It should also include reasons Companies are moving to remote work, mention ways to find remote work jobs, and explain the pros and cons (the reasons) people decide to become Remote Workers. This way we cover why Companies and why People become Remote Workers.
- Worker Pros
- Reasons why people want to become remote workers.
- Worker Cons
- Reasons why people do not want to become remote workers.
- Company Pros
- Reasons why companies want people to work remotely.
- Company Cons
- Reasons why companies might not want to support remote workers.
Pros and Cons of Remote Work (For Workers)
Being interested in remote work puts you in good company. After all, 80% of the US workforce wants to work from home at least some of the time (GWA).
Pros of Remote Work
Here are some the reasons that people want to work remotely — which ones matter most to you?
Working from home can be a great way to get quiet time to do technical and creative work.
When you can work where and when you choose you can eat better, exercise more, and avoid being exposed to sick co-workers — a major key during COVID.
Commuting to an office is expense, and working in an office adds other expenses such as food, drinks, clothes, etc.
The average worker can save $2,500 to $4,000 a year by working remotely half of the time.
Remote work puts a premium on outcomes. This allows people to work when they are most productive, and take care of errands, etc. as needed.
Remote Work can be more productive than working onsite, but this only for non-managers.
In a remote work environment, Managers have to be very intentional. They can’t rely on intuition to manage. They have to be more creative, over communicate, and be intentional about building culture — even more than normal.
What are your favorite benefits of remote work?
For me I love the healthier lifestyle. Working from home allows me to cook my own meals — my favorite is salmon and quinoa. This helps me manage my weight and save money.
There are other benefits of Remote Work — but they are unique to different arrangements.
For example, if you can work remotely 100% of the time you can live anywhere. For 20 years people have been moving to big expensive cities to be close to jobs — especially creative and technical jobs.
Now, people are moving to less populated and less expensive places: e.g. Nebraska or Vietnam. They can work their big city job from anywhere so why not someplace convenient.
Remote Work does have its challenges.
Cons of Remote Work
When thinking about the challenges of remote work it is important to consider 3 things:
We are social
Even the most introverted people need other people. Why? Because we evolved to need other humans. In nature we can’t survive alone; we have to have community.
We deprioritize and undervalue what we don’t interact with regularly. Survival has taught us to focus on what is in front of us — out of sight out of mind.
We must be intentional
Overcoming our nature requires us to be intentional. Being in an office surrounded by team members allows us to use our intuition and our innate social skills. We don’t have access to these evolutionary tools when we work remotely.
Before becoming a remote worker here are some things to consider, and tips to be successful.
Work can crowd out your personal life
Remote work eliminates the physical barrier between your personal and work lives.
Tip: Embrace this: schedule your personal events and tasks as diligently as you do your work events and tasks.
It can be hard to stay motivated
In an office environment, it is common for people to be motivated by teamwork, social pressure and comradery. When working remotely — especially from home, this source of motivation is absent.
Tip: One of the best things managers can do for Remote Workers is to connect their effort to the purpose for their work. When working remotely — similar to how presence gets replaced by deliverables — naturally emergent comradery needs to be replaced with purpose.
You can feel left out
I don’t mind missing out on impromptu hallway meetings and breakroom birthday cakes, but meetings with a lot of people that can make me feel so “other”.
When a lot of people are talking at once, the virtual people tend to be ignored — especially if they are a minority.
Tip: I find that working in Teams tends to solve a lot of the problems of remote work. Keep your teams small, focused on a deliverable. This makes it easier to stay in the know, communicate, and focus on outcomes.
Remote Workers tend to stay at positions longer
This might be because they are happier, but it is also because they tend to be less aware of new opportunities. Plus, unless managers are intentional about workforce planning, remote workers are easy to overlook — out of sight out of mind.
Tip: Remote Work emphasizes outcomes. It requires trusting workers to know how best to get work done, and measures success by outcomes instead of presence. Use this to your advantage.
Look for opportunities to expand your role. Even if it isn’t your current employer: companies will reward people for identifying critical gaps and reinventing themselves to fill them.
Working from home is not sustainable
A lot of people are most productive working alone from home — it’s quiet, there are no distractions, you can focus. However, this isn’t sustainable in the long term. Eventually everyone will feel lonely.
Tip: You need to be intentional about spending time surrounded by people. You might need an hour or two in a busy coffee shop. You might want to find a meetup, or conference to attend.
My favorite way to stay social is: I schedule a daily lunch. Sometimes I meet with clients, co-workers, friends, or just people I want to get to know better.
Working across multiple time zones = work more hours
An hour or 2 might not seem like a big deal, but over time working across multiple time zones creeps into your personal life.
People that work across multiple time zones often work longer hours. Plus, if the difference is significant 3+ hours, it can make it hard to find time to collaborate with your clients and co-workers.
Tip: When working remotely time management is about syncing time — not time sinks. Sure you can work whenever you want, but you should do your best to work similar hours as the people around you.
Try working between 7am and 8pm your local time, and make sure that you know when team members in different locations are available.
For example, if you have team members in Prague and you are in Chicago, you should be available for meetings from 8am to 10am CT everyday (3pm to 5pm in Prague).
Managing Relationships is hard
It can be harder to form and mend relationships. You need to be extra careful when it comes to your workplace relationships.
For example, yelling or shouting at a co-worker is never acceptable, but in a remote situation it is much harder to recover from.
Tip: The difficulty in building and mending relationships is why a lot of remote teams hold quarterly retreats and meetings. They budget time and cash to get the whole team together for some bonding.
Meetings can happen online, but relationships are best forms when we can use our whole person. As a social species our whole body has evolved to build strong relationships with each other.
- A Wife and Husband research team found in 2000, that remote workers are most likely to succeed when they work with people they have worked in person with (Interactions). While this research is 20 years old, this finding reflects my own experience.
- In 2018, ~33% of remote workers reported that they never get any face-time with their team, and 40% said it would help build deeper relationships (HBR).
Vacations are difficult.
A lot of remote workers feel guilty for taking vacations, or face criticism for taking vacation.
Since, managers and co-workers don’t see their toil they often feel that you haven’t earned your vacation. It is easier to feel that someone has earned this vacation, if you were there to see them struggle, toil, and the worn out expression.
Olson and Olson call this an Attribution Error: “If someone local is unavailable or out of the office, you attribute it to the situation, that something must have come up.
If someone remote is unavailable, you attribute it to the personality, that they are shirking, avoiding you, or are incompetent.” This attribution error can be why it is so hard to take a vacation or even unplug as a Remote Worker.
Tip: I have 3 tips for vacations, because they are important.
Vacations provide time to focus on ourselves and our families, foster creativity and exploration, and help us dive back into our work with greater motivation and focus.
Tip 1. I make taking vacation a routine.
I take 4 days off every 14 days. So I work 10 days and take 4 days off. I don’t take weekends — I have found going on vacation is more energizing. As a creative my first priority is to manage my energy.
Tip 2. Some companies have made vacations a routine for the whole team.
For example, Cloudera gives remote workers 3 to 5 off a month. This is to compensate for the blurred line between work and home, and the tendency for overwork when working remote.
Tip 3. Managers can normalize downtime.
As work from home has become more common during COVID, some companies are taking Friday’s off. When everyone takes off the same days no one feels pressure to work — instead the pressure is to relax and recharge.
But the most important thing is to make sure that your organization is committed to making remote work successful. Otherwise you can be doomed to failure.
You need to work for a company that knows how or at least committed to making remote work successful. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Tip: Companies that embrace Remote Work are very proud of that fact, and a great way to find these unique companies is through WeWorkRemotely.com. It is my favorite job board focused 100% on finding remote friendly jobs.
This training course will prepare you to maximize the benefits of remote work for both yourself and your company. You will also learn how to avoid bad habits and pitfalls that can make remote work unnecessarily challenging.
Our goal is to help you learn from our experiences, and develop a plan and the habits to make working remotely a fulfilling experience.
Potential Slide Content:
2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, top factors in making remote work sustainable:
- 39%: Introducing digital collaboration platforms
- 36%: Allowing for personal choice in determining how work gets done
- 31% Establishing new scheduling and meeting norms
- 24%: Investing in team leader training
- 23%: Providing home access to the internet and needed technologies
- 16%: Reconfiguring the physical workspace at home