Is Remote Work a Good Option for Me?

The prevalence of 100% remote positions has increased dramatically over the last three years. Ever since the country was forced to work from home during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees have come to understand the pros and cons of working remotely.

You can now filter job listings on LinkedIn and many other job boards by the format: in-person, hybrid, or remote. This adds a new dimension to the decision matrix when exploring career options. While a non-existent commute, permanent sweatpants, and the (potential) ability to “work from anywhere” may seem like a dream, it’s important to understand the challenges as well as the perks of remote work. So, how do you know if remote work is right for you? Consider the following:

1. Do you have access to a comfortable, work-conducive environment?

When I graduated from college, I was living in an apartment with five other women in an old, creaky apartment. I rarely had cell phone service and would have to walk down three flights of stairs to have a conversation. This would not be a great remote for environment. Think about what type of environment you would need to be able to focus and participate effectively in virtual meetings. This differs by person, but is crucial for succeeding in a remote job.

2. Does the organization offer opportunities for meeting colleagues and fostering relationships?

Some employers have this figured out, and others have not. It’s important to build relationships at work, so inquire about whether there are occasional in-person meetings or events, or whether there are virtual opportunities for meeting colleagues.

3. Are you someone who is energized by solitude or by groups of people?

Many people who were used to gathering regularly with co-workers to collaborate on a project or just chat reported feeling lonely and disengaged while being forced to work from home during the lockdown. Reflect on your own personality. Are you someone who derives joy and energy from conversations and social atmospheres? If you were not getting this from your work experience, how would you feel?

4. Do you have a strong grasp on time management?

Without the office environment, it’s possible to get easily distracted while working from home (or a coffee shop or a coworking space). Perhaps you have laundry to fold, a dog to walk, or bills to pay. Time management is a skill, and working from home is its own special skill. A remote worker must be able to determine how to “buckle down” and get work done so that work doesn’t spill over into personal time. The opposite can be true as well. If there is no separation between where you work and live, you may find that your work/life balance is quite imbalanced. Make sure to reflect on this topic and talk to people who work remotely to get a better understanding of what it might look like for you.

As always, if you want to evaluate your work options, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a career coach.

Julianne Smith, Associate Director, Career Education

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