Remote working seems like a dream come true for many. Yet I’ve met a considerable number of employees who, although they’d like the freedom, don’t feel comfortable with the set-up. That’s understandable. I will say that right now at my job, I very much feel like the remote environment is a bit of a hinderance.
Aside from the flexibility and the ability to work in an environment that suits you, remote working can give you the feeling of… Well, not doing much.
Remote working is an AWFUL and FANTASTIC setup.
It’s pretty awful if you like being around people. It’s also awful if there are quiet times at your company and you literally have nothing to do. Sitting at your kitchen table, still drawing a salary and having nothing to do (so, you go clean the bathroom or whatever) – it can be pretty discouraging.
On the flipside, you can end up getting a lot of housework done. Those who commute two hours a day often don’t have the luxury of simply having that much time.
Why remote working really is terrible
If you’re used to a traditional office environment, a remote setup can be a huge adjustment. Offices have a specific flow to them: you show up, you turn on your computer, you get coffee… A lot of those jobs allow you to ease into the workday. Simply arriving at work, saying hello to colleagues and spending that first hour “settling” in is often counted as work. Even if you haven’t really produced anything.
In a remote setup? It’s pretty different.
You’re mostly going to be judged by what you produced. Have those files been organized? Have you emailed those ten people? Written these eight articles? Solved these three problems?
But wait, there’s more: If you do actually need to speak to someone, you can’t just walk across the room and talk to them. They won’t be sitting next to you. No, you’ll actually have to write to them. Or phone them or organize a call.
Which often means you really need to think about what it is you want to ask. You need to take initiative. That’s quite difficult for some people.
Some good news… why remote working is fantastic
If you’re someone who doesn’t like being in the same place every day, remote working’s got a few good points. You don’t have to sit at your desk: you can move to the kitchen. If you’re sick of being in the house, you can take your laptop and go sit in a café (just keep an eye out for wifi, or use your own network).
If you hate getting up early… Well, your commute is pretty quick. You more or less have to walk a couple of steps to the computer. Some people don’t even bother getting out of bed – they just open the computer and start working.
Since you’re being judged on your communication skills and results, remote working does have the odd side effect of actually making you a productive worker.