There are many advantages and disadvantages to remote working. Remote working refers to any type of job which allows you to work from a remote location. Most remote workers choose to work directly from their home, but your work could technically take place anywhere.
For example, some remote workers choose a remote job because they are constantly traveling. If you are a consultant, you may technically be a remote worker, but spend the majority of your time meeting with clients outside of your home. When deciding whether remote working is the right choice for you, you should carefully consider the main strengths and disadvantages of remote working. Keep in mind, depending on your specific situation, whether something is a strength or a disadvantage may change.
Overall, most people associate remote work with freedom. However, there are some misconceptions regarding how much freedom you truly have. Depending on your job, you may be required to work at specific hours, even if you are working remotely. For example, if you conduct a live tech support job from home, your employer will still dictate which hours you must be available. Consultants often change their schedule to better meet the needs of their clients. Even if your remote job does not technically have any hours, you may find it easier to work during specific times where you can easily reach your client or other employees to ask questions. Use the following information to determine if working remotely is for you.
Setting your own Schedule
A big part of remote work is setting your own schedule. However, this can be a strength as much as it is a disadvantage. Initially, setting your own schedule seems like it is entirely positive. Many remote workers enjoy not having to wake up early in the morning or having to spend hours in the office when there is not enough work for them to do. However, many remote workers are initially overwhelmed with this freedom. If you are not good at keeping yourself motivated, it is very easy to fall into the trap of putting off your work until the very last minute. One of the best tips for remote workers is actually to develop a specific work schedule, which usually resembles a traditional work schedule.
Not only does setting a work schedule ensure you get your work done, but it also helps with your social life. If you decide to do all your work later in the evening, you risk being unable to see your friends or family who have a traditional work schedule.
If you are comfortable with setting your own schedule and staying motivated, then remote work is a great fit for you. You may even be able to create a flexible work schedule where you work nontraditional hours on certain days. Other times, you can choose to work traditional hours, so you are still able to socialize.
Issues with Work Communication
Remote workers often have limited communication with their clients or other employees. If you are a social person who enjoys interacting with others when you work, you may be unhappy with remote working. This is an even larger issue if you are the type of worker who likes being able to get advice from your client or employer. Even if you are able to reliably communicate with coworkers or clients, most communication will take place over emails. As a remote worker, you must be able to clearly convey everything you need through an email, which is not always as easy as being able to verbally speak with someone. However, depending on your job, you may be able to call in to work or even show up in person when necessary.
There are also some remote jobs, which involve a surprising amount of communication. For example, if you do tech support from home, you may spend most of your day directly speaking with clients over the phone. Consultants often speak with their clients over the phone as well.
If you are working a remote job alongside a team, communication is even more important. Remote workers often work alongside other remote workers. Team cohesion is much harder to achieve when everyone is working different schedules and not directly speaking to one another. Not all-remote work involves working with a team, but if your field typically requires multiple employees on one project, you may wish to stick to a traditional workplace setting.
Never Being Away from Work
Whether or not remote work is a good choice for you also depends on your ability to separate your work life from your personal life. One of the problems many remote workers face is being unable to escape work because the home feels like their workplace. You may fall into the trap of trying to relax, only to feel guilty because you know there is more work you could be doing. If you have this type of mindset, it is very easy to become burned out from remote work.
Benefits and Taxes
One of the disadvantages with most remote jobs is the lack of benefits. Many remote workers are freelancers, which means they are not technically employed by the company. Even if you have worked for an employer for several years, you will not count as an employee. There are some companies which hire employees specifically for remote jobs, but these professions are not as common as freelance remote jobs. As a result, you will not be able to receive any workplace benefits, such as health insurance or a pension plan. Depending on your personal situation, the lack of workplace benefits may be too large of a disadvantage to justify remote work.
In addition to not receiving work benefits, your tax situation is also very different as a freelance remote worker. While you may not have any money deducted from taxes, you may end up paying much more at the end of the year as a freelancer, especially if you have not selected the proper business entity under which to operate.