In an age of technology, it’s no surprise that almost three percent of the total U.S. workforce regularly works from home. While that may not seem like a lot, it’s actually over 3.9 million people who spend their time working remotely! So, is remote work really all it’s cracked up to be?
As a remote worker myself, I’m also curious to see both the benefits and negatives that come from this method of work. Career Karma is here to give you the rundown on the pros and cons of remote work.
Remote Work: Pros
Whether you’re writing expense reports from your couch or working in one of the thousands of popular co-working spaces, there’s no denying that one of the biggest pros is the “remote” aspect of remote working. You’re not tied to a desk–or even an office, for that matter!
Personally, remote work has given me the freedom not only to travel, but to do so at a moment’s notice. Most in-person office jobs can’t offer this kind of flexibility. So, when thinking of working remotely, remember that, by leaving the office, you not only gain the ability to control where you work but also when you work.
2. Saving Money
Remember how much you spent on a tank of gas last time you filled up? Now, imagine if you only had to fill up your car maybe once or twice a month. This could actually be the case if you end up working from home.
On average, US workers spend about 52 minutes commuting to and from work. So, judging by the average national gas price–and assuming your car gets at least 25 mpg–you could potentially save over $600 a year! Not to mention at least another $500 in savings on car maintenance.
Do you tend to eat out a lot while at the office? Think of the money you’ll save when your kitchen is only ten steps away. Home-brewed coffee never tastes better than when it saves you over $1,000 a year!
Let’s talk about one of the biggest commodities in the world: time. We mentioned above that the average U.S. worker spends 52 minutes a day, five days a week, on their commute alone. That’s a little over four and a half hours a week the average person could save by working at home.
Now, add in the time that you spend getting ready for your job in the morning. Waking up early, packing a lunch, even getting dressed–they all take up way more time than you think. While all these things may not disappear completely if you decide to work remotely, you do gain a greater sense of autonomy and power of your precious time.
Remote Work: Cons
1. Lack of Communication
Okay, so it’s day 23 of working from home, and you realize you haven’t even stepped outside in weeks. While that’s a bit extreme, many people definitely picture something like that when they think of working remotely. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way!
Most remote workers can work anywhere with a solid Internet connection, so why not take advantage? Step outside, head to the coffee shop, the bookstore, or even a park bench! Further, if you’re working for a company that is based in a physical location, there’s no harm in stopping by the office. Regardless if you’re a freelancer or a company worker, remember to network and reach out to your colleagues. Most people work better when surrounded by like-minded individuals, so making this a part of your remote working schedule is absolutely vital.
2. Potential Distractions
It’s no secret that working from home takes a ton of discipline. I know I’ve definitely fallen prey to distractions while working from home in the past. Having a secure and quiet space to work is crucial for remote workers. It also helps to set a schedule and stick to it. Just because your TV is two feet away, that doesn’t mean it needs to be on while you work! As far as learning to master self-discipline when it comes to working from home, that takes time. Fortunately, there are several useful tools like online timers to help hone your focus!
Ask any remote worker, and they could probably recall an instance when a friend popped over at an inopportune time or a family member asked when you were going to get a “real” job. Unfortunately, remote work can sometimes get a bad rap. Yet, as more people take the plunge into the remote workforce, public perception is beginning to change. It’s important to hold your remote job to the same standards as a physical one and to reiterate this to your family and friends. If you take it seriously, chances are they will too.
Is Remote Work Right for You?
At this point, you may be wondering if remote work is right for you. That comes down to a lot of personal factors and preferences. Do you have a ton of self-discipline? Could you stand the idea of working from your couch every day?
Regardless of your opinion, there’s no negating the fact that the remote workforce is steadily growing. The tech industry is no exception, as many companies are seeing the benefits of employing remote coders. There are even online coding bootcamps that can help prepare you for all these new job openings. So, get ready to polish your resume and hop into your favorite pajama pants, and you could one day become a remote worker too!