functioning in a small Balkan country with the youngest population in Europe.
With them we will discuss the benefits and challenges of remote work, employee productivity and responsibility, work-life balance, and many more interesting topics.
You may end up working all the time because you are just a click away from your job
Seemingly, when you work remotely, plenty of impossible things actually turn out to be possible. Like moving to Lisbon for a year-long volunteer project.
This is the story of Leon Gojani, Program Manager, Miracle Corners of the World (MCW Global).
In addition, he says that this type of work allows him to adjust his job and tasks to his own lifestyle, and not the other way around.
Gojani, who for five years had an office job, in his conversation with Youth Time shares the key challenges that come with working from home.
“If you are not careful with setting time off, you may end working all the time – because honestly, you are just a click away from your job. In addition, I find it hard sometimes not having my co-workers around to talk to about how my favorite team won this weekend or this great new Mexican place I discovered in town.”
For the 27 year-old, such workflow requires vigilance and great organizational skills.
“You need to be self-motivating, super-communicative (over-communicative with your supervisor or colleague) and responsible. Additionally, you have to be a little pushy about getting what you want and when you want it, because everybody is caught up with their own needs.”
Moreover, he reveals how this work seems odd to his parents, and how hanging out with friends is different now.
“When I told my parents about my new job, there was no way for them to understand how I was going to work without going to work. I figured that for my parents’ generation in Kosovo, the job was strictly connected to a physical place – there had to be a physical place.”
There have been times when he was hanging out with friends, and an email or a calendar reminder interrupted the social occasion.
“Sometimes you have to squeeze in a quick call over dinner with your friends. You have the flexibility, but not necessarily always the focus.”
“I strongly believe that this is a great thing that is happening to young people in Kosovo, because in addition to receiving better salaries, they get exposed to different working cultures, become more culturally aware and professionally prepared for a world-class job market.”
You must be both orthodox and independent
Nora Temaj, Architectural BIM Designer, Tockky LLC, for more than three years has been working in the United States (US) market, more specifically in the field of design and construction. For a year now, she has been working remotely.
“I must admit that I am feeling way more productive and contented compared to the times when I worked at the office. One of the reasons for taking this decision was how suffocated I felt when I had to stay at the office even though there was nothing to work on.”
Even though Temaj is certain that she is more productive now, she shares the other side of the discussion.
“What I would distinguish as a disadvantage of remote work is the fact that sometimes you miss interacting with a team, discussing ideas, sharing your knowledge on a particular topic related to work or maybe just a random joke and a little chit-chat.”
Despite the fact that she can work when she decides to, Temaj gives us some insight regarding how this style of working has affected her networking and social life.
“Beginning with my parents, they had no idea what working from home would mean, hence, they were very much confused; and it took them some time to understand. They asked if I got paid regularly and had some kind of a doubt if it was really possible to design/estimate a building while sitting at a computer in Kosovo that’s going to be built in New York!”
“The main things you have to consider when working remotely are the skills required to organize your day optimally and to be sure to remain focused without being supervised or sometimes under video surveillance. So, you must be both constrained/orthodox and independent.”
In the end, Temaj discusses the impact of remote work on Kosovo’s economy.
“Regarding the economy, I don’t know for certain if this is helping or not, but what I am really sure of is that working remotely is helping to raise people’s income and increase the professionalism they are introducing to Kosovo.”
I only need my laptop and Wi-Fi, and I am good to go
Kaltrina Ferizi, Creative Director at Adlantica, has been a lot more focused on her work since she started working remotely.
“I do not need to be inside an office all day to be productive. I only need my laptop and Wi-Fi, and I am good to go.”
While having no fixed working hours, no office, and no colleagues may be challenging for a successful employee, Ferizi believes that the lack of socializing is certainly a big shortcoming.
“For the most part, you will be alone working with other colleagues across the world. It can get lonely if you do not find ways to replace traditional work place social norms with other social activities outside of work.”
She shares her way of filling the social void, while telling Youth Time’s contributor that in the very beginning people did not take this job seriously, just because everything happens virtually.
“Eventually, when they see that it is indeed a secure and sustainable lifestyle choice, they are supportive. As far as networking and meeting other people, it is different from person to person. I personally try to meet people who are also in the remote space, so we can co-work together and fill the social void.”
Being autonomous and communicating effectively, she says, are two of the main traits in this line of work.
“You are bringing money into the economy and also paying taxes. So, you are like a small business contributing to the country, which I think is huge and is something that I am proud to do.”
Remote work is a new concept in the workplace, possible thanks to the rapidly changing and advanced technological world we are living in. Besides remote work, in a previous article “How Technology Is Changing the Workplace: Benefits and Risks” I have also discussed other ways that technology is reshaping the workplace as we have known it.
Title photo: Shutterstock