As jobs get less manual, more technology driven, and collaboration and telecommuting technology gets better, managers have realized that employees can be just as effective if, if not more effective, when working remote jobs or working from home.
After working at an office every day, I transitioned to working remotely and have truly experienced the good and the bad. I wrote a post about the benefits of working remotely here. So come along on this ride as we explore the disadvantages of remote work as well. Choose a location in your head and lets imagine being where you could work – you could work from home, a coffee shop down the street, a coworking space, a WeWork, or your favorite beach … and lets … think very realistically about the pros and cons of remote work and work from home jobs.
1. Isolation from peers and less personal relationships
For many people, at least half of their personal connections are with people they work alongside. Working from home can get lonely. When you work in an office, you are forced to communicate with your colleagues and create deep personal relationships at your workplace. These are not forced and build over interaction every day, which is hard to do in other contexts. You may even miss out on romantic relationships! I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard of finding love at work. It’s the law of proximity.
After working at an office every day, I transitioned to working remotely and I missed the camaraderie with my co-workers. I still do. Even when it came down to commiserating about what you don’t like at work, being able to talk to others in person who knew what the job was like was really nice. You can also feel separate from people who work physically in the office (if there is one) and the friendships that they have formed.
At home, you might only speak to someone via email or phone for the whole day, which can be draining and make you go a little crazy. Combat this by making a point to get outside of the house everyday, get some fresh air and walking in, and interact with people. All humans are social creatures and require this to a certain degree.
2. Your home-life and work-life are blurred together
When your home-life essentially becomes your office-life too, it can be tricky to separate home and work. When exactly are you working and when exactly are you not? If you can make your own schedule these lines blur naturally.
Some people thrive off an office environment and the lack of a physical boundary between work and home can become an issue. You can control this by setting up a specific area of your home for work, such as a home office (grab that deduction too), and try to anticipate boundaries with those you live with so that you can have some dedicated work time. It’s not always easy, but enforcing work hours as much as possible can keep you on track and help you keep your remote job.
3. Its difficult to stay motivated
When you are outside of the office environment, it can be difficult to find the motivation to work. If you struggle to find the motivation to work while you’re in the office, remote working probably isn’t going to make it any easier for you. You could try having specific hours that you work each day like i mentioned above, so for example that you know from 8am-4pm is your working hours.
You can also make a game out of it with intermittent breaks that you earn. For example, while writing this article, I took a few short (max 15min) breaks as I finished paragraphs to walk around, catch up on news, have a conversation, or grab some food and drinks. Whenever I am writing I look forward to finishing a paragraph and getting up from my desk and having some type of break/reward. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the secret to this and find it incredibly hard, so try a few different changes out and see what might work for you.
4. There are so many distractions!
There are a number of distractions that come with remote jobs. You could dip out for a coffee and bump into an friend or get stuck in a conversation for too long. You can focus on things that you need to do around the house to feel productive, though they are not important. You can switch on some Netflix to catch and episode to clear your head then end up watching it for hours. It’s happened to me! You can make up the hours later, but it’s easy to get behind and always be playing catch up. Working with set breaks, in round number hours at a time, and a set lunch hour can combat this. I can’t stress this enough, it’s a great way to keep your entire job on track.
5. Prioritization is Difficult
When working remotely online, you don’t get the small nudges towards a certain project or task in passing like you might in a office. Most of the time its big reminder vs many small ones. This makes juggling many tasks hard to prioritize and can confuse your order of work.
6. You will lose influence at your employer vs those in an office
In fully remote companies, everyone is on an even playing field, but if you work for a company with remote workers and on-location workers, you are going to miss out on office politics. Everyone says they hate office politics, but it sticks around because its useful: Employees want to know whats going on at their company. Who is being promoted? What is needed? What strategies are being undertaken? Where are there new opportunities?
People often like to verbalize these things in person instead of put them down in writing in Slack or scheduling a Zoom conference just to talk about random work topics.
Its hard to gather context on office politics if you are not around. It may be harder to get in line for promotions, or have impromptu meetings and pickup on non-verbal cues that can effect your career development.
– The JobUnlocker Team