Embracing remote work in tech: Employee benefits and tips

Former chef and soldier, then turned developer. I love outdoorsmanship, and all things technology.

Introduction

The advent of remote work in the technology sector, combined with the effects of COVID, has revolutionized the way we work and opened doors to a better quality of life for individuals living with chronic diseases such as psoriasis. In addition, the flexibility of remote work allows people to spend time in warmer climates during the winter months, benefiting their physical and mental health. This article will explore the advantages of remote work, referencing research papers that support the benefits. Additionally, we will delve into the mental health aspect of spending quality time in the sun and highlight how forward-thinking companies like Mews foster a remote work culture that promotes health, mental well-being, and a deeper understanding of their industries.

The benefits of remote work for people with chronic conditions

Research has shown that spending time in warmer climates, particularly around the equator, can alleviate symptoms for those with arthritis, psoriasis and other chronic skin conditions. For example, a study by Eran Kopel et al., titled “The impact of climatotherapy at the Dead Sea on the quality of life of patients with psoriasis”, revealed that sun exposure and saltwater could significantly improve psoriasis symptoms. Equally, a study by L.T.N. Nilsen, E. Soyeland, and A.L.Krogstad titled “Effect of climate therapy at Gran Canaria on vitamin D production, blood glucose and lipids in patients with psoriasis” concluded with up to 72.8% reductions in symptoms in three weeks with exposure to sunlight (UVB rays). By allowing employees to work remotely, companies enable individuals with chronic conditions to experience these benefits firsthand.

The mental health impact of soaking up the sun

Beyond the physical advantages, remote work provides a valuable opportunity for employees to improve their mental health. The benefits of sun exposure on mental well-being are well documented. A study by Kerr, D.C.R., et al., titled “Associations between Vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in healthy young adult women” (2015), found that sunlight exposure can help regulate mood and reduce the risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). By working remotely in sunnier climates individuals can experience an uplift in their mental state and contribute to a more productive and happier work-life balance.

Photo: John H Øien

Mews: A champion of remote work culture and industry understanding

Mews, a progressive tech company, stands out as a prime example of a business that embraces remote work and actively encourages it. And not only by giving employees the option to work from home in their regular locations all over the world. But also by supporting remote work, remote team meetups, and teambuilding, Mews supports its employees’ health and mental well-being, especially those with chronic conditions. Moreover, Mews’ commitment to flexible work allows its employees to immerse themselves in the hospitality industry and the sector they serve. This exposure to different cultures and experiences enriches employees’ understanding of their users’ and customer needs and desires, ultimately enabling Mews to create better solutions and experiences for everyone involved.

Mews: Facilitating a perfect work-life balance in Sri Lanka

Mews recently announced a ‘Work from Anywhere’ policy which gives people the freedom to work outside of their home country, provided it is safe and compliant to do so. This has allowed employees like me to explore destinations like Sri Lanka, a country with a favorable climate for my psoriasis. Sri Lanka is an ideal location for remote work, as its time zone difference aligns perfectly with Central Europe, enabling seamless collaboration with colleagues. This arrangement allows me to spend my mornings on the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, soaking up the sun and experiencing the therapeutic benefits of salt water, before heading back to my apartment to start my workday at noon. This perfect blend of treatment and work ensures that I don’t have to sacrifice one for the other and can maintain a healthy balance between my professional and personal life. Mews’ commitment to enabling remote work through the ‘Work from Anywhere’ policy demonstrates the company’s dedication to the health and happiness of its employees.

Photo: John H Øien

Starting your journey

My journey started by exploring the possibilities of remote work through an offer by a former Sri Lankan colleague. Well, to be honest, it began in 2009 when I was on a treatment stay in the Canary Islands, experiencing firsthand the benefits of the sun and saltwater on my psoriasis. I moved to Gran Canaria for four years due to that stay, and it has stuck with me since then. But that is a story for another post.

Back to my journey to remote work from Sri Lanka. Having been offered a stay in SL, I went to my Engineering Manager, David Endersby, to air the possibility of such an endeavor. And kudos to David for taking this seriously and effectively. I have discussed this with many bosses and managers, many of whom did not recognize this as an opportunity. Instead, they took it as a sign of discontent and would not facilitate such opportunities. But David and Michael Ruml, our Director of Engineering, understood the importance of Mews’ values in health and work-life balance, approved my journey as it was within the provided policy guidelines.

But remember, it might not fit into the planning or execution the team is currently doing, so if you plan on asking your manager, director, employer or anyone else like your spouse or children. Leave room for thought, feedback, and consideration. Start slowly by letting your manager know your wishes, and together you might devise a suitable solution that fits you, the team, and the management. Remember, if you start by presenting a well-executable plan rather than a “carte blanche”, your chances of getting your ‘Work from Anywhere’ request approved are much more significant. 

Photo: John H Øien

Would you like to work with us?

Not sure when you read this post, but hopefully, there is some role suited for you right now. If not, there will be eventually. ✌️

The importance of researching local facilities for successful remote work

Before embarking on a ‘Work from Anywhere’ adventure in a new location, conducting thorough research is crucial to ensure a conducive work environment. When considering a destination like Sri Lanka or any other place, verifying the availability of critical facilities and amenities, such as coworking spaces or suitable accommodations with dedicated workspaces, is essential. In addition, good internet connectivity, a stable power supply, and a peaceful environment are vital factors for seamless work performance.

In addition to work-related factors, researching the proximity of your accommodations to beaches or other amenities that support your health and well-being is equally important. After all, one of the main goals of working remotely in a different country is to reap the benefits of the local environment.

When planning your ‘Work from Anywhere’ stay, consider potential drawbacks such as travel distance, time zone differences, local infrastructure, and possible language barriers. You also need to consider distractions, your own work ethic, and the legal aspects of your plans. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can better prepare for your ‘Work from Anywhere’ experience and ensure a smooth transition to your new location. This foresight will enable you to maintain a productive work-life balance while enjoying the benefits of your chosen destination to the fullest.

Conclusion

Mews has proven itself a fantastic company for its innovative approach to the technology sector and its unwavering support for flexible remote work. By allowing employees to work remotely, Mews has demonstrated its commitment to the health and well-being of its team members, including those with chronic conditions like psoriasis. In addition, Mews’ work-from-anywhere policy has enabled employees to travel to destinations like Sri Lanka, where they can relieve their symptoms while maintaining a seamless connection with their colleagues.

Photo: John H Øien

By enabling remote work, Mews has fostered a culture prioritizing employees’ physical and mental health without compromising their professional growth. This approach has undoubtedly contributed to the company’s success. It promotes a healthy work-life balance for its employees, ultimately leading to increased productivity, job satisfaction, and a deeper understanding of the industries they serve. Mews is an inspiring example for other companies to follow, demonstrating the incredible benefits that supportive remote work culture can bring to employees and businesses.

Additional reading and resources

Kopel E, Levi A, Harari M, Ruzicka T, Ingber A. Effect of the Dead Sea climatotherapy for psoriasis on quality of life. Isr Med Assoc J. 2013 Feb;15(2):99-102. PMID: 23516771.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23516771/

A Osmancevic, LT Nilsen, K Landin-Wilhelmsen, E Søyland, P Abusdal Torjesen, TA Hagve, MS Nenseter, AL Krogstad Effect of climate therapy at Gran Canaria on vitamin D production, blood glucose and lipids in patients with psoriasis
https://oslo-universitetssykehus.no/Documents/Behandlingsreiser/Forskning/Psoriasis%20hos%20voksne,%20barn%20og%20ungdom/PSO8_VitanminD2_2009.pdf

Kerr DC, Zava DT, Piper WT, Saturn SR, Frei B, Gombart AF. Associations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in healthy young adult women. Psychiatry Res. 2015 May 30;227(1):46-51. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.02.016. Epub 2015 Mar 5. PMID: 25791903; PMCID: PMC4420707.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25791903/

Ayona Beach Villa, Sri Lanka
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085688926049

Airbnb let its workers live and work anywhere. Spoiler: They’re loving it
https://www.npr.org/2023/04/28/1172213330/airbnb-hybrid-remote-work-form-home-office-digital-nomad

Former chef and soldier, then turned developer. I love outdoorsmanship, and all things technology.
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