Perhaps you dream of trading city life for a sunny, tropical beach. Or your motivations may be less exotic, such as being home to greet your children after school. Whatever your reasons, you are thinking about making the switch to remote work. But is it really the right fit for you? Here are some considerations to think about.
Are you physically equipped?
You may picture yourself with your computer in your lap and your feet in the sand. But the physical requirements of your work may limit just how remote you can be. Does that tropical beach have access to high-speed Internet lines? Can you get clear, reliable cell phone service from your poolside cabana?
You’ll need to make sure that you have a quiet space where you can work without distractions from family, roommates, or holiday-goers. Preferably, this is a dedicated work space where you can keep any paper files and supplies you need to do your job efficiently.
You will also need to have the equipment you need to get your work done; at a minimum, this means a reliable computer with the latest version of the Microsoft Office Suite and high-speed Internet access. Some remote jobs may require you to have a webcam, a headset, specialty software, or a dedicated phone line. Although some employers will provide the equipment and software you need, many remote workers are responsible for the cost of these items, especially if they are working on a contract or freelance basis.
Are you financially equipped?
Working remotely can save you money—on transportation, clothes, after school care, or even rent if you choose to relocate to a less expensive locale. But it may wind up costing you more than you save. In addition to the equipment needed for remote jobs, be prepared for the following potential costs:
- Renting co-working space, if you don’t have a quiet spot at home or if you will need to host clients for meetings.
- Upgrading your Internet access and/or phone data plan.
- Providing your own health, dental, and vision insurance. Keep in mind that individual plans are often much more expensive than group plans.
- Saving for retirement. If you are a contract or freelance worker, you won’t have an employer matching your retirement savings, so you will need to at least double what you contribute.
- Getting life insurance, accidental death and disability, and other coverages routinely provided by employers.
- Hiring an accountant. Especially if you are a freelance or contract employee working for an employer in one country but living in another, you will want a pro to help you figure out your taxes.
Are you mentally equipped?
Having a remote job has many mental health benefits. You won’t have to deal with rush-hour traffic, sit in a cubicle under the fluorescent lights, or listen to your annoying coworker cracking his knuckles for the umpteenth time.
Working remotely isn’t the right fit for everyone, though. Ask yourself the following questions.
Are you good at setting boundaries? You’ll need to set clear expectations with your family and roommates to respect your work time. You’ll also need to set boundaries for yourself for when you will get your work done. Otherwise, leisurely mornings can easily become leisurely afternoons, or work can creep over into your free time.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Introverts may thrive in a remote work setting where they can put their energy into work rather than into the social niceties required by an office setting. Extroverts, however, get their energy from being around other people and may quickly find themselves lonely and miserable spending most of the day by themselves.
Do you like your job?
A change of scenery may be just the boost you need to get over the work doldrums, but remote work isn’t a magic cure-all. If you generally don’t like the work that you are doing, you probably still won’t like it when you are doing it from paradise. Make sure you are clear on why you want to work remotely and whether a remote job is really the change you need.
More and more people are choosing to work remotely, for a variety of reasons. Before you decide to go remote, however, make sure that the reality having a remote job lines up with your expectations.
To get started on your remote work journey, search our latest remote work job listings.