Ah, working on the beach (or mountains), having time to yourself, no boss breathing behind your neck, in other words, freedom while still being a responsible adult. Sounds good, right? The idea of remote work really is appealing. When the location becomes optional a lot of ideas comes to mind.
Unfortunately, the reality of remote work is not as the media and the internet make it sound.
Remote work is awesome but not everybody likes it nor is it for everyone. The problem is, only a portion of the experience gets the spotlight, while the other you can only get an insight from someone else already in the remote boat.
What remote work really is about
Remote work is (surprisingly) really about work. In fact, I would say as a remote worker you need to work harder than your on-site counter-part. Here is why :
1. You are not physically there
Other people can’t see you work, which means you need to make yourself present by the job you do, the solutions you provide and your contributions to your team.
2. There is no tech support.
You use your own hardware with your own setup and as such you are responsible for it. You are in charge of maintaining it clean, updated and virus-free and even have a backup computer in case your main one fails you. There are some companies who alleviate this a bit, but at the end of the day, you are still in charge of keeping everything in order.
3. Working spaces are not as easy to come by
Let’s be honest, you can work one day or two at the beach when the work is light, but that’s no place when you really need to focus. For most cases, you will need a quiet, comfortable space where you can hear your own thoughts and be free of external distractions.
This is not as easy as it sounds, getting your family used to the fact you are at home but are not available takes time. Ideally, you should find a place where you can use exclusively for work at home or get a membership at a near coworking space.
4. You get paid by the hour.
Most remote contracts are paid by worked hours instead of having a fixed salary. This serves as a double edge sword, on one end, you can get an extra cash when you need it by working a bit more but on the other end, if you made 38 hours a given week, you don’t get paid 40. Some companies have policies for this kind of things, but not all of them.
5. You don’t get the social factor
As a remote worker, you don’t interact with people as much. This gives you a boost in productivity but also privates you from the natural daily social interaction, this may seem little for the less social kind of people, but trust me, it weights over time if not taken seriously.
Still, working remote is awesome
I know, seeing remote work as a whole, may seem a little discouraging or even a challenge, but let me tell you, working remote can be described in one word, freedom.
Depending on the kind of person you are, this is going to be a good thing or not. Having freedom will let you do things the way it works best for you.
- You can work anywhere. This goes way beyond working at the beach, this means you tap into the international market which expands exponentially your possibilities and depending where you live, you can take advantage of the difference in economies, earning like you live in a high-cost city, while living in a lower-cost one, making your earnings more meaningful.
- No more sitting on a desktop or chair you don’t like. Now you can adjust your work environment to your style, making you feel more comfortable and ergonomic even.
- Your rules. Now you can select an operating system, tools and environment in general that makes you most productive, adjusted to your work style.
In the end, remote work is an amazing modality and an excellent way for you to work the way that suits you best. Yes, not everything is pink-colored, there are some things you must take in account before diving in, but for the most part, working remotely, in my opinion, is the best way to work while maintaining a balanced and healthy life, on your own terms.