My last post - Five Benefits of Working Remotely -- highlighted my top five advantages of remote working. But working remote is not for everyone. Here are my disadvantages of working remote.
Lack of community. I am less distracted than working in a traditional office but there are times when I miss the culture and community of face-to-face interactions with colleagues. It’s harder to build relationships as “out of sight, out of mind” can come into play. Remote workers need to be proactive in keeping up with company culture and communicating with colleagues so you don’t feel out of the loop. I recommend going into the office at least a few times/month if you can.
Collaboration has its challenges. If you need collaboration to do your job, remote working can be challenging. But with tools like Google Drive, Uberconference, Dropbox and Slack, it is getting easier. I find myself having to be even more organized than I already am to ensure I take advantage of all phone meetings so they are the most productive. The longer you work remote, the more you realize what’s important and what’s not and to focus on what’s critical.
Managing remote workers requires trust. Whether you’re working remote or one of your employees is, either scenario requires trust. As a manager, you have to be ok with not seeing your remote worker every day and trust that work is getting done. Set clear deliverables for accountability and weekly meetings are a must. As a remote worker, your have to be a proactive communicator with your boss to ensure he/she is informed. You also have to trust that your co-workers and boss have your back since you’re not in the office every day.
Access to all technology platforms. Working remote can limit your access to all the company’s tech platforms so research this. I’ve had many instances where remote access to the company shared drive was an issue. When this is the case, setting up a Dropbox folder (or something similar) is critical. Also, if you are working remote and using your own computer, you must have a reliable backup drive to save all company files in the event of computer issues.
In spite of these disadvantages, I still prefer working remote. Having the flexibility is key. A mix of remote working with some office work is my ideal situation. But if you’re thinking about taking the remote working plunge, you need to be:
Disciplined (and not easily distracted)
A great communicator
Comfortable with social isolation
Organized and Resourceful
If you are, the concept of the traditional office work is changing and remote working can be a new exciting way to work. Enjoy it!
If you agree, disagree or have other thoughts, tell me what you think.