You think you've got a remote workforce...

shutterstock_82519534You're a small business owner who's just put in place a new unified communications system, and you're marveling at all the doors it's opening up. Chief among these is the way it's enabled you to build a remote workforce. Once all your workers had to clock in at the office, now you have people checking in from home, and even host some new employees working in a neighboring city. You never realized just how transformative having a remote workforce could be. But if you think that you've got a remote workforce, just talk to these folks: 

  • The 6 people who are working from space: According to the app "How Many People Are In Space Right Now," there are six people in space right now. If you told any one of these people that your "remote" workers are people who work from home, they'd probably have no idea what you meant. "Remote," after all, is a relative term, and for The Brave Six, it means a fixed point in the cosmos about a million feet above ground surface. One of these remote workers is a man named Reid Wiseman, whose work as a flight engineer takes place quite far away from NASA's earthly headquarters. However, Wiseman has a different place to call the office, namely the International Space Station, where, in between doing his job, he shares his exploits with the rest of the world via Twitter and Vine. Since problems in space are the same as ones on the ground, here's a video he shot of them repairing the toilet. But Wiseman's journey has not been all fun, floating and vining. As he told ABC News, it was more than a little challenging adapting to a zero-gravity workspace. And then there was the little issue of sleeping, something he found a creative solution for. 

"I usually like to sleep on my stomach when I'm down on Earth, and so the other night, I tried to put some bungee cords across the back of my body and just bungee cord myself to the wall," he said.

  • The employees of Vanuatu Underwater Post Office: OK, this isn't technically a remote workforce, since the place of work is itself remote, but ... c'mon - an underwater post office?! My first question is: Isn't paper not supposed to go in water? Not to worry, though - they've already considered that. That's why the post office - which was launched in 2003 - only accepts special waterproof postcards which just so happen to be available nearby on shore. The postal workers are, of course, also trained divers, and when you entrust them with a piece of mail, you can guarantee that it'll be registered and shipped. After all, Van​uatu was created by the island's postal service. Perhaps more surprising than Van​uatu's existence is the fact that it's not the only underwater post office out there. It faces competition in the form of Norway's Risor Underwater Post Office. 

If these highly remote workers get you excited about your own (somewhat smaller-scale) possibilities, check out Fonality

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