Remote working has opened up a wide range of opportunities for workers in many industries.
The option to work from home, or from anywhere in the world, has offered companies a wider range of potential employees and has offered workers a greater sense of freedom and work-life balance.
However, knowing if remote working is right for you requires you to understand the many pros and cons to this style of work.
There are many advantages to remote working, but there are also plenty of challenges that many workers do not realize until it is too late.
If you are considering taking your current job fully remote or if you are looking for remote work opportunities, then be sure to review the reality of this type of employment so you know what you are getting into before you begin.
Carefully consider the challenges you will face and be prepared to overcome them in order to be a successful remote worker.
What does remote working mean?
Remote working can vary greatly, with some remote workers being full-time employees of a company while others are self-employed and can choose when and how much they work.
Working remotely simply means that you do not need to be in an office or other traditional workplace in order to get work done.
Remote work, also called virtual work, is done online, so you do require an understanding of digital technology in order to work remotely.
There are a wide variety of jobs that could be done remotely, from writing and editing to sales and marketing to many more industries and roles within them.
The variety continues to expand as technology continues to evolve, so your options are plentiful.
Remote working can be done from your own home, which might even be in the same city as the company or employer you work for remotely. But remote work could also be done from anywhere in the world.
Depending on the needs of the job, a remote worker could be living by the beach in Thailand for a company based in Chicago, but location does not matter as long as the worker and employer can connect via technology.
Not all remote work is the same, however, since some employers will require a worker to be online during specific hours.
This means that time zones matter and being on the other side of the world on a beach might not be practical or possible.
But other remote work is based on deliverables, rather than time. These include projects like writing or graphic design work, which does not require a worker to be online during specific hours of the day.
Flexibility of Remote Working
The flexibility of remote working can allow for a worker to choose the schedule, location and type of work to take on at any given time.
If a remote worker is employed by a company on a full-time basis, then the flexibility might be a bit more limited to set hours.
If you have the flexibility to set your own schedule, then you must be careful to find the right balance between work and personal time.
Without having to be in an office at certain times, it can be easy to lose track of time and to not be as productive as you should be.
The advantages of remote work allow you to choose where and when to get work done, but you must get the work done.
Setting a schedule for your work and staying organized can save you from having to rush to finish work at the last minute or from not doing your best work.
The benefit of working remotely is that your schedule does not have to be a traditional 9-5 schedule. Instead, you could choose to work in the afternoon and evening, or even late into the night if that is when you are most productive.
Just be sure to set working hours for yourself to maximize that productivity and avoid wasting time.
The freedom of remote work is one of the most appealing aspects of this style of employment. However, that freedom requires a worker to be much more responsible and proactive in order to be successful.
If you consider work merely a means to an end where you try to do as little as possible and still get paid, then remote working is likely not for you. Consider the requirements before jumping into this type of work.
Utilizing Technology for Remote Work
Being very familiar with technology is the only way you can be a successful remote worker. From utilizing basic technology to accomplish your tasks to adjusting to various client-based management systems and communication platforms, you will have to adjust to various technologies based on your industry and role.
Additionally, if you choose to work while traveling then you must be able to adjust to various time zones, international phone calls and ensuring that you always have reliable WiFi to complete your work.
These variations require you to research best options and to employ those tactics, so being comfortable with technology is vital.
The downside to this type of remote setup is your limited interaction with clients and coworkers. Working remotely generally means working alone, which can be difficult for more social workers.
Finding ways to balance this, perhaps by working at a cafe or a coworking office, can help minimize the isolation that some remote workers feel.
Additionally, scheduling video chats or calls with clients or coworkers, rather than communicating solely by email or chat, can help to connect you with others and to break up the isolation of working remotely.
Legal and Financial Concerns
If you work remotely and are self-employed, then be sure to review your legal and financial obligations.
While self-employed workers or freelancers have different tax obligations, if you work remotely while traveling or living abroad then those tax obligations can vary greatly.
You also need to know the legal implications of working in other countries or long-term travel, if you are working while traveling.
Even if you work from home full-time remotely, then you need to look into legal matters such as contracts and establishing yourself as a business.
You also need to understand the lack of benefits you will have, including health insurance and paid time off. These types of concerns cannot be overlooked, so be sure to review your options and your requirements.