Have you discovered that you like remote working better than being at the office? And would you like to work remotely permanently–even after Covid?
If so, here are the pros, the cons and 5 questions to ask yourself before making the leap, to ensure this is the best choice for you.
Why remote work will be the next normal
COVID-19 forced companies all over the world to switch to remote work very quickly. Suddenly, remote work wasn’t just an option for some, but a necessity for all. Big tech companies and start-ups have shown that working from home is here to stay: Twitter gave its employees the option to work from home forever.
A survey by Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) suggests that at least 34.4% will remain at-home workers long after the COVID-19 crisis has receded.
The number of employees permanently working remotely around the world is expected to double in 2021.
While not all jobs are remote-ready, the scale of remote work has the potential to lead to continual change for many businesses. There are multiple reasons why this makes sense. Employees themselves can give up their lengthy commute and businesses can cut costs of rent, utilities, cleaning service and taxes.
Remote work will also allow businesses to optimise their talent pool while creating more opportunities for people who are looking for work. You’re no longer bound to work in the city where you live or have to relocate your family.
The pros and cons of working remotely after COVID-19
- Flexible schedule
- Increased productivity
- No commute
- Location independence
- Better work-life balance
- Disconnection from team
- Not being able to unplug
- Struggle to stay motivated
Is remote work right for you?
Are you self-motivated?
Working remotely means there’s no one around to motivate you to do your work. It requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation. Are you self-directed or do you need external motivators?
Working from home during the lockdown probably gave you quite a good idea, which category you belong in. Be honest with yourself. It can be extremely distracting if there are dishes to be done, laundry is piling up or–oh, you have a new message on Facebook.
The good news is that having control and ownership of what we’re doing actually motivates us to do it. If you can get more autonomy over your work and make your own decisions, you could create a very productive work-from-home environment for yourself.
Are you an excellent communicator and collaborator?
Communication is the foundation of successful remote work.
Whether you’re discussing goals and expectations, hosting a meeting, going through KIPs or brainstorming a new campaign, communication is at the forefront of everything that you’ll do.
Given the nature of remote work and to ensure asynchronous communication, you’ll have to rely on the written word a lot. Be it through chat or email. And since you can’t rely on non-verbal cues, you have to make sure that what you want to say is clear and can’t be misunderstood.
To make remote projects work, you have to be a good team player. As a newly remote worker you might have some catching up to do when it comes to collaboration. Collaboration tools can help you adapt and make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Can you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
How do you feel about your work-life balance 9 months into the pandemic? Do you find it hard to shut off work in the evenings?
When you’re working from home, it can be a struggle to create healthy boundaries and the lines between work and your personal life can become easily blurred. If you have a tendency to overwork and work long hours, try to create a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
Keep office hours and make plans with friends for after-work hours.
Do you have the possibility to set up a dedicated home office space? If you can, create a spot where you’re able to work productively during the day and then unplug from work when you’re done.
Are you comfortable working alone?
Loneliness is one of the biggest challenges for remote employees. Working from home for an extended period with minimal previous experience was a uniquely challenging set of circumstances for many during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Loneliness and isolation can have a bad influence on your well-being and mental health. The good news is that you’re not alone in how you feel and there are many things you can do to build healthy habits for a more connected remote work experience, without feeling lonely.
If you’re an introvert, remote work might be the holy grail for you. You’ll be energized by time spent alone, having plenty of time to think and ponder and recharge without social interactions.
This doesn’t mean you can’t survive as an extrovert in a work-from-home scenario. There are plenty of tools available to schedule virtual coworking sessions and make you feel connected to your colleagues.
Do you have the right tools?
Mastering remote work is also about having the right tools to stay productive and connected.
To set yourself up for success, make sure you have a consistently good data connection. Use a VPN anytime you’re using a public network, like the Wi-Fi at a coffee shop.
We at Benemen are big fans of Microsoft Teams for collaboration. Based on our experiences, it genuinely makes team communication a lot more efficient. All remote colleagues can be easily accessed, facilitating collaboration.
Not only do we use Microsoft Teams for our video meetings and presentations, it’s also a great way to share content. Anyone can make edits regardless of their location, and everything gets automatically saved in the cloud.
Noise cancelling headphones are excellent to block out distractions. And don’t forget your favourite hoodie and a good cup of coffee!
Dive deeper: Do you have the right tools to work remotely?
Are you ready to make remote work your new normal?
Working remotely is a dream for many employees. Finally working from home, no longer having to commute, making your own flexible schedule - that sounds like more freedom, self-direction and less stress.
For others, it’s not that easy and comes with disadvantages. Home office workplaces require a lot of self-discipline, focus, and clear boundaries.
Do you think remote work is right for you? We hope this post helped you make a better decision.