We often talk about remote work and self-employment as lifestyle choices—and for many people, they are. But for others, they can be an open door where there have otherwise been dead ends.
Location is a barrier that often doesn’t need to exist
According to Freelancing in America 2019, 46 percent of freelancers said freelancing gives them flexibility they need because they are unable to work for a traditional employer due to personal circumstances.
Paul E., a graphic designer from Connecticut, is a Top Rated freelancer who found his tribe—and a new business—on Upwork. “It’s changed my outlook on my financial future, allowed me to sharpen my skill set, and be more competitive while working from the comfort of my home with my partner Timothy and my cat Nemo as my support systems,” he said in an interview.
Going to an office every day just isn’t a possibility for some people, as Jennifer Aldrich noted in a personal essay on Medium. Working remotely for InVision is something she credits with keeping her sane when her physical health waned.
“Remote work is far more than just a job perk for digital nomads who want to see the world,” she said. “It’s a life changing opportunity for people with chronic illness whose minds are fine, but their bodies don’t cooperate.”
Other groups that are able to thrive with remote work include veterans and military spouses. Shari Cruz is a freelance learning and development leader, instructional designer, and military spouse who has run her business from Texas, North Carolina, and Hawaii.
“The ability to find clients online, in nearly any field, allows [military spouses] to leverage our professional experience, use our talents, grow our passions, and even contribute substantially to our family’s economic well-being,” she wrote in an article for the Upwork Blog.
Companies are moving toward distributed teams
“If your office has more than two floors, people aren’t working across floors,” Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, noted during the Fortune Global Forum in Paris. “They Slack each other, they Zoom each other, they Skype each other. So fundamentally, whether you have two floors in the same building, or two floors in two different cities, it makes no difference.” Already, more than two-thirds of employees are getting work done outside the office for at least a period of time each week; more than half (53 percent) work remotely for half of the week or more.