Isn’t remote work the most millennial thing? or whatever our generation is called. I always felt bad because I disliked having to go to the same place every day, having a strict schedule that I couldn’t change because the whole company would implode if I do that and having to commute 2 hours a day.
Remote work is a really interesting concept, me as a developer I find it useful, it means I can be in Vancouver (where I live rn) working for a Spanish startup. That is mind-blowing if you think about it, but this way of working has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Flexibility: You can enjoy working from anywhere in the same timezone as your teammates and some times companies let you work from anywhere in the world. You can schedule your own time because most of the communication will be asynchronous except calls and meetings.
- Save money and time: If you work from home, most of the time you won’t be spending money on transportation or buying food outside. I would have to spend money on transportation and food because I was too lazy to prepare some home-made food and bring it with me to the office.
- Exercise: For me, this is a huge pro, while I had to go to the office it was a real hassle to exercise during the day. Going to the gym, having to shower and change clothes would give me less than 30min to do something productive exercise. Now instead of investing my time commuting from home to work or having to wake up earlier, I can use that time to train and still sleep the same amount of hours.
- Quality time with family: I think this is more of a personal pro but working in an office usually made this harder for me. Working from home allows me to walk my dog more times during the day, even if they were short walks It increased his energy and happiness. Also, I was able to pick my brother from school more times during the week when I lived in Spain, and I am really happy I was able to do that.
- Work: I feel the more the company trusts me the more involved I am with it, I like feeling that while my job is well done time and place doesn’t matter for the company. The more time you spend at the office != the better your work is.
- Unmanaged flexibility: Working from anywhere in the world and having your schedule can be a blessing but at the same time can be stressful. At the beginning I struggled to focus at home, I got distracted at everything and it didn’t feel like a proper work environment. If you travel, some times finding a good place to work can be hard, then you start paying for a coworking space and that means commuting and sometimes spending your own money. Also if you don’t manage it right you will end up working more hours than you should or not disconnecting from work at all.
- Spend money and time: This is related to what I said before, depending on where you decide to work, you will still have to go to an office(coworking space) and you will still spend money on food and maybe transportation.
- The will to exercise: If you are not an active person, staying at home the whole day will not increase the will of doing sport. Having to commute sometimes gives us that fresh start in the morning where our body activates and gives us that feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. So you will notice that you will have to do an extra effort to be healthy and active.
- Loneliness: This is what I think the most dangerous disadvantage for remote workers. Even if you are a social person or someone that prefers to spend time with other humans from time to time, I think there is a minimum amount of social interaction that we need to maintain our sanity. Even going to a café or a library can make a huge difference in our mental health. If you are like me and it’s hard for you to talk to strangers and go to social events, I would advise you to maybe work in a coworking space near you, they usually introduce you to the other coworkers and the community.
- Not part of the team: If the company is not 100% remote, you can end up feeling like you are not part of the team. My company is not fully remote but we still do standups every day and try to communicate as much as possible, I would try to have as much interaction with my teammates as possible, having calls, video calls and writing on slack helps a lot.
The experience with remote work can vary depending on the company and the person, but still, I think remote working it’s a pretty new concept, most companies don’t fully understand what it means and aren’t prepared to introduce it to their daily activity. Even with all the flexibility that this type of work style gives us we need some type of structure to organize ourselves and not mix work with life. But if you manage to get used to it and you get to achieve a comfortable working habit, remote working can be an amazing experience and can improve the way you live and work.