Working from home was once considered nothing more than a dream. In today’s world, though, remote working is more realistic than ever before.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 percent of employed adults did all or some of their work from home in 2015. This upward trend in remote work has continued, and nearly four million people are now estimated to work entirely from home.
Maybe you’ve considered getting in on the trend and working outside of the office. Remote work does offer many great benefits. You’ll enjoy a different work environment and the ability to stay home with loved ones.
However, remote work isn’t for everyone. Before you make the jump to a telecommuting position, ask yourself why you want to do it.
There are both good and bad reasons to choose remote work. Protect your career and your personal happiness by knowing whether working remotely is really right for you.
Wrong Reasons to Become a Remote Worker
Remote work has become increasingly popular. Maybe you’ve heard about some of the so-called perks of telecommuting and want to take advantage of them.
Not all the myths about working remotely are true.
Here are three indicators that you want to work outside of the office for the wrong reasons.
1. You think you’ll get to slack on work
There’s a popular misperception that remote workers don’t have to get up early, get dressed or work as much as their office-bound peers.
This simply isn’t true.
Remember, most telecommuters spend seven more hours working per week than they did while in offices.
Your boss will expect you to complete as much from home as you would in a regular work setting.
There simply isn’t an opportunity to slack as a remote worker. If you don’t turn in the expected amount of work, you’ll be fired.
When you work without direct supervision, your boss has no way of knowing whether you missed the deadline but were working hard or if you missed the deadline because you weren’t working at all.
2. You don’t want to follow a schedule
Depending on the type of remote work you do, you’re likely to have a more flexible schedule than you would in an office.
That can be a boon if you’re better at working very early in the morning or very late at night when most businesses are closed.
However, saying goodbye to a schedule altogether is simply not an option for remote workers.
You’ll need to be motivated and able to keep to a schedule in order to succeed in a work-from-home position.
A set schedule is essential for collaborating with coworkers and communicating with clients. It will also help you maintain a good work-life balance.
3. You want to travel the world
Working remotely certainly affords you more freedom to travel, but wanderlust alone isn’t a good reason to leave the office behind.
The idea of seeing the world while you’re working really does sound great.
However, the challenges of combining travel and work are so significant that less than 10 percent of remote workers traveled while working.
Time zone differences, lack of business amenities and poor internet access prevent many adventurous telecommuters from working while on the road.
If you want to have a great job but you want to travel too, look for a company that offers generous vacation benefits.
The Right Reasons to Become a Remote Worker
If you’ve ever dreamed of being your own boss but don’t want to start a company, remote work may be appealing.
Here are three crucial indicators that working outside of the office is a good fit for you.
1. You’re excellent at working independently
It’s true that remote work can be lonely, especially if you don’t have roommates, family members or pets at home to keep you company during breaks and lunches.
However, some workers find that they do better when they work independently. If you find the office environment distracting or can’t get through your work because people are constantly dropping by your office, working remotely might be a smart choice.
Know that self-discipline is key here. There are many distractions in the home environment too. You’ll need to be great at keeping yourself on the task in order to succeed.
Just imagine how little you’d get done if you found yourself easily distracted by the dishes, laundry or yard work.
2. You’re willing to invest the time in setup
Leaders in the technology and insurance industries have learned that the right remote work setup is crucial to employee success. If you want to work remotely, you’ll need to dedicate time to set up your home office the right way.
That might mean investing in comfortable furniture and beautiful decor that inspires you to work more and focus on the tasks at hand.
It also means making sure that you have access to essential services such as high-speed internet. Many businesses that hire remote workers have recognized the need to invest in technologies that empower telecommuters.
Some employers will help their members set up a home office. However, the majority of the responsibility will lie on your shoulders.
Mostly, companies love the fact that they can save money with a remote workforce. Remote employees often use their own technology as work equipment.
Even if you get a tech stack at your employer’s cost, you will need to maintain it, update it, and troubleshoot any problems that arise from its use.
3. You know how to handle work-life balance
Working from home can be incredibly demanding. In fact, a recent study found that remote employees tend to work seven more hours in a week than they did when working in a traditional setting.
If you’re planning on working remotely because you’d like to spend more time with your family, be sure that you understand how to strike a good work-life balance.
Doing so can be very hard for telecommuters.
One of the biggest reasons is that many remote workers find it difficult to keep a regular schedule.
Instead of quitting work at 5 p.m., they work well past dinner time to get just one more thing done.
If you already struggle with answering work emails on your personal time or staying late at the office, working from home might not be as great a choice as it seems.
To sum up
Remote positions might tempt you because they are popular, and some of your friends or colleagues are joining the telecommuting hype.
Don’t follow the crowd blindly, though. Advise the tips we outlined in this article when you craft your personal pros and cons list.
What do you want?
Think about the job you do or want to do, the results you aspire to achieve with your profession and see if a remote position in the same field will help you reach your goals.
If so, then the change is worth pursuing.