Going Solo: Is Remote Work Right for Me?
If you’re like most of us, you’ve spent plenty of days looking out the window of your office, longing for a life that’s a little more exciting, a little less repetitive, and a lot more rewarding. Good news, woeful worker: remote jobs are increasingly available, and companies are finally recognizing the value in giving employees the flexible lives they crave. But before you decide to dive into the remote work lifestyle, you should evaluate whether you’re the right fit for this starkly different work arrangement.
1. Job Type and Specialty: This one may seem like a no-brainer, but does your work lend itself to a remote setup? Luckily, the majority of jobs today can be performed remotely in some capacity. With a little creativity, a commitment to communication, and some hard work, many jobs can be adapted for a remote setup. If your job isn’t easily done via telecommuting, consider ways you can use your experience differently, and seek jobs in fields like consulting or content creation related to your background.
2. Personality Type: It’s important to be realistic when making your decision. There are certain characteristics that can make people better – or worse – suited for remote work, and paying attention to them is vital to the outcome of your career. Some traits to look out for:
- Independent – Do you rely on the company of others in the office to keep you stimulated? Or do you prefer a quiet environment that lets you get things done on your own time? Are you reliant on stringent rules and guidelines, or are you good at managing timelines and anticipating needs yourself?
- Self-motivated – Do you get more satisfaction from the knowledge that you completed a task on your own, or do you enjoy the reward of your team commending your work?
- Highly focused – Are you easily distracted by things that could come with remote work? Is life at home too hectic for solid chunks of productivity? Or is your remote working space a zen zone where things can easily get done?
- Skilled communicator – Are you a proactive communicator who can establish needs, expectations and questions via email, or do you rely on in-person communication with body-language cues to fully understand things?
3. Skills + Knowledge: Even if you’ve got the perfect job for remote working, and have a personality that’ll match perfectly, you’ve still got to consider the aspect of job growth and personal development. If you’re very early in your career or have made a switch recently, you may not be in the best position to commit to full-time remote work. Additionally, if you’re in a junior position and benefit significantly from hands-on mentorship from those more experienced than you, spending hands-on time together with them in an office should still be a priority. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time away from the office, but simply that you should carefully evaluate whether it’s the right time to stray completely from everyday collaboration.
4. Things to Avoid: Working remotely can have its challenges. For many, the biggest challenge is feeling isolated and disconnected from the team. However, periodic in-person meetings, networking events, coworking with other remote workers and video conferencing can all help quell these feelings. Additionally, especially if your remote office is in your home, it can become very easy to blur the lines between working and living life. Set clear boundaries for yourself, and define goals every day to hold yourself accountable for your own time, so you don’t end up with an only semi-productive, but terribly drawn out, workday.
Still think remote working sounds right for you? Join 9,000 likeminded people at the largest ever remote working industry conference, the Remote Future Summit. Sign up now to hear speakers from companies including Amazon, SAP, Dropbox, Asana, Forbes and many others, on the importance of remote workers in our digital future.