How to Assess if a Remote Job Is Worth It
10 min read
More and more people work from home. If you look at Google Trends, you will discover that the search volume has grown continuously over the past five years. We expect that many companies, and therefore workers, will follow this trend. However, assessing if a remote job is worth it is different from evaluating a traditional job. This article gives you a guide to navigating any work from home opportunity.
Are you a digital native?
If you don't meet your coworkers in physical meetings regularly, you'll probably meet them online. Therefore, you have to be okay with video chats. But not only that. In a remote job, you'll use much more tools in general. A company that supports remote work might use tools like
- A video chat application
- A digital knowledge base
- A tool for discussion and decision making
- A tool for time tracking
- A tool for password management
- A tool to facilitate a remote work culture
- A tool for instant messaging
- A tool to celebrate achievements
- A tool to improve task and work transparency
- A tool to schedule meetings
These are just some examples that should illustrate how essential the fluent use of online tools is. You might want to read this blog article from Buffer to see how they use remote work tools and if you might be comfortable using them.
Can you unplug from work?
Not being able to unplug from work is the biggest downside for many remote workers. Your workplace is right next to your living room. You don't leave any company building, which signals to stop thinking about work. It's a mental game. If you have difficulties unplugging from work in a regular job, a remote job might be challenging. Nevertheless, there are some external factors that you should consider. Do you have a separate room just for work? Or perhaps a desk? Maybe a dedicated work laptop? Leaving the room or desk or shutting down your work laptop can be a ritual helping you unplugging from work.
Do you feel lonely quickly?
Another big one. If you choose to work from home, be prepared to have much less social interaction. Many people who work from home find this a considerable challenge. Ask yourself how many social interactions you need in your professional life. Perhaps you belong to the group of people who tend to separate their professional and private lives. You may have hobbies or a big family, so you're heavily involved socially anyway. The good thing about working from home is that you don't spend time commuting. Therefore, you can use the time you usually would spend commuting to work to meet your friends or spend time with your family. Just ask yourself if you can connect well outside of work.
Can you stay motivated?
When we are motivated, work becomes less stressful. If you work from home, achieving your targets is much more your responsibility. No boss or colleagues sit next to you, working on their tasks. This lack of motivation and control allows you to relax and do less. But procrastination probably won't make you happier. It will lengthen your workday. And it is dangerous. As soon as you start doing your job half-heartedly, your career will suffer. Before you take on a remote position, ask yourself if you can motivate yourself. Can you structure your day well and be productive? Or do you find it easier to come into the office and find some structure?
Do you have access to reliable WiFi?
Having access to reliable WiFi is obvious. Nevertheless, it's crucial. If you don't have access to reliable WiFi, everything will be stressful. Will the connection support your important meeting? Think about the stress if you can't answer that call from your boss. And then, how will your colleagues react if you can't upload critical documents in time and you miss a deadline? Consider who else is using your WiFi and if this could cause problems.
Are there distractions at home?
To be productive, you need to stay in work mode. Staying in work mode, especially when working from home, is easier said than done. If family members are around you, can you make them aware that your work time is work time and that you need to focus? It is equally essential that friends and acquaintances only come to see you outside of your working hours. Let everyone know that you'll get back to them during your break or after work. Ask yourself if you can work at home in silence and focus, or if, for example, your family will be at home during working hours and will demand your attention.
Does the company only employ remote workers?
If a company only lets some of its employees work from home, then there is a risk that a two-tier social structure will arise. Employees on-site are more present and are therefore often preferred for promotions. Consciously or subconsciously, this is a disadvantage you must consider. But maybe you work for a company that judges performance on objective criteria. It is also true that you have less influence from your desk at home than from your desk at your office. After all, many meaningful conversations aren't planned but happen at the water cooler. Of course, all of these disadvantages are not applicable if the company you work for almost exclusively hires people who work from home.
Do you want to live healthier?
If you are in the office every day, you often only can eat what is close to you. You then might reach for junk food or order something for a high price in a restaurant. The chance to eat healthy during the day can be a game-changer. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps to stay mentally fresh and cope with stress more efficiently. Of course, it still takes a lot of motivation to live a healthier lifestyle. It would help if you also had your calendar under control and schedule regular breaks. But if you are motivated and schedule frequent breaks, your health can benefit greatly from a remote job.
Does your employer hire from different time zones?
Remote work comes with the freedom to hire the best talent globally. However, this means that you might end up with colleagues working from another time zone. Unfortunately, different time zones can cause disruptions in communication. It might be impossible to connect with someone if it's 3 a.m. in their time zone. Suppose you have the chance to take on a work from home opportunity, ask yourself if you are in a vastly different time zone from your colleagues. If that's the case, you might be the one who causes frustration to the rest of the team. Such a situation will pressure you to be available even outside your regular working hours. It tends to blurry the lines between work and free time even further. Therefore, it is crucial to understand who you're working with and your coworkers' usual working hours in your time zone.
Do you like to travel?
If you like to travel, working in a remote job is your chance. Most remote workers have traveled and worked at the same time. We believe that work and travel are natural progressions as remote work becomes increasingly common. Ask yourself if you want to take the chance to travel or if you prefer to stay at home.
To sum it up
Remote work isn't the perfect way of working for everyone. But if you're lucky enough to have a profession that plays nicely with working from home, you can benefit greatly. It can improve your physical and mental health. If you don't feel lonely quickly and like to use online tools, this is a good starting point for a great remote career.
And if you can arrange a dedicated workplace at home where you can focus and have little distractions, this is even better. Remember to check if you will be motivated in your new job and have the discipline to schedule your day.
Lastly, consider if there will be issues communicating with your colleagues due to your time zone. If you're optimistic about these questions, you're in a great position to search for a remote job opportunity. You can discover the world or live a flexible work schedule with great colleagues worldwide.