What Remote Teams Can Learn from the Tiny House Movement
The tiny house movement isn’t really “new,” though it is making news. People have been living in small spaces for centuries—from tiny New York City apartments to the charming houseboats of Amsterdam. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that houses in America began to exceed 1,000 square feet and we started associating success with a larger square footage.
So what is so different about this wave of the tiny house movement then? The answer may lie in the connection to its followers’ desires for slow living, financial freedom, and autonomy in this all too competitive world.
Participants of the tiny house movement, those who choose to live in spaces less than 500 square feet and some as low as 100 square feet, see themselves as contributing to their own sense of freedom as well as to the greater good of the planet.
For some, transitioning into a tiny house comes from the necessity to save money or to avoid the need to have a roommate, but for a growing number the decision resides in the conscious choice to make a drastic lifestyle change.
Now how does this all play into managing remote companies? There are numerous parallels between the tiny house movement and successfully managing a virtual workforce.
Here are five lessons that remote companies can learn from the tiny house movement:
1. Cut Costs
Central to the tiny house movement is minimizing financial obligations to enable us to experience what else life has to offer.
Much the same can be said about managing a company as well. When financial obligations are reduced, companies and employees have less stress overall, and thus, more time and energy to focus on growing the business, as well as putting their heart and soul into it rather than focusing only on the bottom line.
2. Remove Overhead
Much in the same vein, the tiny house movement seeks to reduce “life overhead” costs, (i.e., reducing energy bills by going solar or “off the grid,” paying outright or taking a small loan to build the house opposed to paying a mortgage for 30 years, and minimizing the overall upkeep of the home and creating less of a need for chores as with a larger home).
Companies that support remote work can save a tremendous amount of overhead costs by eliminating the need for office space.
In some cases, a central office may not be necessary at all, as with FlexJobs, where employees work 100 percent virtually. With the rise and improvements in virtual communication technologies such as Sococo, Slack, and Join.me, companies can have the peace of mind that their employees are being productive while experiencing the freedoms that reside in not having a physical office location.
3. Decrease Distractions
According to a study by The Atlantic, although American workers spend an average of eight to nine hours a day in the office, in actuality, only five to seven of those hours are spent working.
Employees spend an average of one and a half to three hours per day checking personal email, catching up with colleagues, shopping online, checking social media, and making personal phone calls.
What the tiny house movement’s removal of financial and materialistic distractions can do for the rejuvenation of the human spirit, telecommuting can do for increasing productivity in the workplace.
4. Reduce Commutes
Many tiny house members are actually taking their work on the road with them, deeming themselves “digital nomads.”
With the rise of telecommuting, this idyllic situation is becoming a reality for many professionals, especially millennials and retirees, who can now take their work and their home along with them on their adventures, and forego a commute altogether.
The benefits of not having a commute are abounding and play a significant role in creating a healthy work-life balance and high quality of life.
In addition to reducing one’s carbon footprint, not having to commute to work everyday allows employees to have more time for their family, for self-care, to sleep, to exercise, and to be productive!
5. Avoid Burn Out
Many tiny house movement participants feel overwhelmed, and a little fed up to be frank, with the current state of affairs.
Millennials in particular are questioning the need for a large home, the security of a 9-to-5 job, and the obligation to participate in society’s rat race, and many are turning to the tiny house movement for some answers. Downsizing one’s life can be an effective way to eliminate many of life’s burdens.
In the professional world, reducing the everyday stresses of commuting and showing up to an office every day can wreak havoc on the body and the mind, and will likely eventually lead to feelings of resentment for the company and one’s career.
Giving employees the autonomy and freedom to decide when and where to work will increase both productivity and health and wellness and will contribute to the overall growth and success of the company.
By Alexis Reale | May 19, 2016 | Categories: Remote Management