“Working From Home”
Depending on whether you just read the above in the style of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers, you may or may not have a serious opinion of what we call working remote. I have been skeptical in the past myself, but having been recently approached about becoming a Finance Writer for a major online publication (remotely), I thought it was worth taking a look at. I had never really sat down and thought about what the full potential of a remote position might entail. Well today I am, and I’m sharing my thoughts with you.
1. Lower Overhead
There could actually be quite a few costs associated with your job. Think about gas and tolls you won’t have to pay anymore. The wear and tear on your car, and the increase in its value with lower mileage. The clothes you might be buying that you only really wear at work. There are a lot of costs associated with working onsite, and all these things can add up to hundreds if not thousands every year.
2. Make your own Schedule
Often remote positions have more flexible schedules. Just how flexible depends on the sort of work you do and the level of collaboration needed. Some companies let you begin your day a couple hours early or late and adjust your schedule accordingly, while others allow you to work anytime. Looking at you… Night Owls.
3. Live almost anywhere
This could be one of the most exciting benefits of working remotely. Having a job that never requires you to be in an office means you get to pick exactly where you want to live. For example, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to live somewhere expensive like San Francisco when working remotely. You could have a much higher standard of living in a less expensive city, or in the suburbs. If you’re feeling really adventurous you could leave the country altogether. Can you imagine your salary going ten times farther in an exotic location like Ecuador or Belize?
4. Be more Productive
Not having to get up an hour early to get ready for work, and not having to drive half an hour to get to work will do wonders for your productivity. Imagine getting an extra hour of sleep and starting your day on your terms… refreshed. Working remotely usually means less distractions, and when your tasks requires large chunks of quite time, like a writer or programmer might need, an environment with less distraction can make all the difference.
5. Become Healthier
Almost everyone I have talked to that works remotely has reported that they feel less stressed and have a better work/life balance. If you think about what work has become for some people, you can see why that is. Let’s imagine a typical corporate job in L.A. You’re getting up at 6am, so you can leave your house at 7am, so you can be at your desk by 8am, so you can work until 5pm, so you can get home by 6pm, so you can check your emails at 7pm, so you can follow up at 8pm, so you can die at 50. Well that sounds lovely…. Instead imagine getting up, eating a nice breakfast, pouring yourself some coffee, and walking into your home office. It could be a pretty drastic life change.
It’s not a Replacement for Daycare. If you think you can watch your two-year-old all day and work at the same time,,, well,,, you probably haven’t had kids yet. The truth is that working from home with kids can be the worst possible environment for working remotely. On days when I work remotely and kids are in the house, I literally have to barricade myself in my office and wear headphones the whole day. (Someone else is watching the kids of course… Geez, what kind of dad do you think I am?)
Communication is Going to be More difficult. You may have experienced this with your current job; maybe somebody you needed to collaborate with worked in another building and you found it more difficult to complete your project because you couldn’t just walk over to their desk and discuss. Well in remote work it’s always like that. Yes we have instant messenger and Skype today, but it’s not the water-cooler. Which brings me to my next point.
Camaraderie will Probably be Lacking. That sense of team and friendship may be more difficult to find in a remote environment. If you’re an extroverted person who gets their energy from communicating directly with friends and co-workers you may find remote work lonely.
It Favors Individual Contributors. Remote workers tend to be creators or organizers, but not active managers of others. I’m sure their are exceptions, but most of the remote work I see advertised are for things like, writers, programmers, data-entry, virtual-assistants, professors, etc. You don’t see remote work for Finance Managers, or General Managers because it just isn’t practical. If your goal is to move into a position like that, remote work may not be a good idea.
You Might be Stereotyped. There are people who think “Working from Home” is a joke still. This means you might feel more likely to get let go than your in-office co-workers. You may even feel like you have to work excessive hours just to prove to others you aren’t slouching.
I don’t know if remote work is right for you; but I do know that it has become a serious option worth looking into. Let me know your experiences.
Featured Photo by Anete Lūsiņa
C.J. is the blogger behind the Vow of Practicality. “Let’s grow your wealth, increase your productivity, and maximize your happiness.”