Remote work is becoming more common and quite a few employers are offering these arrangements to their workers. If you are seeking employment, you might be interested to learn if working remotely is right for you.
To begin, working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean a person works from home. Other settings where work is completed could range from a local coworking space, at a coffee shop or library in any city or country, not necessarily near the main office. It also doesn’t always mean you work remotely all day, every day. For example, it might make more sense if you are physically present at the office one or two days per week.
Sounds ideal, right? It can be, but remote work is not suited for everyone. It takes discipline, especially working from home. Some individuals need the ‘buzz’ of a busy office.
There are many benefits of remote work, including a flexible lifestyle, increased productivity, less commuting, better mental health as you are typically less stressed and reduced sickness. On the other side of the coin, there are drawbacks which range from loneliness, you may not have quick and easy access to technical support or other colleagues if an issue arises and not being recognized by upper management as you could be ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
Let’s take a look into the considerations you would need to make about remote work.
- If you will be working from home, do you have a dedicated space that is conducive to being productive, with minimal distractions? If you do, does it have a high quality, ergonomic desk and chair? This investment in high quality office furniture is one that should not be overlooked as it will set you up for success and preserve your health.
- Instead of working from home on a regular basis, conduct research to see if there is a coworking space in your city. It might be a better set up for you and be a half way point between a traditional office environment and working from home. It could act as a hub for productivity, technology, networking and community.
- It is important to have a fixed work schedule (depending on the industry and nature of the job), just like you would if you were going into an office. It doesn’t need to be the standard office hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm though. Many remote workers do a chunk of their work either early in the morning or in the evening, so they can have an appointment during the day, or help their kids when they get home from school. In addition to laying down standards for availability, remote workers should discuss expectations about communication.
- Is the employer available to have regular check-ins with you? It is important to stay connected, so you can provide project updates and learn what is going on in the company that impacts you.
- Virtual meetings are typically scheduled in advance, but there are situations when an unexpected interaction is needed. Do you have enough appropriate work attire, so you can vary your outfits and be prepared for any sudden virtual meetings?
If you determine a remote work scenario is right for you, the next step is to have a conversation with your prospective employer(s) to decide on an arrangement that is mutually beneficial.