Even before the whole world got struck with the pandemic, the stats suggested that the global workforce started shifting toward remote work. Employers have a much richer talent pool to choose from, while people enjoy 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.
Pros 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
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
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.
Why you’ll love remote work
During the pandemic, plenty of people had the opportunity to realize that they prefer remote work to having strict working hours and a place to be from 9 till 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 working hours
Some people (including yours truly) never get over getting up early in the morning. Some are night owls and spend the most productive hours while others are sleeping. Others wish to split the workday and go for a run. Many of us wish to have a more flexible schedule to run errands during the day, or 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, getting a bit too comfy in your home attire gets you far too close to bed or couch, and the next thing you know — day-time naps have taken over your working hours.
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 are 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.
But, at the end of the workday, everybody clocks out and goes home, and often you cannot stay at the office and make it up for the time spent procrastinating.
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, the fact that people spend more wake and productive time with coworkers than with their families is kind of terrifying.
Friends only take third place, provided that you’re not too tired for them. There was a good viral comic that described how, as they age, working people need to sync their calendars to pinpoint an hour for a drink and chat.
For people who create their own timetables, these issues are easy to fix!
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
This takes 15 minutes at most — that’s enough even for people who like their first meal of the day to be fancy and properly cooked.
Now, let’s see what it looks like for the office workers:
- Get up
- Get dressed
- Pack bags/ backpacks, making sure they have everything they need
- Commuting to work
- Greeting everyone upon arrival, chatting, getting ready to start
-and that’s the condensed version, without taking kids to school or anything else!
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 these steps, you save plenty of time for sleep or something more useful.
At the same time, working from home saves you the money you’d spend on public transport, gas, food, appropriate business attire, etc.
#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!
Sitting in front of the computer all day, stiff and hunched over your work, will leave you with a bad back, bad posture, painful joints, and contribute to (unhealthy) weight gain. This is a problem many people tied to their workplace face, and it’s difficult to keep up if you spend eight hours at work and at least one additional hour commuting.
#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.
The reasons why remote work might not be the right thing for you
Got 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 — and below are the 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.
While you’re working from home, it’s easy to cave in and give in to distractions. And, there’s so much of them for you to choose from: Netflix, literature, social networks… even household chores look like the most interesting in the world all of a sudden.
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.
- Set the bare minimum and stick to it as your life depends on it! For example, if you’re a writer, let it be at least 700 words per day or 4 hours of uninterrupted, quality work — no matter what happens around you.
- 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.
- Think of the consequences of your work (or lack of it), good and bad, and imagine the wonderful things that will happen if you stay consistent.
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
For the most time, you’ll be able to do your work during the day. But, your employers might need to schedule a meeting that means you need to get up in the middle of the night.
This is quite easy to manage — provided that it doesn’t happen each day. There are also positions (such as customer support, sales rep) that demand you to adjust to a completely different time zone.
Unfortunately, there are no hacks and tricks for this one. You need to decide whether that job is worth working against your circadian biological clock, or you’ll pass and find something else.
#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.
#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 more so 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. Weeks melt into months and before you know it — you’ve missed so much because you were working 14 hours a day. 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.
Do yourself a favor — get back to #1 again and take it seriously.
#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.
Sometimes, you can’t do much with free versions and trials, and you need to pay for the real thing. Hopefully, it won’t be a waste of money and will suit your needs. In case it 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!
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.
From our side, we can assure you that getting paid won’t be an issue. Take a look at our worldwide payments system and see for yourself!