Advertising
Advertising

Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas?

Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas?

When people imagine rural areas, they think farms, cute cottages, and a laid back lifestyle.

While these are mostly true, rural areas around the world have plenty of benefits that some folks fail to acknowledge. Whenever the topic of moving or living there arises, they would usually worry about education, healthcare, and culture. This is especially true for those who want to start a family.

Millennials, in particular, have been known to move away from rural areas to urban landscapes. This exodus is mainly driven by the need for further education, employment opportunities, and personal motivations (i.e. live a dynamic, fast-paced lifestyle like their peers).

But lately, it seems the young generation is on the move again – this time, towards the suburban and rural areas.

Why the change of heart?

Benefits of Living/Working In Rural Areas

Did you know that 90 percent of the United States land mass is made up of rural and suburban areas?

According to U.S. Census Bureau, rural areas are those that “encompass all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.”

Advertising

Technically, anything that’s NOT urban (i.e. open spaces, forests, farmlands, areas with less than 2,500 residents) is rural. But it’s not a perfect definition. However, two main factors affect an area’s definition of being ‘rural’: commute and housing density. This definition could also vary in other parts of the world.

As a millennial who was born and raised in the bustling city, living with my mother in Eibelstadt was a huge change. Although they’re not exactly rural, they are a small town of roughly 3,000 residents (as of December 2015).

eibelstadt
    Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.

    One of the first things I noticed was that there is more of the older generation than younger ones (especially those my age). Buildings and houses dated as far back as the 16th century (which is awesome). Nights were definitely quieter, and people more or less knew one another. They would smile or wave hello whenever we passed each other in the streets.

    The best part, though, is the small local businesses. From furniture shops, boutiques, apothecaries, to little grocery shops, it feels like stepping back to a time when living was simple and money wasn’t a big issue. The very low crime rate made me feel safe to take evening walks alone or with the family dog.

    But it’s not just me who thinks rural areas could be great places to work or settle in.

    1. Rural areas provide fewer distractions.

    Several researches have pointed to the benefits of being so close to greenery, peace, and quiet. One of the best things about living in smaller towns is that there are fewer things that need to occupy your time – and mind.

    One research shows how crowded streets (which are a common sight in urban landscapes) affect memory retention. With so many stimuli (e.g. speeding cars, people walking, stereos blasting, etc.), our brains can only focus on it for a limited amount of time until it needs to process another set of information.

    Advertising

    But in rural settings, you’ll be able to focus on ONE thing at a time. This keeps you productive. There’s also the benefit of silence. According to a 2013 study, silence can help the brain generate new neurons. During silence, it’s also a time when your brain can analyze its internal and external surroundings.

    2. You can experience better work/life balance in rural areas.

    In one study, it was found that people who lived near green regions had lower rates of psychological disorders, compared to their urban counterparts. Participants of the study also reported relief from sadness and depression.

    The more things you think or worry about, the more stressed you feel. Who can focus on relaxing when you’re still worried about that email or a call from your boss? Rural areas are perfect for trying to achieve the elusive work/life balance.

    Feeling stressed? Just put on a coat and stroll your worries away. Need to be productive? Choose a quiet spot in your home and get to work. Craving for some alone time? A hike in the woods or mountain should replenish your soul. Interested in a little socializing? Just visit local bars or a community center to meet someone new.

    Surprisingly, the slower pace of life in small towns can help you reconnect with what matters most.

    3. Lower cost of living.

    Don’t be fooled: just because Eibelstadt boasts of only 3,000 people, it doesn’t mean that they’re not thriving. Contrary to what many believe, these beautiful communities contain flourishing businesses that include furniture makers, crafts masters, wine experts, boutique hotels, salons, and architecture firms.

    eibelstadt
      Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.

      In Eibelstadt’s case, it was thanks to their prosperous wine businesses that lured tourists far and wide for a visit, particularly during the summer. This, along with the town’s gorgeous sceneries, helped to make them a lucrative option for millennials like myself.

      Advertising

      But unlike living in busy cities like Paris or Berlin, the cost of living in small towns is lower. Grocery shopping can be done easily from farmers’ markets. Need new plates or some antique table cloths for your home? Try yard and garage sales, where a dollar can go a long way. If you love unique, arty items, look out for local artisans and their amazing crafts.

      What Jobs Can You Get In Rural Areas?

      These reasons are well and good – but NOT enough to convince people to go ‘rural’.

      After all, many amenities are few and far in between. For instance, my mother and I needed to drive a couple of miles twice a month for groceries. Although there was a store not far from our home, the big shops are located elsewhere. This taught us how to budget out time and resources though, so it wasn’t that bad.

      But perhaps the biggest hurdle for anyone who wants to live in rural areas is employment. What jobs can you get in the countryside? Are there even good jobs?

      Lucky for us millennials, we were born in a time when technological advances were quickly being developed. These days, making passive income is the norm. Below are a couple of suggestions for jobs you can do if you decide to live in a rural area:

      • Remote Work – even folks from cities opt for remote work. This gives you the freedom to work from anywhere while letting you earn a paycheck. You can be a consultant, web designer, developer, graphic artist, or writer. Try sites like Flex Jobs and Remote OK.io for a list of remote work options today.
      • Arts and Crafts – are you good with your hands? Lots of artists, craftsmen, and hobbyists try their luck at selling their wares either locally or online. If you feel ready to expand your horizons, check out platforms like Etsy or Shopify.
      • Gardening/Farming/Livestock – while this won’t make you a billionaire in two years (or a decade even), it’s a great way to feed yourself, your family, and your community.

      If you already have a small farm of a few acres or so, you can begin with some vegetables and livestock. Then you can choose to expand from there. What better way to eat food than to know you grew it yourself? Plus, there are farmers’ markets and restaurants that could be your loyal customers given the chance.

      eibelstadt
        Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.
        • Photography/Writing – this is similar to remote work. There are plenty of businesses in need of professional images and content. If you have the talent for it, you can promote your work online. You can also find employment in small local companies, such as local newspapers.
        • Teaching/Consulting – for those who are thinking or moving to rural areas near their retirement, becoming a teacher or consultant is a great way to earn income while sharing your knowledge. Start profiling your future settlement for opportunities in these areas.

        Are they in need of your kind of skills and work experience? What are the requirements? Who would be your potential students or clients?

        Advertising

        As most work these days need a bit of computer literacy, it’s wise to invest in courses if you’re not so tech-savvy. Visit your community center to inquire about classes.

        Ready for Rural Living?

        Okay, so maybe not – yet.

        But imagine waking up to just the right rays of sunlight through your open window. The birds and bees outside your garden, beckoning you to join them. I personally love taking in the silence first thing in the morning, with a strong cup of coffee.

        Rural areas, like cities and the suburbans, have their pros and cons. Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide where you’d work and settle in.

        Featured photo credit: Ana Madeleine Uribe/Pexels.com via pexels.com

        More by this author

        Cris Antonio

        Content Strategist, Storyteller

        Ace Any Public Speaking Gig Ace Any Public Speaking Gig with these 6 Tips Backed by Science Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas? Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas? fall road trips Top 6 Fall Road Trips: Where the Journey IS the Destination How To Manage Stress from Short-Term, High-Pressure Jobs Should You Chase a ‘Dream Job’ To Feel Like a Success?

        Trending in Work

        1 17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team 2 17 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview And Land the Job You Deserve 3 How to Work Smarter Not Harder with These 12 Tips 4 5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team 5 How to Dress for Success While You’re Working with a Tight Budget

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        Published on September 18, 2018

        17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

        17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

        Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

        Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

        Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

        After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

        Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

        1. Show your appreciation

        In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

        The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

        Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

        2. Communicate effectively

        Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

        Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

        3. Be open to dialogue

        Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

        New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

        Advertising

        In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

        For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

        4. Provide constructive criticism

        Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

        So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

        Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

        Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

        Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

        5. Conduct one-on-ones

        Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

        While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

        Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

        More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

        6. Build training programs

        In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

        Advertising

        From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

        While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

        7. Offer growth opportunities

        Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

        Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

        Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

        8. Reward them

        Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

        If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

        Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

        9. Encourage team outings

        Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

        From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

        10. Involve them

        Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

        Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

        Advertising

        11. Set meaningful goals

        In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

        Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

        12. Empower them

        You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

        Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

        Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

        13. Deal with conflict

        A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

        How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

        As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

        14. Implement a flexible work culture

        Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

        Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

        It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

        15. Host engaging activities

        All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

        Advertising

        From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

        16. Maintain a positive work space

        Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

        Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

        These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

        17. Avoid discrimination

        Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

        In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

        The bottom line

        Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

        It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

        This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Read Next