So You Want to Work Remotely…

Whatever your reasons for seeking remote work, here are a few things to consider as you decide if it’s right for you. 

Remote work can be isolating. 

If you’re a person who thrives on having other people around you, working at home can get very lonely. For several years, I was in and out of our offices each month to visit with my teams. I found it energizing, and dare I say entertaining, to have others around me throughout the day. Heading to the kitchen for snack meant time to interact with people I ordinarily wouldn’t in my everyday. In some ways I miss that a little.  

You will be home literally all of the time.

Unless you make a conscious effort to leave the house, you will be home 24/7/365. I have been in ruts where I didn’t leave the house for a full week except to walk the dog and get the mail. I’ve countered this with:

  • Moving my morning workouts to the gym
  • Shifting some of my errands to other days. 
  • Browsing the book or craft stores after work. 

Savings in commuting costs may not be realized. 

Yes, in the long-term you will save on automotive or transit costs, lunches out, and clothing expenses. What most people don’t realize is that your internet and home energy needs will change. These changes can look like:

  • Internet upgrades to meet employer minimums. 
  • Maintaining ethernet cables, landlines, or other special equipment. 
  • Purchasing a router/modem over continuing to rent from your ISP.
  • Increased electricity usage simply because you’re home for more hours of the day. 

You may also still need child care. 

Working remotely doesn’t always afford parents the ability to care for their kids all day long. Some companies do have policies in place that require you have child care during your working hours. You may be able to accomplish this for less cost than a daycare center by having an in-home babysitter. This is less of a concern if you have older kids that can fend for themselves.

Where are you going to work?

Nearly every job posting I’ve looked at for remote work requires a quiet, distraction-free, professional space to work. Some may have requirements on backdrop depending on the kind of work you’re doing. Make sure you have a space in your home that meets the employer’s requirements. 

For me, my desk is in a corner of my bedroom. I have a moveable screen that I put behind me for meetings and other video calls. My team is required to have a quiet place to work with a professional looking background or plain wall behind them because our work requires video calls with customers.

Some companies will monitor you. 

While you’re on the clock some employers will monitor your activity. Methods will vary depending on the company and may include:

  • Software to check mouse movement or clicks.
  • What’s open and/or active on your computer at any given time and how you’re interacting with it.
  • Require you to be on camera for regular verification that you’re at your desk and working.
  • Accessing your microphone to listen to your office environment.

A company can make consent to monitoring a condition of employment. Be sure to ask during the interview process how work is tracked and monitored. Make sure you’re comfortable with their policies before you accept an offer.

You will need alternate places to work. 

Inevitably, you will have days that your power goes out or your internet is down. You will need multiple back up plans to combat this. 

I have the ability to hotspot off of my phone for a couple of hours before I need to either head to one of the three cafes nearby or go to my parents’ house for a bit. Taking a PTO day is my last resort if none of my back up options are available. 

I hope that this have given you some food for thought as you consider remote work or inspired questions for you to ask in your next interview. Working remotely is something I personally enjoy doing and I want the same for others that embark on this journey. Is there anything you wish you’d known before you started working remotely? Let me know in the comments! 

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