Nowadays, the number of people working remotely is increasing in many countries, and it doesn’t look like it’s about to slow down anytime soon. Although working remotely appears advantageous to some, it may seem like a daunting prospect to others. Why is this the case? Of course like anything, working remotely has its pros and cons.
What Is Remote Work?
Working remotely involves performing regular work outside of the workplace. This is usually on a personal laptop or computer which is connected to the internet. Usually nowadays when working remotely, a person will still be connected to the organization’s intercom system, meaning they are just as in touch as they would be in the office. The introduction of software such as Skype easily allows employees to chat face-to-face whenever needed. Tools like CallHippo allow users to even take part in meetings remotely.
Remote working is not limited by location, the only thing required is a good strong internet connection, to allow for work to be completed at a normal pace. This means a person can work freely from home, or perhaps in a co-working space, library or partner’s office.
Let’s begin with the advantages.
One of the main pros of working remotely is the extra flexibility it provides. This means you can perhaps take your children to school and look after them better without having to rely on childcare, which for some parents is pretty expensive. For some people, they work a lot more efficiently when in charge of their own schedule, and this can help them to be more productive.
- Saves Money
When you work from home, this removes the need to commute, which can often take up quite a chunk of your monthly wage anyway. When it comes to eating lunch, you can also save by making it and eating at home rather than always having to buy something out, which when hunger strikes, can force you to make costlier decisions! Another area where you will save money is with childcare, if you are able to handle working with your kids at home, then this could also save you a lot.
- Go at Your Own Pace
Many people who work remote can choose exactly when and how they work on projects, so long as they get them completed in time for the target deadline. Working remotely you are also free to take breaks when you require them and follow through on work without being disturbed by a coworker. Self-discipline is crucial when working remote, and if you are able to keep up, you can be a lot more effective than at the office.
- Technology Makes It Possible
Usually, when you work in an office, you need to communicate in real-time and make sure projects are handed in with no delays. Nowadays, however, we have many different ways to carry out the same processes online, which can be done in the same amount of time, if not faster. Software like Google drive allows employees to collaborate on work in real-time and intercom systems such as Slack make exchanging messages super easy.
This means you can literally carry out the same work at home as you would in the office, making remote work possible no matter what your location is.
- Reduced Absences
Sometimes when we fall ill with a cold or sore throat, we wake up and decide to give the commute a miss and call in sick out of fear of it making us worse. Being at home, however, you will have more time to look after yourself to get better, minimizing contact with others and actually get on with some work at the same time. This allows you to get better quicker, and studies show that remote workers have fewer absences than on-site employees.
With so many good points there must also be some bad ones, and we will try to cover them all below.
- Less Routine
When at work on-site, there is much more sense of a routine. You have to wake up at a certain time, check-in at a certain time and make sure you are finished by a certain hour. When working at home, however, the routine might be totally in your hands. Again this depends on the type of remote work as some employers may still require constant check-ins, regular Skype meetings, and deadlines.
If you are completely freelance, however, you will be in charge of your individual schedule. For some, it may be hard to keep motivated, and for others, it might be difficult to work effectively without a backbone of routine to fall back on.
- Lack of Workplace Social Life
One of the main issues that working remote brings is the lack of integration with other colleagues. Of course, you may be keeping up and interacting virtually, but it simply isn’t the same as being there in person is it? Being remote you will miss out on lunchtime gossips, and jokes shared between co-workers which help you to make stronger bonds and friendships. Remote workers can end up feeling a little isolated at times, and this is why a lot of people prefer not to work remote at all.
There are those however who are less interested in the social side of work and more into the actual work itself, so for these individuals, this poses no threat, but for the major part, it is a major red flag.
- Difficult to Attain Work/Life Balance
You may think that when working remote, you will have more time to devote to your personal life. However, with no clear boundaries between work and home, you may sometimes mix them, making it difficult to switch off at times. Often when you leave the office your work stays there, whereas, at home, it is always present. This means clear boundaries should be set in order not to think about work too much and keep the balance equal.
Distractions can also become a bit of a problem when at home, and so must be controlled. If you have pets or children they may demand your attention for a while, and this can break you during the flow of working. You can also freely browse social media, watch TV or take long breaks if you wish which can sometimes take you away from your work and kill your productivity completely.
Which Remote Jobs Are Most Popular?
When it comes to working remotely, there are a wide variety of jobs out there which can be carried out with absolutely no requirement of an office. We cover a few of the most common remote job positions down below.
- Online Marketing
Whether you are working for yourself, or on behalf of an organization, online marketing can be a very easy job to do from home. Why? with access to a good quality laptop, whether it’s performing lead generation, social media marketing or email marketing, you have everything you need to carry out the job. If you need to contact your client or work colleagues, you can simply Skype them to get in touch.
- Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is another popular remote job which many people like to do. This is again an easy job to do considering you have a constant workflow and a good laptop, you can work from wherever you please. Many freelancers actually start out working remotely and then may decide to apply to a larger organization in the future
- Website Design
If you are more creative and enjoy designing, then perhaps web design is your thing. In fact, many people choose to work as freelance web designers as it is just a lot simpler to work from home when all you require is good software and laptop.
The more expertise web designers who are earning big bucks may eventually decide to rent an office space to work from, however, if you are comfortable working remotely, be it from home or from any other location, web design is a job which allows you the freedom to do so.
- Social Media Management
The 4th and final job which is popular as a remote job is social media management. Again, this is a position which mainly requires someone managing online social profiles and pages, and for this reason, it can be done remotely with no office presence required.
Social media management can be quite rewarding, and more and more organizations are outsourcing their social media managers as they can often be a much cheaper alternative than having a full-time employee in-house working on social media.
Is Working Remotely the Right Option for Me?
Working remotely can be perfectly ideal for some people, but not so much for the rest. It really does depend on your lifestyle, and what you want out of your job. If you have built a career which you’re passionate about and this happens to be remote, then you should definitely continue with this career path if it works for you. If, however, you feel you miss the social aspects of working in an organization itself, then perhaps a non-remote position will be the best fit for you.
It is important to be content with your job, and if you feel you want to change your career and working style, then the key is to do it with confidence. Perhaps you like aspects of both remote and non-remote working? Then, in this case, try to find a job position which allows a bit of both!
Although there may be some cons to remote working, it is almost considered a positive thing for most organizations worldwide and continues to be popular looking towards the future of work.