Whether the idea of working from home is new to you or you’ve been dreaming about it for months now, it’s important to have realistic expectations before making the leap.
You love your job in customer service, but you’ve had enough. Enough of the early morning alarms, long commutes and that one co-worker who doesn’t seem to understand personal boundaries (can’t he see you’re trying to work?!). I don’t blame you.
The good news is, you have options. And you’re not alone in your quest for a workspace and style that’s more ‘you’. No longer an unheard of work arrangement, many are choosing to skip the confines of their office and work from the comfort of their own homes. (Myself included.)
Actually, since 2005 the amount of people who work from home has increased by 115%, which is 10 times faster than the rest of the workforce, and 3.7 million employees work from home at least half of the time, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com And from the looks of it those numbers continue to be on the rise.
Working remotely has been slowly demystified over the years. We’ve learned that it doesn’t really take fancy tools, a strict list of do’s and don’ts and it isn’t reserved for only certain job titles. But instead the desire to truly understand what you’re signing up for and the drive to succeed. Which honestly should be the case whether you’re heading into an office or not.
To save you some research time, we’ve put together a rundown of how to find a remote job, the pros and cons along with a few tips to succeed as a remote employee to send you off on your new career journey.
The Pros of Leaving The Office Behind
It’s important to remember that regardless of where you’re working from, remaining professional is of utmost importance. Working from home doesn’t mean out of sight, out of mind. You’ll still need to show up to do the work and abide by the schedule and boundaries you and your employer agree on. That aside, working from home is pretty awesome. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Easier To Get In The Zone: From a productivity standpoint, working from home is great for people who work do their best work when they’re on their own and in the zone. For example, I’m an easily distracted person. Being able to sit down at my desk, close the door and not have to worry about unexpected visitors popping by means I’m able to actually get work done. Of course, this situation will vary depending on whether working from home involves kids, pets, significant others etc. But we’ll touch on boundaries and workspaces further down in the post.
More Control Over Your Schedule: I’m sure you’ve read a post or two already about being able to work whenever you want, from wherever you want. While some stories may extend the truth a little bit (seriously, I have yet to see anybody actually working from the beach), being able to have more control over your schedule is a serious perk. Schedule flexibility could mean total freedom over your working day or at the very least it could eliminate the morning rush and commute – every employer is different.
Work From Anywhere: Would the pro list really be complete without this one? Work from your office, work from a coffee shop, co-working space, cabin in the woods, in a new country, while visiting your hometown. As long as you have wifi, you can probably make it work. The point is, you can work whenever is best for you. And what’s life without a little variety?
Of Course, There Are Cons
As with many things in life, with the pros come the cons. Working from home is not for everyone. There’s the potential of turning into a real-life hermit, it’s easier to slack without the watchful eye of a boss or fellow co-workers, and with increased freedom comes the need for serious discipline. But knowing the potential downsides means you’re more prepared to face them. Here are a few common roadblocks when it comes to working from home:
Goodbye Water Cooler Chats: This could also be a pro depending on your personality type, but many people find that after a while they miss interacting with co-workers on a daily basis. Of course, many companies use tools like Slack to keep in touch, but even as an introvert I’ll admit it’s just not the same connection as in person.
Distractions: Freedom and flexibility come with a price. A friend who also works from home said it seems like if the house is a mess, their work life is in order. But when things are spotless at home, it probably means they’ve been procrastinating or avoiding their work. The point of the joke is that even working from home there are going to be a million distractions beckoning you. Netflix, a full fridge, children or significant others vying for your attention, the option to just leave the house whenever you please. Stay strong.
Feeling Out Of The Loop: Honestly, this is very dependent on where you work. It’s becoming more common for companies to have a fully remote team and understand the importance of strong communication. But others haven’t quite caught on yet, or perhaps some of their staff is remote while the other is in the office, meaning sometimes you may be left feeling like the forgotten employee.
How To Find A Remote Job
Finding a remote job and negotiating remote work could be a whole post of its own. But there are a few basics to cover to get you started in the right direction.
Like any job search, make sure your resume is up to date, update your social profiles and be clear about your intentions. That being said, make sure to do your research. What kind of companies are you interested in? How can you transfer your skillset into working remotely? What are those companies looking for in an employee? As you search, see if there’s room to brush up on skills or perhaps adding new ones to your repertoire – especially if you’re looking to move into a new field.
Ok, ok. I know what you’re really thinking. WHERE can you actually find remote jobs? Some favorites amongst remote job seekers include:
- We Work Remotely
- Remote OK
- Authentic Jobs
For a few ninja hacks on finding remote work, check out this post from HubStaff.
Or Negotiate Remote Work
On the other hand, working from home doesn’t always mean you have to find an entirely new job. There’s always the option to negotiate a remote working arrangement with your current employer – a popular strategy mentioned in the infamous 4-Hour Work Week.
This is actually the route I took when I first began working remotely. Before I made my move I agonized for a couple months about how that would never be an option. Then I decided to follow one of my favorite sayings, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
So, I scheduled a time to talk with my manager, prepared myself to be able to discuss why I wanted this and what that would mean for the company and…it worked! Within a week’s time, I was working part-time from home.
In my experience, my company had a mixture of remote and in-office employees so the idea wasn’t completely far-fetched. I was one first employee outside of the web developers and designers in our agency to be able to work remotely. I also tried this in my very corporate job and was told that’s just not that way things were done. Don’t refuse to try it out, but also be prepared to have to pack up and move on if your heart’s truly set on working from home.
A Few Quick Tips
We’ve gone over the pros, cons and how to find remote work. But before I send you off to search for you dream remote job, here are a few last tips that have helped me and countless others get in the groove of working from home (or wherever you choose).
- Create a designated workspace.
- Find a routine that works for YOU. Some people wake up and get ready as if they’re going into the office, others prefer the pajama chic look and starting later.
- Remember to get out of the house. See friends. Go for a walk. Whatever you have to do.
- Find a community. Whether that means keeping up to date via slack with your co-workers, finding a co-working space or joining work from home groups. Don’t make working remotely a isolating experience.
- Set boundaries. To some people it might just look like you’re browsing the web all day (agh!). But regardless of other’s opinions, let people know that when you’re working that means you’re not available. Not to hang out, chat, give a ride, do a favor, because ya know, you’re working.