Switching from office to remote working practically overnight is a familiar story for many professionals who have been working over the last few months through the pandemic. With that has come a newfound flexibility and work-life balance for some, who have enjoyed not commuting or having more control over their timetable.
As we transition into a new era of work, remote working as part of a hybrid work arrangement is looking likely to become far more common as employers and employees alike have realised that many traditional office-based jobs can, in fact, be done successfully from anywhere. Despite going against what
Which way of working is right for you?
Working remotely certainly won’t have been easy for everyone, but over the past few months many have enjoyed the benefits it has to offer. Perhaps you feel more productive at home than in the office? Or maybe you’ve improved your work-life balance? Has a lack of commute got you starting each day more refreshed and in a positive mindset?
The good news for those in this position is that more and more companies are now offering remote working as a long-term option to employees. If you plan on going down this route fully and making remote working your permanent arrangement, here are some things to consider first to ensure it is the right option for you.
Where, honestly, do you work more productively? Working remotely requires high levels of discipline and motivation, as well as strong communication skills and ability to work well on your own. Even if you do possess these qualities, you might still prefer the energy and environment that close proximity with colleagues can provide. To assess your productivity, think about how many tasks or projects you complete on a typical day at home vs. in the office, and how easy you find it to complete these tasks.
Self-confidence underpins the careers of many successful professionals and is especially crucial if you are working remotely. You need to be comfortable with virtual communication, presenting your work over camera and owning your time each day. You’ll also need to be a confident and skilled communicator in order to build strong relationships with colleagues despite not physically being with them in the office.
Balancing your laptop on one knee while sitting on the sofa isn’t a long-term solution – if you are working remotely permanently, you’ll need a specific room or area in your home to dedicate to work. It will need to be fairly quiet, free from distractions and appropriate to take important calls in and deliver presentations over camera.
When your manager has much less visibility, as a remote worker, you may feel a particular need to be seen as being productive and prove value. This might turn into overworking and a work-life balance which is tipped too far into the ‘work’ direction. Moreover, those inevitable homely distractions, such as children, pets or a ring of the doorbell, might make it harder for you to focus during the day, causing you to spend your evenings catching up on work. Think about mindful time management if you choose remote working full time by setting boundaries to maintain your work-life balance and avoid burnout.
Having less face-to-face time with your manager might make it harder for them to assess your skills and identify relevant training for you, compared to an office-based employee. You will therefore need to be proactive about asking for training in the areas where you think you need to upskill and be prepared to do so somewhat independently. It’s important that you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, demonstrate your commitment to learning to your manager and take the time to regularly update your CV and LinkedIn profile to reflect this.
Use this as a starting point to assess whether it is right for you
While there is more to consider when determining whether remote working is the right option for you in the long run, consider these five things as a starting point. The immediate benefits of working remotely are tempting, and it certainly suits many as a long-term arrangement. However, I’d recommend giving it proper consideration before you dedicate yourself fully to a different way of working.