Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic spread like wildfire, global economies have been affected like never before. Businesses resorted to remote work or work-from-home (WFH) programs to sustain their business strategy and help employees keep their jobs. In this article, we have highlighted the pros & cons of remote working or working from home.
Today, as the pandemic persists, so do WFH strategies. The result? A whopping 60 million employees are currently working remotely, based on the latest data from Gallup’s survey released in March 2022. Of these employees, 32% prefer to continue working full-time remote jobs, even if they end up transferring to a different company. But working remotely is not just about employers’ strategies and how remote work increases productivity– it is arguably more important to talk about how an employee adapts to remote work. It is crucial to understand the effects of working remotely on the personal & professional lives of the employees. While a lot of employees are loving the WFH set-up, others still prefer working onsite. To help you decide if remote work suits you, here are a few things you should consider.
1. Remote work requires excellent communication skills
In any type of job, you need good communication skills to get your point across. The combination of form and content will help you effectively transmit your message. In a remote work setup, most businesses prefer to communicate through email or a reliable communication app. To develop your communication skills, read our blog GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS: AN INDISPENSABLE PART OF WORK.
What does this mean for you? Basically, as a remote worker, you are left with the content part of a message. There is no tone of voice or body language that can help express your thoughts. Thus, you should be able to develop your online communication skills to get your message across clearly every time. The effect of working remotely can be seen in the way you communicate and conduct your activities. Companies typically communicate across several platforms depending on the work requirement. Some companies may prefer chatting while others work better with a video call every week. It would be good to assess your comfort level with different online communication platforms first before diving into a remote job.
2. Remote jobs may make you feel isolated from your colleagues
Working remotely means that you are often on your own– far away from mentors and colleagues. This can lead to a feeling of isolation and loneliness, especially if you love the social engagement that you can get from an onsite job. This is one of the major effects of working remotely. So, if you do decide to work remotely, you should also take into account how you will adjust to this isolation. It is crucial to develop self-management skills to achieve success while working from home. To know about the important self-management tips, read our blog IMPORTANCE OF SELF MANAGEMENT SKILLS: GET AHEAD IN YOUR JOB.
Unless you plan to work for a company with hybrid work policies– a combination of onsite and remote work– working remotely means that you will probably be on your own 99% of the time. One of the major effects of working remotely is the decrease in the productivity level of employees. Some people thrive in this setup as they find that they are more productive without distractions from the office. But others prefer a bit of social interaction now and then. If you’re someone who thrives on social interaction, a good way to combat the feeling of isolation is to schedule regular social activities with your family or friends. Some people also prefer working in a coffee shop or library just to be around other people.
3. Companies have different remote work strategies and cultures
When talking about a remote work strategy, not all companies are the same. You may find a remote job that offers flexible work hours that rely on output-based work. This will give you a lot of freedom to schedule social activities and other personal matters around your deadlines. There can be severe effects of working remotely as you must have a sense of responsibility towards your work. Other companies have fixed work hours with time trackers to monitor the productivity of their employees. Remote workers can thrive in either set-up; it is up to you to measure what type of remote job will suit your methods of work.
Aside from work strategy, it is important to know the culture of the company you will be joining. Do the company’s core values align with your own? Do you see yourself growing with the company? If not, then there can be major negative effects of working remotely. Companies that treat their remote workers the same as they would onsite workers usually have a good culture in place. Businesses that place importance on employee growth and cultural diversity are some of the best places to work. You would want to find a company that gives its employees equal opportunities regardless of where they are working from. To know about the skills that a recruiter looks for in an employee, read our blog 5 CRUCIAL INDUSTRY SPECIFIC SKILLS SOUGHT BY ALL EMPLOYERS.
When deciding if remote work is for you, be sure to check the company’s profile and history to get a better grasp of what the culture is like. Choose a company that aligns with your personal career goals – this includes culture, vision, work structure, and so on.
4. A healthy work-life balance is a key to successfully working remotely
In a WFH setup, you are, quite literally, working where you live. Compared to working onsite, remote jobs can take a toll on your work-life balance. This is one of the major effects of working remotely. There may be a lot of distractions in your home that can cause you to lose focus on your work. Someone ringing the doorbell, a noisy neighbour, your dog begging for treats. All these can affect your workflow if you are someone who easily gets distracted. It will take a good amount of discipline to obtain a healthy balance between your work and life outside it. To have in-depth knowledge of how to maintain work-life balance, read our blog WORK LIFE INTEGRATION: A STEP FURTHER FROM WORK LIFE BALANCE.
Another important question here is, do you have extra space in your home to set up a small home office for your work? If you don’t have the extra space, can you work without it? There are both positive & negative effects of working remotely in both the personal & professional life of the employees. When you are at home with your laptop lying a few feet from you, it is so easy to respond to work messages. You can tell yourself that it’s one message. But as time goes by, you may not notice the amount of time you are spending working– even when you’re off the clock and done with your deadlines.
Working remotely is here to stay, even after the pandemic is over. Businesses have seen the advantages of remote work and employees are also reaping the benefits. Before considering a remote job, make sure that it is something that suits your current situation. Take your time in assessing whether a remote job is for you. Striking a good balance between your work and personal life can help you become a successful employee, whether remotely or onsite.