Year over year, remote work isbecoming more popular across industries. More and more companies are offering their employees options to work from home, or, in some cases, hiring remote employees and setting them up as integral complements to their in-house teams. Some employers are even choosing to support valuable employees by allowing them to become remote workers and move across the country. And as technologies become increasingly sophisticated, this trend will likely continue to grow.
If you’re looking to make a move toward remote work, there’s a lot to think about--just as there is when you change jobs for any reason. But what will ultimately make the difference between landing any remote job offer and landing the remote job offer of your dreams will be a clear understanding of not just what you want from this new job, but also why it has to be remote.
In this piece, we’ll explore some of the main reasons professionals turn toward remote jobs. Do any of these resonate with you?
There’s an unspoken baggage that comes attached to the traditional nine-to-five office job. It includes hitting the snooze button, waking up, rushing through your morning routine, commuting to work, arriving, hustling through the day, commuting home, and making use of the few hours you have before it’s off to bed. Those few hours can feel like minutes, depending on your lifestyle. You might be handling household chores, making dinner, preparing meals for the week, hitting the gym, walking your dog--the odds are good that there’s little downtime.
And let’s talk about that commute:According to CNBC and the U.S. Census Bureau, “the average, one-way commute time is 26.1 minutes...If you commute to a full-time, 5-day-a-week job, roundtrip that adds up to 4.35 hours a week and over 200 hours (nearly nine days) per year.”
For some people, traditional schedules and commutes are fine. For others, well, they just don’t fit. Parents, those with international clients who may have to work off hours to collaborate across time zones, writers, designers, web developers--who may function best when websites and servers are less busy--and other professionals have all likely fantasized about being able to set their own hours.
The possibilities that are available when you can set your own hours and work in your own space are endless. If you are someone, for example, whose health requires you to routinely attend doctor’s appointments or physical therapy during the week, you’re able to set your hours around those appointments so you can continue to complete your work without missing a beat--and without missing any hours in the process.
There are lots of reasons you might not want to continue commuting to the same office day in and day out.
If you have young children, for example, you might prefer a remote work situation so that you can be home to take care of your kids and still be able to get your work done on a schedule that works for you.
Perhaps you live in an area where job opportunities in your career path are few and far between. You’re happy in your hometown and don’t want to leave, but you want the chance to pursue your passions and skills.
Or maybe you dream of working internationally and traveling frequently, but can’t do that in your traditional nine-to-five role--but you know there are remote companies that will allow you to work remotely from wherever you’re stationed.
Whatever the case may be, living situation is a perfect example of a reason to consider working remotely. And it’s a great case for working for a company that offers part-time remote work as well. Some companies will be open to creating a schedule where you can work remotely for a certain number of days a week to be home with your children, or traveling, or wherever you need to be. You might even find that flexibility at your own company, if you’re happy there and open to asking.
Lately, there have been some great advances made in trying to improve attention to health for office workers, including standing desks, ergonomic keyboards, and blue-light-blocking glasses. But no matter how you slice it, office work is still pretty unhealthy. It’s typically associated with eight to 10 hours of near-constant sitting, stress, staring at a computer screen, typing, and making unhealthy decisions with regard to food and beverages. Those things can take a toll not only on your physical health, but your mental health. In fact, according to a survey from Korn Ferry asreported by Forbes, “overall employee stress levels ‘have risen nearly 20% in three decades.’”
That stress can have both physical and mental ramifications and may lead to,among other things:
There are steps you can take to alleviate some of the stress you experience at work, although some of the advice given is difficult to actually follow. (For example, taking a mid-day nap is not acceptable in many workplaces across the U.S., and it can be difficult to take a two-minute computer break every 20-30 minutes.)
When you work from home, you can manage your schedule in a way that better benefits your health without fear of judgment from your boss or colleagues. In this way, you can increase your productivity and your health, while decreasing your stress.
As an added bonus, when you aren’t sharing an office, you’ll be exposed to less germs--meaning you’ll be less likely to get sick during cold and flu season.
Office environments work well for some--but for others, the key to being productive is the peace and quiet found in a home office, or the promise of being undisturbed in a busy environment such as a coffee shop. If you’re someone who needs to produce in solitude, remote work is likely the right choice for you. You’ll still have resources at your fingertips in a remote capacity, but you won’t be subject to drop-ins and water cooler talk as you ordinarily would in a traditional office environment.
When you know what you want out of a remote job offer, then you’ll be able to evaluate the openings you see to determine if they’re worth your application--and you’ll be able to review offers with a critical eye and ask the right questions before you accept. In this way, you can ensure that the next move you make is the right one, both for your career and for your happiness.
Looking for more advice on working remotely? Check out our newest book, 30 Hacks for Productive Remote Workers, part workbook and part guide that will help you work smarter, not harder. Oh, and did we mention that it was written by remote workers for remote workers? This advice is tried and tested, and we know it will help you maximize your productivity.
Photo by Jacob Postuma
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