By Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder
Last week, we published a detailed article explaining the benefits of remote work for businesses. This week, we’ll delve into the benefits and risks of remote work for workers. At 10x Management, we have a great deal of experience placing high-level freelance tech talent in both onsite and remote positions. Considering the outcomes of a lot of these engagements, it’s clear to me that remote work with the right talent is just as effective, if not more so, for raising productivity and completing a job for both workers and businesses. Let’s take a look at how remote work benefits workers as well as some of the trade-offs.
The Benefits of Working Remotely for Workers
- Increased Independence
Telecommuting provides employees the opportunity to complete their work without constant reminders, direct supervision, and office distractions. Greater freedom and independence lead to greater fulfillment and output. Maintaining a level of self-control is essential to overcome home distractions.
- Increased Savings
Remote employees have less need for formal clothing, which amounts to savings each year in both new purchases and dry cleaning. Remote workers also do not incur commuting-related expenses, such as gas or public transit passes and parking fees, and can save on lunches out and childcare. More savings leads to boosted disposable income, which often leads to higher morale.
- More Flexibility
This depends on the job you have, but telecommuting often lends itself to flexible hours, meaning if you have something you need to do during the day, you can simply do it. If you are more productive at certain hours, you can adjust your schedule accordingly to meet your needs.
- No Commuting
The environmental advantage of this has already been stated as a benefit for companies, but I think it’s safe to say that this benefits everybody (including you and me!). No commuting also means remote employees have more time to focus on things they love, like spending time with their families, taking the dog for a walk, sleeping in, you name it.
- Balance – Happier, Healthier
Working remotely provides employees a greater sense of work-life balance, which leads to more productive, happier, and healthier lives. Telecommuting is good for mental health, as it lowers stress levels and gives employees an opportunity to tailor their work to their own specific needs.
- Time Is On My Side
The Rolling Stones might have been onto something with this one. Working remotely provides employees with more time for physical activity and staying fit – workers can sneak in a quick run or bust out a few pushups throughout the day.
- Feel More Engaged, Productive and Connected
Though it may seem counterintuitive, a recent Gallup report found that remote workers are actually more engaged and productive in their jobs and feel more connected to the company for which they are working than their office employee counterparts. Once again, feeling more engaged in a job lends itself to stability in work and life.
Potential Trade-offs of Working Remotely
- Less Likely to Be Promoted
Unfortunately, according to most studies, telecommuters are less likely to receive positive performance reviews than office employees, which can be attributed to manager subjectivity. However, this depends on the company for which you are working and the steps you take to make yourself invaluable to the business.
Tips to make yourself more visible: Call your boss every couple days to catch up, and call co-workers; send a weekly progress report to your team and boss so people are aware of your work; communicate – I cannot overstate the importance of communication to your success. If you are a good communicator, it is likely that most people in your organization will know the value of your work.
- Lack of Routine
Some remote workers can struggle with the lack of a schedule, finding it difficult to feel motivated or work efficiently.
- No Work Social Life
This is why many remote workers prefer to come into the office at least one day a week, or possibly do their work in public places like coworking spaces or coffee shops.
Some remote workers will struggle with “switching off” from work, while others have trouble switching on. Working at home means all of the distractions of your personal life, both good and bad. This is where being self-motivated and disciplined come in. There are many steps you can take to fool proof your flow to avoid interruptions.
Remote Work Provides Many Benefits for Workers (It isn’t for everyone though)
People who are not self-motivated, need supervision, and thrive on being in an office should continue to work onsite at an office. It takes a special kind of employee to work at his or her own pace in their own environment, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Everyone has different work styles and preferences, so knowing how and where you work best is essential. Any employee seeking a finer work-life balance that can manage his or her own schedule and stay self-motivated is likely to thrive working remotely.
Still not sure of the benefits of remote work? Here’s a chart that summarizes the benefits for businesses and workers:
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You might enjoy reading, America’s Freelance Revolution – 60 Million U.S. Workers Will Go Freelance by 2020.