Is Remote Work Right for You?
Hmm. Working in your PJs. Getting out of bed when you feel like it. ESPN or HGTV as your background music. Or maybe you’re looking to do during the day: taking a mid-morning run, putting your kids on the bus or getting dinner started.
Not so fast!
It might not be such a simple decision – for employees and for managers.
If you’re a social person who loves coffee breaks and team lunches around the corner, you may want to stay with your teammates in the office. Working from home requires some degree of isolation to focus, and day-to-day happiness is largely correlated to how many interactions you have.
The practice of telecommuting has also been adopted at a slower rate by larger companies – and the percentage of people who work partially or entirely from home has stagnated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey says 23 percent of American workers did some of all of their work at home in 2017, compared to 22 percent in 2016 and 24 percent in 2015.
Before you consider a remote work opportunity, there’s a lot of pros and cons to debate. Here are a few of the factors you’ll want to consider.
Time Zone Difference
Let’s say you live in New York and you sign on with an up-and-coming tech company based out of Tokyo, Japan.
Sounds awesome, right?
Consider that Tokyo time is 13 hours ahead of New York time. That means an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift (Tokyo time) is a 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. graveyard shift for you! Plus, you’re automatically a half-day behind to meet their deadlines.
Even if the employer is willing to let you work on your local time, when you have questions or are required to attend meetings – grab an espresso and take your time, because you’ll be calling in at a time that’s convenient for the office, not for you.
If you’re already a night owl or you’re comfortable working outside conventional office hours, this won’t be a problem. But if you’re looking for a very specific schedule, you’ll want to carefully consider from where you accept remote work.
Are you a self-starter? You better be, if you want to take on a remote gig. You’ll have to plan your day for maximum productivity. Create a plan to stay in touch with your supervisor and co-workers if they don’t already have a system in place.
For one thing, you won’t have the benefit of dropping by someone’s desk or office with questions. For another, if you don’t stay in constant contact with management, they won’t see your accomplishments and you’re going to be behind everyone else from the office in line for recognition.
You’ll also need to be able to focus on your work without a supervisor hovering to keep you on task. If your mind easily wanders to what’s outside your window or to the latest viral video – it might be hard to stay focused with remote assignments.
Your Co-workers Have Four Paws
If you’re a social person, you may pick up a few animal roommates along the way. If you find yourself scheduling meetings with your dog or cat, you may decide remote work isn’t for you.
Weigh Everything Before Making a Decision
Sure, you’ll have peace and quiet to get work done. But you won’t have the camaraderie that comes along with an office environment, and that can be lonely. You may feel isolated and disconnected. It really all comes down to your work style and whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.
No decision is ever final, but you don’t want to jump onboard with remote work only to find yourself miserable. So carefully review the benefits and drawbacks when deciding if remote employment is the way you want to go.