Remote Work: The New Realities of Life on the Job

Last Updated November 27, 2021
Remote Work

Findings from a 2021 U.S. Gallup poll suggest more than half of all working adults are doing their jobs either full or part-time from home.  Not surprisingly, a recent survey by Harvard Business School found 81% of people who have been working from home during the pandemic either don’t want to go back or prefer a hybrid schedule. This means more eyes than ever before are spending hours in front of computer screens and other digital devices to get their jobs done. 

There have been work-from-home (WFH) and digital nomad communities for years, but today, in what was once an unusual circumstance, more and more people are entering the remote workforce. While there are real personal benefits to remote working, the requisite screen time is a factor in the uptick in vision symptom complaints from eye strain and dry eyes to problems with corrective lenses interfering with Zoom meetings. 

Lifestyle Opportunities in Remote Work Situations

The rise of hybrid and remote work options has led to an increase in the number of employees choosing to “work anywhere”, exploring the freedoms that come with flexible work arrangements to help prioritize life goals. This includes finding ways to combine their work-life with what would otherwise be vacation plans, making for longer and more frequent stays in alternative locations.  In describing what he coined as a “travel revolution,” AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky commented: 

 “Before the pandemic, we used to live in one place or house, work in another place or office, go to a third-place — travel. Now, all three places are in the same place. And they can be anywhere we want to be. And so long as employers allow people to live a hybrid life — we don’t all have to come back to work five days a week. What it means is millions of people are now more flexible. They’re more flexible about where they can go, when they can go. And so this is, I think, going to open up a huge amount of flexibility, and therefore a lot more travel for people.”

Working from home has taken on broader definitions, with “home” potentially being anywhere in the world. AirBnB is reporting upticks in longer-term rentals – those longer than 28 days – as well as more extended weekend stays. It appears employees are looking to make the most of the flexibility offered by remote work, by optimizing their days around work, home, and adventure in new or different locations. The experience of the pandemic has offered many a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fit work into their vision of living instead of simply living to work. 

“Now, work schedules are more flexible than ever. Working from home, hybrid schedules, and even extreme remote work options with people choosing to log in from anywhere in the world they want to be at any given time. Many of our patients have said that this flexibility gives them the freedom during ‘normal’ business hours to take care of personal business and pursue personal goals – which include laser vision correction. Prioritizing the quality of life has led more patients to want to free themselves from the constraints of glasses and contacts,” said Gregory Parkhurst, M.D. of Parkhurst NuVision in San Antonio.  

The popularity of procedures like LASIK, SMILE, and PRK is reflected in recent data from RSC reporting a 48% YTD increase in laser vision correction procedures in 2021 compared to 2020.

What kind of travel is the pandemic inspiring?

What does today’s remote work tech stack look like?

Living a life that combines leisure travel with work hours, even short-term, requires thoughtful planning.  Being well prepared with appropriate technology, creating a usable workspace at new/different locations, packing, and planning out how to take full advantage of all your home away from home as to offer.  Here are a few questions and tips to help you think through the process:

How’s your technology suite? Is your laptop up for the challenge of being your full-time computer? 

PRO TIP: Most of today’s televisions can serve as a monitor using an HDMI cord connection. Having a larger screen can be easier on the eyes and you can set it up as a secondary display to help visualize all of your workspaces. BONUS: having displays set up at different heights and fields of focus may help reduce digital eye strain.

Do you have all of the cords and accessories you need to keep you powered up, online and productive?

PRO TIP: Carefully inquire about the wifi set up, speed, and consistency at the place you plan to stay. If there are any concerns, consider bringing a wifi hotspot device, or purchasing one upon your arrival. 

Are your communication platforms (Slack, Asana, Trello, or good old email) and virtual meeting apps (Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets) up to date? 

PRO TIP: Check for software updates before you leave to save time and avoid frustration.

Have you packed to perform? Virtual meetings mean some of your day is going to be spent on camera. Choosing a comfortable wardrobe that easily accommodates work and off-hour activities is important. 

PRO TIP: Think through your vision correction needs. Do you have enough contact lens supplies? Prescription sunglasses? If your bags are feeling the burden of your vision problems, consider making an appointment with your eye doctor. Today’s virtual doctor visits make it more convenient than ever to talk about your laser vision correction options from wherever you are making yourself home.

Published November 1, 2021