Being a “Remote Staff/Worker” may sound fancy for others. This fact, when learned by other people, could instantly light a face of envy and start preconceived notions. Others are envious because if you’re a remote worker you need not battle traffic and office issues as you can work the minute you wake up. Who wouldn’t want that? Stress levels will surely decrease. On the other hand, you’d hear misconceptions like decreased productivity and such.
The truth is remote working/staffing, also known as telecommuting is the present of the workplace. Cambridge Dictionary defines remote working as a situation in which an employee works mainly from home and communicates with the company by email and telephone. According to TalentLMS Remote Work Survey, 85% of remote workers chose to be one for reasons of increased productivity, greater autonomy, and flexibility.
Remote working may sound a dream work condition for most professionals, but it also has its own drawbacks and disadvantages. If you’re not used to being alone and prefer surrounded by a busy environment, you’d find remote working difficult.
A lot of positive testimonials and statistics about remote work have been circulating online, but it is still not for everyone. Every remote worker has different working conditions in accordance with the company’s policies, nature of the industry and mutual agreement between the employee and employer. Most of them still have the same denominator;
1. They don’t need to make a two-hour allowance before work for preparation and transportation (traffic congestion and such) unlike most of the office workers. No hassles even if there’s a disaster storm outside. No pollution. Who wouldn’t love that you can work in an environment you can also call your home where you can easily make lunch for yourself?
Most of the respondents on the survey above said that they prefer working in their own dedicated home office and second in their own living room and the bedroom was only third on the list.
No wonder 88% of them recommend working remotely because of the freedom and sole control of time. But not all remote workers work at home, some prefer working at coffee shops, other places where they are comfortable (and has a WIFI, of course) or some even work while they travel to places. If they miss the office vibe, they can opt to work at co-working spaces. This is how remote workers have more time because of the flexibility it gives them.
2. Some remote workers just work for a few days depending on their workload and contract. Most may think remote workers don’t have a fixed time and just work whenever and wherever they like, but 60% of respondents from the same survey mentioned above said that they still have to follow a 9-5, 5-days-a-week work schedule.
3. Remote working sometimes also means working alone, so loneliness can visit anytime. They may be safe from office drama and awkward small talk at office pantry, but loneliness can kill their productivity. Focus is also an issue. Some remote workers rely on their ears to stay focused on what they are doing. Having earphones on is a normal sight of them. Some even turn on their TV to have a background so it’ll feel less lonely.
4. We know how office mates can bother us by a simple chit chat to show affection or a major disturbance (that is extremely annoying) but in remote working; it is just you basically.
5. A study by SurePayroll said that 86% of remote workers prefer to work alone for productivity. Before judging them with misconceptions like remote workers just want to avoid responsibilities, know their top reason why they prefer this kind of setup.
6. Most of the remote workers do not just work remotely for the entire span of their ‘stay’ in the company. Sometimes they need to visit the office once in a while for different reasons. Some do it regularly to avoid one of the main problems of remote workers have which is the feeling of being left behind. After all, they are still part of the company and its culture. No one wants the feeling of being left out.
7. The absence of a physically present supervisor makes the remote workers somehow choose when to start the ‘actual work’ if they’re still feeling lazy. They can do yoga, or watch an episode of their favorite TV series or just basically do the things that spark productivity without a supervisor or nosy co-workers policing them.
8. FlexJobs’ study said that remote workers get more sleep, eat healthier and exercise more. Imagine balancing life and work, that’s a skill!
9. Remote workers are good (or must be, if not) communicators. Since they are not physically present, they often rely on Skype, Outlook or email for urgent tasks, messages and a little chitchat with their co-workers. Who said that working remotely would stop you from being friends with your co-workers?
To succeed in remote working, one must know how to communicate effectively to avoid delays or problems rooted in miscommunication.
As technology and digitalization make the world smaller and more comfortable in terms of professional aspects, proximity is no longer an issue when it comes to work because of the existence of several communication tools and apps and adaptation of the business sector to the human resource dynamic needs.
Sounds ideal, but the fact is it is not for everyone. It proves that remote working is not as easy as everyone thinks it is. It still takes skill and effort just like how office workers exert theirs.