August 16, 2018
Considering applying for a job where you'll work remotely? Beware: remote work isn’t for everyone - here are 10 pros and cons to think through first...
Remote working is a growing trend, with estimates that over 50% of the UK workforce will at least partially work from home by 2020.
The work-from-home arrangement is particularly relevant in the tech and digital sectors, where often an internet connection is all that’s needed to do the job. Plus, with niche skills required by companies all over the world, sometimes it’s simply not feasible to locate all required talent in one location.
In fact, many tech companies run entirely ‘decentralised’ workforces, with every employee working in their own location.
And yet, whilst the lure of doing Monday morning emails in your PJs might be strong, remote working isn’t for everyone. There are the obvious drawbacks, like less access to a social environment, but also hidden pitfalls like reduced promotion potential.
So, if you’re considering making the switch or applying for a remote working job, here are some of the key pros and cons of working from home...
5 Advantages of Remote Working
01 You’ll Shorten Your Commute... To Zero!
Studies have shown that commuters have lower life satisfaction than non-commuters. By eliminating the need for daily travel, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll free up time – giving you more opportunity to spend it with family, friends and interests outside of work.
02 Less Distraction (‘Infuriation’?!)
Although this varies between workplaces, studies have shown that home workers report increased productivity. Many people find it easier to focus on the task at hand when there’s no-one to ‘grab you for a sec’ or engage in non-work-related chat. Peace at last!
03 Unlimited Access to Employers
Remote working opens up a (literal) world of opportunity. If daily travel to the office is no longer a requisite for the job, job-seekers can apply to companies in different cities or even other countries - a huge benefit for tech workers who aren’t based near a well-known hub.
04 Flexibility for Life
This is especially salient for people with caring responsibilities, medical needs, or simply those who work better outside the restrictions of a 9 - 5. Not only does working from home give you flexibility to set your own schedule, but you can do it from anywhere – including when abroad or visiting family.
05 Reduced Stress Factors
Although this will vary (see below!), many employees find working from home less stressful. You’re closer to home comforts: whether that’s being with pets, cooking yourself lunch, or working outside in the garden on sunny days. Perhaps that’s why remote workers leave their jobs less than their office-based counterparts.
5 Disadvantages of Remote Working
By now you might be itching to move to the greener pastures of the home office. But remote working isn’t going to suit everyone. Here’s some of the cons.
01 You’ll Feel Lonely. Fact.
Sometimes work isn’t just about getting paid to do a job, it’s about being part of a team. By working from home, you’ll miss out on the smaller things: coffee chats, sharing your frustrations with a colleague, or after work drinks. As one remote worker put it; “I might go a week without leaving the house or talking to anyone (in the real world) but my wife”. This can have a serious effect on wellbeing.
02 Communication May Get Lost In Translation
Digital technology has made it possible to be IM’ing someone across the country or video conferencing the global team. But sometimes its useful to be able to walk over to someone’s desk to ask them a favour, or chat through a thorny problem face to face, which you don’t get when working on your own. Plus, colleagues don’t know when not to distract you, and you may find the need to always be ‘available’ to prove you’re working.
03 Merging of Home & Work Life
It’s healthy to separate work from home, giving you time to switch off and relax. Working at home makes this more difficult; you may start to associate your home with work, and makes it more tempting to work out of hours. That may be why some studies found remote workers to be significantly more stressed than their office-based counterparts.
04 Less Access to Senior Jobs
This will vary from company to company, but many employees would argue those working from the office are favoured for promotion, and higher roles typically demand more facetime. After all, it’s hard to build internal networks when you’re not office-based, which can be crucial for progression. And news about internal opportunities often spreads through word of mouth – which you’re more likely to miss out on as a home worker.
05 You’ll Work Longer Hours
It seems paradoxical, but it seems that when you save yourself time commuting, you end up replacing it with…more work. Studies have shown that remote workers actually work longer hours than their office counterparts, and take fewer sick days too.
The Decision’s Yours…
Did the appeal of remote working strike a chord with you? Or are its drawbacks closing the door?
Ultimately, remote working isn’t for everyone. If you’re the type of person who likes being present with your team, and you’re not held back by a lack of opportunities within reasonable commuting distance of your home, then you may want to stick to the office. But if you’re looking for the flexibility and opportunity that working from home could provide, it could be for you.