Is Remote Working Here To Stay?
Advances in technology mean that there are now more choices than ever before when it comes to where and how we work. Can too much flexibility ever be a bad thing, or should the expectation that work is mainly done from an office location be left firmly in the past? Discover the main pros and cons of remote working below.
Pro: You Save Time
Commuting can add many additional hours onto your working day, even before you factor in transport delays and unexpected traffic. By cutting out the commute you can arrive at your desk feeling refreshed and ready to work, rather than feeling frazzled and exhausted before the day has even begun.
For freelancers or those who are self employed, saving travel time is even more valuable. By conducting meetings virtually you avoid losing billable hours travelling, increase productivity, and never have to worry about being late due to no fault of your own.
Pro: You Save Money
As well as saving time, skipping the commute also saves money. Depending on where you work and live the money saved can add up to hundreds if not thousands of pounds every year. Once you get used to having that extra money it can be hard to justify going back to spending so much, especially when you realise that your job can be done 100% remotely.
It’s not just transport costs that start to chip away at your hard earned cash. Coffees, lunches, and snacks can also add up over time. While you can prepare a packed lunch this can get boring pretty quickly, especially if you work somewhere with limited space to store and reheat food.
Con: It Can Get Lonely
When working remotely it is very easy to go most of the working week without having a proper conversation with anyone else. While remote workers are still likely to have regular meetings, this isn’t the same as having a chat with someone who you know and get on well with.
If you are starting to find remote work is getting a little lonely there are steps you can take to overcome this. Check out any networking events in your area which are aimed at freelancers and/or remote workers. If you can’t find any why not try reaching out to people in your area to see if there are any other people who work from home and would like to meet up for a coffee or a walk?
While you may have to make a little more effort to connect with others, this can end up being a good thing. By seeking out people who you have things in common with, you are more likely to find genuine friendships and exciting networking opportunities, compared to in the office where the only thing you may have in common with everyone else is your employer.
Pro: You Are Less Likely To Get Sick
Crowded transport followed by a day sat next to someone who has decided to share their cold with the office as they “can’t possibly have a day off sick” (and who are usually oblivious to the fact that many of their colleagues will now be needing some time off to recover which leads to them having to pick up more work in the long run!) is a recipe for illness, especially during the winter months.
Even when illness does strike, travelling to your home office space feels far more manageable when unwell compared to navigating a long commute. Not having a commute also means you have more time to eat healthily, exercise, and get a good night's sleep, all of which help to boost your immunity.
Con: You Are Less "Visible"
In the debate for and against remote working much has been said about so called “water cooler” moments. While I don’t believe that anyone has ever gone to get a cup of water and come back with a promotion, in some corporate environments how ‘visible’ you are can affect your chances of moving up the ladder.
However, this argument assumes that everyone’s number one priority is to advance their career. If someone values their work life balance more than they value getting promoted then the choice to stay at home should be theirs to make. This whole idea of needing to be ‘visible’ is also old and outdated. Good employers value their employees based on the quality of the work which they produce, not the number of hours they spend sitting in an office.
Pro: It Is More Comfortable
Enjoy working in a calm and clean environment, free from the noise and distractions that are often found in an office. Working from home also means that you don’t have to queue up to get a coffee, make your lunch, or use the bathroom.
Depending on where you live you may choose to use your lunch break to go for a pleasant walk around your neighbourhood, rather than having to fight through the city centre crowds. While it is always a good idea to look at least a little professional for video calls, working remotely generally means that you can wear more comfortable clothes. All of these things can add up to make day to day life more enjoyable and less stressful.
While some people will always love getting dressed up and working in an office environment, there are many benefits to embracing remote working. As many people have found, trying to work a 40 hour week (plus commuting time) plus keeping on top of household chores can take a real toll on wellbeing and leave very little time to socialise, recharge, and switch off.
I do think it is important to mention that while there are many positives of remote working, for some people the disadvantages may outweigh these. For example, if there is a lack of space, or they have a difficult relationship with those they live with, having somewhere outside the home to work, whether that is their employers office or a co-working space, can be really important.
When I became a freelancer I knew that I wanted to work 100% remotely. I feel remote working increases my productivity, and allows me to have a healthy work life balance. If you want to know more about how I help my clients have a look here. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how I can help you grow your business, please get in touch.