If you have ever wanted to know if a remote job is for you, you will want to check out this article Work-From-Home: Remote Questions Answered. A remote work style can be very rewarding as it gives you flexibilty and is a new way to achieve work-life balance.
I was working remotely before the pandemic. I know some people who were forced into remote work due to Covid restrictions and they are not the right fit or were not mentally prepared for a remote environment as it is very different from being in the office. In this post, I want to give you personal insight and honest feedback about working from home.
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What is the remote work environment like?
One of the most important things about working from home is setting yourself up for success as you would in the office.
You will want to create a dedicated work space. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a whole room to create a home office, but think about the job you will be performing and what you need to perform your job well.
A sturdy desk and a comfortable chair are a must have. Make sure to have enough space to have manuals(if needed) or a book shelf, etc.
Pick a location of the house that will give you privacy along with peace and quiet. Remote employees connect through team meetings which are always virtual meetings. It’s very important to have a space where you can attend your meetings and not be disturbed.
Setting up your remote work space
Set up dual monitors and make sure you have an ergonomic work station set up such as your keyboard and mouse. Unlike the office, you won’t have the pleasure of having IT setting up your work station for you.
Make sure to have high speed internet set up and also a back up plan of somewhere to go if your internet is down. Depending on company policy or privacy issues, many companies don’t allow work to be done in coffee shops or airports.
Have your house in order. I know companies won’t tell you this- but I find it to be one of the most talked about things amongst remote workers.
Many of my neighbors and other coworkers/friends have said how challenging it can be to focus on work and have a pile of laundry next to you or unneccessary clutter around.
Designate what your work hours are and make sure to stay dedicated to work at that time and not do or worry about house chores.
Getting hired on a Work-From-Home team
Traditional methods of home interviews are you will meet through video calls. When I started working remote on my team, my interview process was in person. It started off with a hybrid model schedule- going in the office a couple of days a week and remote the rest.
Most likely your work location will be in another state. Preparing for your interview with some of the following questions is an excellent way to make a strong connection right away.
Questions to ask during your interview
Companies like to know if you have prior experience working remotely as working from home sometimes has unique challenges. Ask them what have their employees experienced. Many companies are big on employee surveys or anonymous surveys and get feedback regularly.
During the interview questions, it is important to ask what the company culture is and what is expected for employee performance. Also research what the employee feedback is for the company.
Other important home questions to ask is will you expect a regular 40 hour work week or can you flex your time. Will they expect you to be on the clock during their time zone or is this flexible? Will you have to travel to different locations or do they have any local offices with hybrid employees?
Be sure to ask during your home interview who will be your hiring manager, direct reports and team leaders. Who should you contact if you have to call out sick or have an emergency.
Another great question to ask is will you be in regular contact with your managers or other remote teams. A lot of remote team members meet every other week and only reach out to their boss for crucial issues.
Specific challenges working remotely versus an office environment
The work-from-home environment is such a blessing and it can also come with some challenges you wouldn’t normally experience in an office setting.
Training. Depending on your style of learning, training can be an issue as it’s done virtually. The best advice I can give on this is to check in on regular basis with your trainer or team leaders on how it is going. A good company will make sure you get additional help if needed.
Your mental health. If you have a lot going on at home or it’s not a healthy situation, then remote work may not be for you.
Communication style. Picture the following scenarios- you send an email but accidently hit a word in all caps. Your team mate is a very blunt to-the-point responder but you are used to lengthy responses. Everyone has a different communication style.
Sometimes it can be hard to read if you are only communucating through emails or instant messages. I suggest getting on a call with them as this builds rapport and trust. What makes a successful team is strong communication on a daily basis.
Team building and time management issues
Team building. It’s going to be way different than what you are used to in the office. No water cooler gossip or actual face to face connections. This is a new experience. I must say the biggest challenge I have encountered has been not having that sense of community or office friendships.
While companies are good about sending out a company-wide survey or having team building questions, it doesn’t replace good old genuine friendships. For this and your psychological safety, I would suggest making sure you stay in contact with your friends or make sure you still leave your house for your sanity. I am able to build friendships with some of my remote coworkers but not the entire team.
Keeping your personal life seperate during your work day. Having your house in order helps tremendously with doing your best work. Don’t waste too much time thinking about how the bathroom isn’t clean or other chores. The best thing to avoid mixing up work time and personal time is to treat it as you would if you were going into the office.
Waking up early to shower, having lunch ready or having time for yourself before work starts. It’s hard but make it happen. Use your breaks and lunchtime for you time. Step away from your work. When the work day is done, actually be done with it! An employer who wants to keep their remote employees happy will not expect them to check their emails or do extra work while not on the clock.
Finding the right work-from-home job
Finding a remote job will be based on your skill sets and what kind of work you are interested in doing. The main objective for remote work life is to do great work that you love. The most important thing is to think about what excites you and will bring you joy.
The best thing about work-from-home life
Here are 5 things I have found to be amazing about remote work.
1. Flexibility. My company is located all over the United States. Though my work comes from an office located in my hometown state, my managers and other coworkers are in the east coast.
This allows me to have an earlier start time.
Also they are big on family. If I need time off or need to take a longer lunch for a doctor appointment, I am able to do so.
2. Independence. As a team, we know our job and the expectations. Once we are on the clock, we get to work.
3. Zero commute time. When I had to travel to the office, it was 90 minutes each way, sometimes longer. That’s a big chunk of your day committed to being in a car or bus. I definitely don’t miss commuting!
4. Not dealing with office drama. No interruptions or annoying desk mates to worry about.
5. You can, technically- work in your pajamas! Aside from that, you don’t have to spend money on a big work waredrobe.
The cons of remote working
Remote jobs can be hard work. Companies do require productivity levels to be met and also have the ability the track when you are at your computer in work mode. This sometimes can seem micro managing.
Another con is if your internet goes down, what is your action plan to get work done. Some companies might require you to make up time if the internet outage is your fault. The best way to find this out is to make sure you know your companies policies.
Ready for Work-From-Home life
While there are pro’s and con’s to any working situation, I believe the good outweighs the bad. Working from home is the future of work as many smaller companies don’t have to worry about office space. In the end, find what works for you and your situation.
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