Before jumping into something new, we often weigh the pros and cons. What would the outcome be if X happened? How would Y benefit me? If you're just getting started with remote work or working from home, you're likely in the process of evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of this new work style and what they'll mean for you.
It's often helpful to hear from people with prior experience who have seen the pros and cons firsthand. We reached out to the work from home, remote work, and digital nomad communities to get their perspectives on remote work and working from home. Plus, we included tips for combatting the most common challenges of working from home. Keep reading to see what the remote work community had to say.
Remote workers report that increased productivity, better focus, and less stress are some of the top reasons they work remotely. When you work from home, you're less likely to lose focus due to in-office distractions like background noise or interruptions from coworkers. With increased focus, you can get your work done more efficiently.
Pros: less stress, greater ability to do focused work, being there for my family, more time for pretty much everything that matters (fitness, creative pursuits)— Scott Dawson (@scottpdawson) January 7, 2020
Cons: have to be far more intentional re: social engagement. It's easy to put systems in place to deal with other cons
When you work from home, you're likely flying solo most of the time. This can create feelings of isolation and loneliness, and can often have a hurt your health and productivity. It's important to build in time for social interaction, even if it isn't in-person.
Schedule a virtual coffee with a coworker or join a Slack community to socialize with other people who share similar interests as you. If you need even more inspiration, check out these tips to combat the work from home loneliness you might be feeling.
Started remote work three years ago and missed the "built in" community that an office comes with. And after a move to a new city, felt isolation even more. It pushed me to get creative with where I found my people (in physical sense) and with my work team.— Ashley Gatlin Sachs (@AshleySachs) January 7, 2020
If you work in a city, you've likely experienced the hassle of commuting. Whether you're taking public transportation or stuck in traffic, your mind might wander and think about all the other things you could be doing during your commute time. Studies have shown that commuting negatively impacts health and happiness. When you work from home, not only will you have more free time in your day, you're likely to see an improvement in your well-being too.
Pros, location freedom, no commute, time to spend with my people, in community, enjoying hobbies. Personal experience, better Comms, more intentional focus on trust.— Rose Barrett 🌹🍀 (@RemoteRose) January 7, 2020
Cons, isolation, career progression, stigma from those who don't understand remote "but do you really work?!" 🙈
Effective communication and collaboration can be hard to achieve when you and your colleagues are distributed across different locations. This means that the tools and strategies you use to communicate need to be thought out and intentional.
Determine which asynchronous communication tools you'll use (e.g., Slack and email) and make sure you have a consistent schedule for face-to-face conversations via video conferencing. When everyone's clear on the methods of collaboration, miscommunication will become less frequent.
Love this! Landing a consistent style of collaboration and actively promoting inclusion are areas companies need to explore for a positive experience for remote workers. These are key challenges for “hybrid” companies (HQ-based office workers, periodic wfh, and compete remote).— Julie Carey (@jcarey2424) January 7, 2020
Raise your hand if you have responsibilities and obligations outside of your day-to-day job? I'm sure most (if not all) of us have our hands up. Depending on your organization's remote work policy, you might be able to schedule your day to accommodate aspects of your life outside of work.
Need to run to a doctor's appointment in the morning? Go for it! Have to hop offline for an hour to pick up your child from school? No problem! Remote work gives you the flexibility to manage all aspects of your life, whether they're directly related to your work or not.
The biggest perk is the flexible schedule that allows me to be around for my son, but I also love that I'm showing him that a job doesn't have to be from 9-5 — your career can be on your own terms.— Erica Jackson Curran (@Calendar_Girl) January 7, 2020
My parents are in their 80's. I can travel to their home, spend time with them (and clean out the refrigerator) while working. The only con is they don't believe I'm working 😂— Kitt Miller (@netbaby1997) January 9, 2020
Co-Founder and CEO of Donut, Dan Manian, says, "The biggest myth about company culture is the idea that leaders can think about it later, as if it's something you can decide when you want to decide it".
If you have a team that's comprised of remote workers, company culture needs to be much more intentional. The ways remote teams get to know one another and collaborate are different than they'd be if everyone worked together in the same office. Luckily, there are remote culture tools and resources that can be used when team members aren't able to get together in-person. Remote leaders and managers need to remember that transparency is key for employees to have the information they need to work independently and feel engaged with their work.
We love our remote workers!— G&A Partners (@GAPartners) January 8, 2020
-Communication is more purposeful
-Flexibility of time encourages diverse hires
Cons (unless you're @GAPartners):
-Losing out on company culture
-Collaboration can be a challenge #remoteworkers #digitalnomads #wfh
The 2019 State of Remote Work report found that one of the top reasons survey respondents gave for working remotely was work-life balance. As we touched on earlier, the flexibility that remote work provides gives people the ability to better manage their obligations whether they're work-related or not.
You might feel more motivated to finish a project once you've taken a quick walk around the block. Or maybe you need to spend some time meditating to clear your mind before an important meeting. With remote work, individuals can structure their workdays in a way that supports their productivity and enables them to enjoy their lives outside of the 9-to-5.
We would have to say the habits that you are allowed to construct as a remote worker. For example, taking a short walk, going to the gym, having the time to cook healthy foods, meditating, and other health-related benefits become easier to do.— Remote Habits (@remotehabits) January 7, 2020
To me it pretty much comes down to feeling respected. A company that acknowledges that work should adapt to your life, not the other way around is a huge positive indicator. It is why our company is 100% remote and will always be. Happy team = great team!— Charles Vinette (@Charlesvinette) January 7, 2020
As more people begin working from home, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of remote work. Addressing any challenges head-on ensures everyone can work from home successfully. Do you have any tips for working from home effectively? Share your tips with us on Twitter @OwlLabs.