Some people see working from home as a dream come true, imagining days spent working in pajamas and only tackling tasks when they feel like it.
The reality of working remotely is a bit different, of course. While you do have more control over your schedule, you still have deadlines and responsibilities along with a wide range of distractions that you never run into while at the office.
This isn’t to say that working remotely can’t be a rewarding experience, however. It’s not for everyone, but for those who do thrive in a remote work environment, it can result in increased productivity and an overall greater amount of job satisfaction.
If you’ve considered trying to work from home, it’s important that you take a few moments to think how you view working remotely and make sure that the image in your head matches up with the reality.
Working from Home… or Elsewhere
When most people hear the phrase “working remotely,” they immediately picture working from home.
While many remote workers do in fact work from home, this isn’t the only option that’s available. Some choose to work in coffee shops, libraries or other public locations, while others choose work-oriented co-working spaces. Some remote workers may even work while traveling, setting up shop in a hotel room or business room each night after taking in a day’s worth of travel and activities.
Work and Responsibility
Regardless of where the work gets done, it still has to get done. Remote workers still have the same workloads and responsibilities as in-office employees, they’re just doing the work in a different physical location. Remote work isn’t necessarily easier or harder than work done in the office, it just has a different flow. Even if you do your work in your PJs, you’re still expected to put in a full day’s work and finish everything that’s required of you.
Meetings and Office Time
Sometimes, remote workers have to attend meetings via teleconferencing, conference call or video conferencing session.
These capabilities are usually considered important for companies that use remote workers as they allow remote employees to interact directly with members of the home office team. This is especially important when the remote workers are located in different geographic regions and can’t physically be present in the same space. For those who work remotely in the same city as the home office, occasional office time or physical meetings may also be required.
Setting Your Schedule
One big advantage of working remotely is the control that it gives you over your own schedule.
In many cases, you can set your schedule and work it around other things that you have going on in your life. This is great if you’re active in your community or have other responsibilities beyond just your job. There may be limits to this, however; if you’re expected to attend meetings (either in person or virtually), meet deadlines within a certain time period or be on call between certain hours then your scheduled work time has to include being on the clock at the appropriate times.
Dealing with Distractions
A major drawback of working remotely is that you’re likely to encounter distractions that you don’t have to deal with at the office.
This is especially true if you work from home, since your home is filled with people you don’t work with and all of the stuff that you occupy yourself with when you’re not at work. Some people find that the distractions are too much, heading back to the office instead of working remotely. Establishing a way to counter the distractions is essential if you’re going to work from home or other remote locations with regularity.
Is It Worth It?
Not everyone is cut out for working remotely. Some people love it, while others find themselves frustrated with a lack of structure or readily available distractions.
Whether it’s worth it to work remotely depends on your personality, the specific job that you do and how much you enjoy the freedom of remote work. If you’ve never worked away from the office before, it might be worth trying; just check beforehand and make sure that you can return to the office without any problems if you find that working remotely just isn’t for you.