remote work

Pros and Cons of Remote Work

To work remotely or not to work remotely, that is the question. We're breaking down some of the biggest pros and cons of remote work.

Anja Simic
Written by Anja Simic
September 17, 2021
Need help onboarding international talent?
Try Deel

Even before the whole world was struck with the pandemic, the stats suggested that the global workforce had already started shifting toward more flexible work concepts. Employers benefitted from a richer talent pool to choose from, while people enjoyed the new-found freedom and flexibility.

If you’re considering becoming a part of the remote work revolution, there are many things to consider before making a final decision and acting on it.

The perks of remote working include:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Work attire of your choice
  • Productivity increase
  • Better work-life balance
  • Saving time and money on commuting
  • Taking care of your health is easier
  • Ability to take in side projects
  • Designing the workspace to your liking
  • Working from any place you want
  • Endless possibilities

On the other hand, remote work has some downsides as well:

  • It is harder to stay disciplined
  • Adjusting to different time zones
  • It’s easy to burnout without noticing
  • Lack of physical presence may get you overlooked
  • You might feel lonely
  • Blurred lines between personal life and working hours
  • It’s harder to collaborate
  • Company building and offices may have better equipment
  • Cybersecurity issues arise without a secure internet connection
  • Communication tools may fail you

In this article, we’ll elaborate on what each of these mean. By the end of the reading, you’ll perfectly understand what the implications of remote work might be: the good, the bad, and the ugly (if your hair washing schedule stays just as flexible) — all of it, and then some.

Pros of remote work

Why you’ll love remote work

During the pandemic, plenty of people had the opportunity to realize that they prefer remote work over having strict working hours and a place to be from 9 til 5.

Working on your own terms sounds like a dream of any person out there.  Here are all of the factors that contribute to the positive reputation remote work has.

#1 Flexible work hours

Many of us wish to have a more flexible workday schedule to run errands during the day, or be able to take advantage of nice weather and leave the job for evenings.

For all of you who have similar needs and wishes, remote jobs can make them come true! Remote working lets you customize your schedule however you deem fit.

The only thing that’s fixed are online meetings and video calls, and the rest is up to you — also, taking days off is a lot more simple.

#2 Every day is a casual Friday!

No uniform, no suit, no heels, and no barbers (unless you want to); just you, your workload, and your favorite pajamas! However, that makes it hard to resist the inviting day-time naps and your work may suffer for it.

To avoid this, freelancers and remote employees advise to get a set or two of fancy, business tracksuits, so you look and feel sharp while working comfortably. Business slippers not required.

#3 You’ll increase your productivity

Watercooler chat, coffee, and lunch breaks, coworkers getting noisy once they finish their tasks (and you fuming because you’re not nearly done) — wasting time gets easy when the tasks before you look dull.

When you work from home, there are no typical workplace distractions that eat away the productive hours. Even in case you cannot finish everything during the hours you set for work, it’s no big deal — you can pick the hours as long as you meet the deadlines.

#4 Better work-life balance

When you think about it, most people are work-obsessed nowadays. We work more than we spend time with friends or family, but when you work from home, that "work-life balance" unicorn doesn't seem so unachievable.

Remote workers can adjust to their friends’ work schedule, and find some time during the week to maintain a fulfilling social life. When it comes to family, it’s just as manageable to spend some quality time with them or help them out when you’re needed.

#5 Saving time and money on commuting

This is how people who work from home get to work:

  • Get up
  • Turn on the computer
  • Brew some coffee/ make breakfast while everything loads
  • Bring it to the table and have a seat

Doesn't this sound so different than a typical morning of an office worker? If you’re not lucky enough to live close to your office building, you’ll spend most of the time commuting, and those hours quickly add up. By skipping your travel time, you save plenty of time for sleep or something more useful.

#6 Taking care of your health gets easier

While we’re mentioning food — if you don’t have a good canteen at work, the chances are you’re ordering takeaway a bit too much. Sometimes you just don’t want to drag Tupperwares filled with home-cooked meals to work.

At home, you can fix something tasty and healthy up in no time, and save the rest for later.

In addition to keeping healthier eating habits, it’s far easier to take a break and stretch, do your yoga routine, go for a brief jog, or even complete a killer HIIT workout. A quick shower, and you’re back at work!

#7 Increasing income by taking in side projects

The office environment doesn’t let you take part in professional tasks outside your job — some companies even build contracts that forbid that to prevent conflict of interest. Even if they don’t, it would be considered inappropriate to do work for others on other company premises.

As we already mentioned, office work and commuting to the office doesn’t leave you with much time and energy for other projects.

This is another thing different about remote work: it allows you to take part-time jobs or work on your side hustle parallelly. With no one to peek over your shoulder or control the way you earn a living, you can have multiple sources of income. It’s wise not to have all the eggs in one basket!

#8 Design the office space just the way you want

This one might hit close to home for creatives who wish their workspace isn’t so sterile and unimaginative. Sometimes, the work environment doesn’t allow for much space or imagination — but if you can pick where you’re working from, this won’t be a problem for you.

Play your favorite music as loud as the law (and neighborhood) lets you; decorate the walls, and bring in everything that inspires you to your home office. Turn it into an oasis just for you, and work will seem much more fun.

#9 ...or work from any place you wish!

The local library, your favorite coffee shop, coworking space, beach, mountain, another city, across the ocean?

You name it, and it can be your office! If a laptop and Wi-Fi is the only thing you need to work, any place with an internet connection and a flat surface to set up does the trick.

#10 Endless possibilities

Have you ever dreamed of being in charge of project management in a company in New York while living in your hometown? Or living and working from a beach in Greece while employed in Belgium? Remote work allows you to explore your options and choose an employer who really suits you rather than feeling limited by your location.

And what's best about it is that Deel now enables companies and workers to do just that - find their perfect match anywhere around the world.

Cons of remote work

Getting starry-eyed from all the possibilities listed above?

Not so fast.

Some people love it, but for others, remote working isn’t all that it’s made to be — below are some reasons why.

#1 Lack of self-discipline will hit you hard

When you’re being your own boss for the first time, staying focused and sticking to the promises you gave to yourself might be the hardest thing you’ll need to do. It’s too easy to give in to distractions. And, there are so many: Netflix, literature, social networks… even household chores look like the most interesting in the world.

Here’s a couple of tips to make things easier:

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day — train your brain and your body to work to your advantage, and get enough sleep.
  • Remove distractions: put your phone away, block out the sites that you don’t need, and set boundaries people you live with will respect.
  • Create your own schedule, but be realistic about your possibilities. Freelancers often fall into a trap of accepting every project that comes their way and end up overworked or disappointing their clients.

We have the whole guide on staying productive when working from home — it might help you become your most productive self!

#2 You may need to adjust to various time zones

If your employer is on another continent or country, your time zones may not coincide. They might need to schedule a meeting during their day, which means you need to get up in the middle of the night.

There are also positions (such as customer support, sales rep) that demand you to adjust to a completely different time zone.

#3 Getting paid turns into a cumbersome process

Office workers are lucky to have HR departments taking care of the paperwork, compliance, salaries, and taxes. When you’re a freelancer, sole proprietor, or remote worker, you need to be your own HR manager.

Luckily, there are tools that automate these tasks — such as Deel.

Deel is a transparent payroll service that automatically generates compliant contracts for remote team members in more than 150 countries. It supports loads of currencies all over the world, bringing the conversion and fee costs to a minimum. Deel also cuts back on paperwork: it saves the account info and creates complete digital invoices each time.

And if you don't find a way to automate, optimize, or delegate tasks related to your work-from-home job, it's likely that you'll end up burnt out.

And who said telecommuting is less tiring than going to a traditional office? Believe it or not, Zoom fatigue is a thing - you can indeed feel exhausted after a marathon of online meetings.

#4 It’s easier to be overlooked

In some ways, the remote team is invisible.

They might complete their tasks just as well as their coworkers who work on-premises, full-time, but they don’t feel like a real part of the team.

Sometimes, it’s more serious than getting invited to a virtual team building or weekly pub quiz (those are canceled due to coronavirus, anyway).

Employers in the U.S. workforce tend to treat remote workers as expendables, and it’s more difficult for them to communicate their desire for growth. Face-to-face communication allows every business owner and recruiter to get to know the (potential) workers better, and estimate if they’re a good fit for the company. It’s difficult to show your true colors over emails or lagging video conferencing.

#5 It gets lonely fast

Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself missing the colleague with the annoying habit to click his pen all the time, or all the lovable dorks from the first floor.

Authentic social interaction is irreplaceable, even though we have so many messaging apps, social media, and other interesting communication options. The situation is even more challenging for people who had positive experiences with their collective. When you work from home, you’ll most probably wish to isolate yourself from the rest of the household and background noise, and that can quickly turn into a day where you barely say a word to someone.

The situation gets more serious for people who live alone. The pandemic caused a lot of fear and insecurities; with isolation added, many people have a hard time coping.

#6 Blurring the lines between work and personal life and time

This one goes especially for people who have a hard time staying motivated and completing the tasks on time. Stalling and procrastinating can turn a 5-day workweek into one long, hard day of ineffective, mediocre work. This is not what “flexible working hours” were supposed to mean!

Of course, you’d be able to get the job done twice as fast if only you’ve focused.

#7 Workplace collaboration won’t be the same

Slack is good, but it can’t replace having your team members at the same table.

Some concepts and ideas are best presented in person; to understand them, your distributed team might need more than a video call.

#8 Your company premises might have better tools

You pay for all of it: hardware, software, tools, and equipment. There’s no company budget available in case something happens to your laptop or camera. Some tax deductions are available, but you’re mostly paying for it from your own pocket.

And in case something doesn’t work properly — you’ve guessed it, you’re the one that needs to take care of it, not the company techies.

#9 Cybersecurity issues

If you like to change up your workplace from time to time and wander around, connecting to public networks might put sensitive data at risk. This is another reason to stay home and use your reliable home network!

#10 Communication tools may fail you

...and we don't mean bad internet connection. We mean the human aspect of workplace communication: when you speak to someone face-to-face, you're able to see their gestures, mimics, and more. It's easier to sense the overall atmosphere or hear someone's tone in a meeting and get your message across the way you wanted to.

But when we're communicating via video calls or messaging apps, it's easy to get lost in translation. Sometimes, you just need to read between the lines to understand the person you're talking to, which can cause misunderstandings.

Remote work vs. office — is it tied?

Well — looks like it is!

Everything depends on your character and personal preferences. The important thing is that you know yourself well enough and to educate yourself on your obligations if you’re more inclined to remote working.

No matter what you choose, we can make it so getting paid won’t be an issue. Take a look at our worldwide payments system and see for yourself!

Ensure compliance with our localized contracts

Generate contracts in seconds. We’ll ensure that you're compliant with local labor laws, no matter where you live.

Learn more

Deel makes growing remote and international teams effortless. Ready to get started?






Legal experts