Remote work allows employees to work from … well, anywhere. Under this business model, you are not required to work out of an office or another central location; you can choose where to set up. You may be allowed to work remotely full time, or your employer may take a hybrid approach in which you work away from the office for a prescribed number of days every week or month.
Remote work has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss them in that order, from an employee’s perspective.
Save Time and Money
What would you do if you got back the time it takes you to commute every day? Would you use it to get more work done? Would you spend that time with your loved ones, or take your dog for a walk, or finally find an hour to hit the gym?
In addition to time savings, think of what you could save in fuel costs and car maintenance by eliminating your daily commute. Also, consider the amount of money you could save by making your coffee and having a sandwich in your own kitchen instead of hitting Starbucks or the deli down the street from the office several times a week. You might be surprised how all the little costs savings add up.
This fact might surprise you, but in a recent poll, 62% of employees said that working remotely positively affected their engagement, and 77% claimed to be more productive while working from home. One explanation for these interesting statistics is that community work environments tend to be very social places, where people spend a great deal of time at the proverbial water cooler or in each other’s offices, talking about non-work-related topics. While this is a great atmosphere for building trust and camaraderie, it’s not so conducive to focus and productivity. Work-related distractions tend to be more disruptive than those you encounter at home.
Can be Isolating
Remember the camaraderie and trust we were just discussing? Well, when properly balanced, it turns out that some of that time you spend at work cultivating friendships is beneficial for you and your organization. The office can give people a built-in sense of community and belonging, which are the optimal for building trust that breeds teamwork and collaboration. To combat this, using virtual collaboration and training software that focuses on high levels of engagement and activities can definitely assist in building a strong team and a sense of belonging.
If you are the kind of person who needs to be surrounded by other people, remote work may not be your best option.
Requires a Particular Personality
Remote work is not for everyone. Do an honest self-evaluation before you decide to take a remote position. In the words of William Shakespeare: “This above all, to thine own self be true” (Hamlet). To be successful with remote work, you need to be:
- A self-starter
- Comfortable being alone
- Disciplined enough to keep regular hours
- A good time-manager
If you have these characteristics, remote work should suit you well. Remember, even if you have no prior experience working remotely, a good company will provide you with virtual learning and socialization opportunities that will ensure your engagement and success.