Remote Work – Is It Right For You?

Remote Work – Is It Right For You?

So you want to work remotely huh?

Working remotely (also known as location independence or telecommuting) has grown in popularity. Just take a look at this trend of the search “remote jobs” over the last 5 years:

remote jobs trend

For good reason too…I mean personally, I’ve been living the remote lifestyle since 2012 and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I also think it’s the future of work in general. Technology and faster internet speeds are making this easier.

While my neighbors wake up in the early hours to get ready for a day of office politics, and a long commute in rush hour traffic to work — I am rolling out of bed, making coffee, or going for a morning walk with my dog.

Unlike my neighbor who spilled coffee on his lap yelling at the guy who cut him off in traffic, when I start my work day, I am way less stressed and way more focused on what I need to conquer for the day.

Friends and family have asked me how I do it. So I am writing this post for them (and for you if you are considering the transition.)

A few things first…

Why I Love Working Remotely

  • Location freedom (I can live pretty much anywhere, as long as I have internet and my laptop.)
  • Increased productivity and less interruptions* (more on this later)
  • Avoid traffic commutes to and from work (use the extra time to exercise or get more work done)
  • Live in nicer lower cost areas, and avoid city living prices
  • Less time wasted “getting ready for work” – Roll out of bed without getting dressed, doing hair, makeup (for the ladies), etc.
  • Spend time with spouse or kids or take/pick them up from school (if you have children)
  • Take more breaks whenever you want
  • Eat healthier for breakfast and lunch at home (instead of fast food on the go)
  • More money saved (from lower rent, less gas traveling to work, less outings with coworkers, or dining out for lunch everyday)
  • Travel more often (plenty of free wifi everywhere or use a mobile hotspot)
  • No office drama or politics
  • Overall happier with less stress

Clearly there are lots of benefits to remote work.

For the most part, all you need is a laptop with wifi or a mobile hotspot. Not too bad.

Now to be fair, there are some issues with remote work to consider also.

Pitfalls of Remote Work

  • *Decreased productivity from distractions – While moving remote can increase productivity, it can also decrease it if you have lots of distractions around you at home or wherever you are working. If you have screaming children running around it may be hard to focus. The same at a coffee shop with a bunch of noise or people interrupting. It’s best to isolate yourself during focus times to make sure you don’t get distracted.
  • Cabin Fever – When working remote this will become a real thing. You will eventually get tired of sitting in your home or home office all day with no human interactions. Typically, when I feel a bit of cabin fever coming on, I head out to Starbucks or local coffee shop for the day. I try to mix things up too and check out new work locations like the park or a book store.
  • Communication issues – If you work with a team, you can’t just walk over an ask if they got the Monday report. Honestly this is a good thing. Les interruptions throughout the day. These days with tools like Slack or Zoom you can quickly have a chat with a co-worker or team member. Unlike Mary who asks you for a stapler while you’re focused on that important report at the office, you can shut off notifications so you don’t get interrupted every 5 seconds.
  • Laziness – Working remotely from home can lead to laziness if you’re not self-disciplined. You won’t have a boss lurking over your shoulder to tell you to get off your phone and stop browsing Facebook. If you can’t be disciplined or productive on your own, remote work may not work for you.

How To Go Remote

When I was 25 years old, I dropped a traditional location based job in search of a remote job. It was a lot easier than I thought.

My career as a graphic designer didn’t rely on me being at a physical location. I could work anywhere as long as I had internet and a computer. I used this as leverage to get a job that was ok with me working remotely.

Your career may not be this flexible. Sometimes you just have to be a bit more creative.

Here are some questions to help you decide if you can go remote:

  • Can your position be done from anywhere? (With just a laptop and internet.)
  • Are there currently other people doing your job remotely? (Check sites like Upwork to see if people are doing what you do currently.)
  • Would your boss or employer be ok with you working remotely? (Just ask them)
  • If your current position can’t go remote, maybe you’re open to a new career?

Transitioning A Full Time Job To Remote Work

You can start by asking for 1-2 days to work at home. It sounds scary to ask your boss, but you’d be surprised at what the answer might be.

Here are some tips to convince your boss to go remote:

  • Tell your employer that it will help you be more productive and efficient.
  • Buy them the book Remote: Office Not Required.
  • Ask them for a trial run of maybe 1 day a month to start.
  • Let them know that by working from home you can skip the office commute and get more done faster for them.
  • Make it all about how it benefits the company, not you.

My Fiancee’s mother worked as a translator for years. She commuted over an hour to work each day. One day she was mugged while waiting for public transportation going home. She asked her boss to start working a few days from home to reduce the days of commuting to work. Surprisingly they were just fine with it. Now it’s completely switched. She works almost everyday from home and goes into the office just once a week.

Same pay, same job, no office commute.

The choice is yours, but there are plenty of options these days compared to when I first hunted for remote work.

If your job won’t allow for it, and it’s really important for you to be at home to spend more time with your kids or for whatever reason maybe consider a new remote job all together.

Below is a list of resources to help…

Remote Job Resources:

Freelancing

You can also consider freelancing as an option.

After a few years working remotely, I eventually ventured out on my own as a freelancer with the same goal – living a location independent lifestyle.

You can use your current skills to create a freelance business of your own.

This has it’s pros and cons too. The obvious pros being the time freedom, no boss, and more income potential. The cons being you are now responsible for your income.

If you’re interested, I have started a freelance community side project to help people transition to remote jobs or escape from the 9-5 all together. It’s free to join and this will help you get started if you’re not sure where to begin.

Hopefully this post has been helpful for you.

Feel free to shoot me a message on Twitter if you want some help transitioning to remote work or freelancing.