What Nobody Tells You About Remote Work
You deserve to know it all before you jump into working remotely and 'take the shocks' straight away.
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I've been working remotely for almost three years now and was always amazed by how people idealize this lifestyle without experiencing it themselves firsthand.
For me, remote work is more than just a benefit your employer agrees to offer. A recent study said that 10 percent of workers in the European Union--around 25 million people--work remotely, with those numbers expected to continue to rise. It's a lifestyle I personally wouldn't be able to stay sane without. Just like some people are a better fit for office life, others thrive best working from their homes or anywhere really.
This being said, working remotely is not a good fit for just anyone. It's not that magical solution that will let you slack and binge-watch your favorite TV shows. There's more to remote life and how it can help you.
So if you've stumbled upon this article because you're considering to go for a remote job, read on as I tell you my honest findings on it. The bad and the good.
It's damn hard to find a remote job.
You've probably already realized this yourself by now, but finding a job within a distributed team takes considerably more time and effort. Only small startups and agencies are looking to work with entry-level employees with no previous experience working remotely. For these, your only choices are internships and non-paid positions.
Companies who actively hire remote employees and are known for their remote work culture commonly look for experienced senior professionals. That's why you'll see so many employers ask for 5+ years of hands-on experience. Plus, the competition is fierce for younger workers since you're going against people with 10 or more years of activity in the workforce who are looking to get a taste of the remote life too.
Getting used to working remotely can be hard.
There are several "shocks" you'll experience in your first months of working remotely. Time zones are totally different, it can take hours for someone to answer your questions, you'll have to deal with urgent matters alone, you might find yourself slacking or indefinitely postponing your duties... And so many more difficulties you might have not have stumbled upon before.
Most people face these struggles successfully though. Ninety percent of those who already work within remote teams claim they wouldn't go back to regular office jobs despite all hurdles. The challenges remain more difficult to face for remote employees who are part of teams that aren't fully distributed. These workers are faced with extra communication issues and feeling disconnected or often even left out of the whole picture and team meetings.
Loneliness can take over the best of us.
Humans need social interaction. But unless you take regular breaks to see your friends for a chat or opt for a co-working space, you might not get to see anyone for hours. Days maybe. Forty-six percent of people experience loneliness on a regular basis. And that's in general. Remote workers are at an even higher risk of experiencing extreme loneliness and eventually other problems like depression or social anxiety as a result of long periods of seclusion.
Having meaningful in-person interactions are commonly noted as a top difficulty by remote workers. That's why choosing the right communication techniques and having regular video calls with the rest of your team is vital. One-on-one meetings, for instance, will give your subconscious small reminders that you're not in this alone and another person's waiting for the results you need to deliver, keeping you productive and less prone to periods of inactivity during work hours.
Not all remote jobs pay better.
You read that right. Coming from a country where wages aren't the best, you'll find a huge financial safe haven going for a remote job. If you're already used to a good salary and just expect more, well, that might be not so realistic. The average salary for a software developer working remotely is $66,000 per year. Meanwhile, the average regular salary for a developer according to GlassDoor is $76,526 per year.
The thing is that, as already noted, with remote jobs you've got mostly either entry-level jobs or senior positions with few in-between options. Most high-paying management positions remain available for in-office jobs [or you those jobs that demand you to travel for business purposes every month]. Many of the companies that seek distributed team members want remote teams because this reduces their costs anyway, so budgets aren't always friendly with salaries.
You can go days without getting out of the house.
When you work remotely, there will be times when you'll spend extra time working beyond the regular eight hours. This is because it's so easy to completely forget about that fine line between personal time and work-related stuff. Ultimately, you find yourself spending countless hours at home, but this also makes going for a walk or playing with your dog in the park even sweeter,
To fix this, you need a schedule or routine to stick to. Maybe work for six hours, then take a break and put in the remaining 2 hours for administrative tasks in the evening. Or take a whole day off during the week and take care of your tasks on Saturday. Depending on what your company's policies allow.
Still here? Good, because remote work is amazing nonetheless.
All bumps in the road aside, the remote life is damn good.
You'll get more rest, save money, use your boost of energy for a side gig or hobby, cook your own fresh lunch, work from a quiet environment, and maybe even organize your time the way you want it. Complete with the much-needed breaks you need to keep your mental health in check.
So, where will you take your career next?