Let’s face it—in many countries, remote work is not precisely a novelty anymore. In the United States alone, 43% of employees are telecommuting at least some of the time.
Professionals are options to work remotely for many different reasons.
For example, people who work from home some or all the time report higher levels of job and life satisfaction.
However, the advantages do not mean it’s the right type of work for everyone.
If you’re still working in an office, chances are you’ve wondered if remote work is for you. After all, it offers benefits such as schedule flexibility and eliminating commutes. These perks are ideal for working parents and people who work far away from their homes.
Are these benefits enough to keep you going after you’ve started working remotely?
Getting quality work done on time requires a different mindset and skills, and it might not be the right fit for some.
Do you think you’re ready to say goodbye to your office? Read this first to find out if remote work is the right fit for you.
1. You like working with people
Let’s face it. Being in an office gives you plenty of opportunities to interact with others, and some jobs require you to socialize with dozens of new people every day. From coworkers to clients, many jobs are an opportunity to stand out in a crowd.
Is that something you’d miss?
And while some welcome their alone time finding it to be beneficial to their well-being and productivity, for others, it may lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness.
Of course, there are ways around that.
Many freelancers and remote workers use co-working spaces or get work done from cafés. However, that’s an additional expense that many companies do not cover for you.
Others choose to attend the office a few times a week to have some interaction and catch up with their coworkers. But if your team is fully remote or if you’re working from overseas, this will not be an option for you.
It is possible to find chances to work with other people without spending too much money. For example, use Meetup and Facebook events to find co-working and networking events in your area—many of them for free.
2. You need a clear separation between work and personal life
When you work at an office, the routine of getting dressed in the morning and leaving home to go to an office and then checking out at the end of the day acts as a barrier between work and personal time.
Although sometimes office workers also take work home or end up putting on hours during breaks or holidays, it’s easier for them to separate work time at the office and relax time at home.
This separation is harder to achieve when you work from your living room or a desk in your bedroom.
Even worse—many remote workers find themselves checking their Slack messages before bed to catch up with coworkers from overseas or replying to emails on holiday to reassure a client.
If you’d rather not use a co-working space, create a dedicated office space in your home. Preferably with plenty of natural light and away from distractions like televisions, video game consoles, or your bed.
Of course, setting up a home office will require some effort. You’ll probably have to buy extra furniture and spend some time putting it together. Is this something appealing to you?
Another alternative to get you out of the house without paying for a co-working space or spending money on coffee is working from a public library. In many countries, public libraries offer free WiFi and a quiet space to focus on your work.
3. You don’t enjoy working with technology
Have you ever heard of Slack?
Are you just nostalgic about going to the cubicle next to you to deliver an actual document to a coworker?
Are you not in the know about the latest collaboration tools?
Many remote positions require at least working knowledge of several tools. Also, companies are always looking for the best solutions for their processes and may change applications or add new services that you’ll have to learn to use very quickly.
If you’re not confident with technology or don’t enjoy learning about the latest collaboration tools, you won’t have the best time working remotely.
4. You need external conditions to keep you accountable
You see photos of the fantastic HQ Christmas dinner on their Slack channel while you sit at home, alone, in your pajamas.
Would that make you feel left out?
For many remote workers, not having their team around is a challenge because social interaction helps them feel involved and committed to the goals and the company.
Sometimes, the perks of remote work and loyalty to the company might not be enough motivation to keep you going. When you feel left out or unmotivated, Slack chats won’t necessarily be enough pressure to get you working as much as having your boss in the corner office or your coworkers keeping tabs on your progress from the desks next to yours.
As always, every company has different ways to help their coworkers stay motivated—from keeping communication channels open to creating water-cooler moments online. But none of those efforts will work if it doesn’t come from you.
5. You prefer close collaboration and management rather than working independently
Often, remote work feels like it’s you and your laptop against the world.
Don’t get me wrong. Being responsible for your results gives you much creative freedom, especially when you’re away from constant supervision from bosses or nosy coworkers.
Distributed teams are a different beast to traditional, onsite teams. Usually, they’re based on independence, self-motivation, and accountability, with managers preferring to give their team members more freedom to operate as long as they meet results. That’s what gives remote positions the flexibility they offer.
But this is not the best approach for everyone. Closer management makes some people more focused and efficient, as it provides accountability.
Would you be happy and productive operating mainly on your own, with only a chat room as a way to collaborate with your team or getting in touch with a team leader that might not supervise your work closely?
If the answer is ‘no,’ you might struggle getting things done or having a sense of direction at work. If this is a concern for you while applying to remote jobs, research the company beforehand. Look it up on Glassdoor and LinkedIn—or better yet, get it touch with someone working there—to get a better idea of their company culture and management style.
Some of the questions you need to ask yourself while researching the company are:
- What are the complains employees or former employees have about this company?
- What values does the company highlight in its About page?
- Do those values match your own?
- Do they share stories about their teams on LinkedIn?
- If you are reading a job description, is it detailed and well-written?
- How does the company describe itself and its team in the job post?
- What values does the company highlight in its About page?
6. You hate sitting still for too long
“I’d never be able to do your job,” someone at my previous job used to tell me. “Sitting around all day in front of a computer? Not for me! I need to move around.”
As you can imagine, remote work means spending most of your business hours sitting in front of a computer.
For many people, that’s perfectly fine. As time goes by, independent workers learn to establish boundaries and give themselves plenty of rest and time for physical activity.
However, if you’re used to having jobs that involve more physical activity, working with your hands to create physical products, or moving to different places, then you might have a hard time adjusting to remote work.
Luckily, you can do something about it. One thing you can do is keeping healthy boundaries between work and personal time. Make sure you spend time being creative, interacting with people, and burning all that extra energy.
While I believe that the vast majority of people can adjust to a remote work successfully, it may take more time and effort for you if you’re used to working differently. If you’re thinking about transitioning to a remote position, keep the aspects above in mind to help you plan your next career move.
Do you have more tips or suggestions for people thinking about transitioning to a remote position? Do share them in the comments below!