Work in your PJs, avoid the commute, answer emails from a hammock while sipping a pineapple daiquiri—you’ve heard the common benefits of working remotely (and yes, they’re true!). But there are some things that might surprise you about what it’s like when you don’t have to go into the office every day.
Take a look at these 10 ways your life can be different when you work remotely, then go out and get that great remote job you’ve dreaming of!
1. Your Office Can Be Any Kind
You’ll probably work from home if you work remotely. But that doesn’t mean you have to have fill a corner of your living room with a clunky desk, a huge monitor, and an ugly rolling chair. You can fit your office wherever it fits in your life. I’ve heard about a remote worker who uses her kitchen breakfast bar as a standing desk (all those health benefits with no investment!) and one who converted part of her bedroom closet into a “hidden” office so she can just shut her work away at the end of the day.
2. Your Office Can Be Anywhere—and I Mean Anywhere!
And you’re not tied to your home, either. That doesn’t mean your only other location will be the coffee shop around the corner: You can take care of your job while traveling (passengers only if you’re in the car, please!), enjoying the great outdoors (thanks to long laptop battery life and tethering to your phone), or even listening to your favorite band at a live concert (a tested and true location of a remote customer service manager I know who’s a die-hard country music fan).
3. You’ll Save Money
Of course you’ll see an immediate difference in your bank account when you don’t need to bear the costs of commuting. But you’ll also find savings in other areas. You won’t have to force yourself into a suit and polished shoes anymore if that’s not your style—no more separate wardrobes for work and for the rest of your life! And you can also save on food costs since you’ll easily be able to whip up your own lunch and coffee if you work from home.
4. Your Schedule Can Be Your Own
A lot of the work that can be done remotely nowadays can also be done on a flexible schedule. For example, if you’re a web developer or a content creator, you can most likely do your coding or writing whenever it suits you as long as you meet your deadlines. So, night owls, rejoice! You can still put in your eight hours without starting at 8 AM.
If you do need to work specific hours, you’re sure to still have some break time—time you can use however you’d like! Even if you have just 10 minutes, you can do something that just wouldn’t be possible in a traditional office: bust those samba moves, play a few tunes on your guitar, or take a refreshing power nap. You’re guaranteed to come back feeling more refreshed than you would after 10 minutes at your desk surfing Facebook.
5. You Can Learn More and Become More Independent
Because you don’t have colleagues just a few feet away or a tech team one floor down, you’ll find yourself developing the skill of looking for your own answers and becoming more proactive to find what you need on your own. Of course you can still ask questions and get help if you need to. But, a lot of the time, you can do a Google search, download a free guide, or check out your company’s wiki to find the answer yourself just as quickly.
And you’ll also end up with some skills simply because you need them to work well remotely. For example, you’ll probably notice that you’re writing more clear and concise emails and being more sensitive to your team’s different schedules out of necessity once you’ve worked remotely for a while. Not bad things to be good at!
6. You Can Actually Have Enjoyable and Effective Meetings
I bet you don’t know anyone who enjoys meetings. (No amount of free coffee and donuts can make up for having to sit in a stuffy conference room next to the pen-clicking guy from sales!) When you work remotely, you’ll not only be able to choose your breakfast and your seat, but you can also be much more effective. With just a few clicks, you can have 10 people on a video call that’ll probably last just 15 minutes instead of 45. And you can use the chat function in the video call to quickly share docs (forget making copies or having everyone search their emails) or to add important comments without interrupting anyone.
7. You Can Keep in Touch More Easily—and Maybe Have Some Fun Doing It!
Most people are afraid that they’ll be lonely or left out when they work remotely. But the opposite is usually true, as there’s a huge range of communication tools for remote workers available now. Some will even let you have a little fun together with features like emojis, chat room “bots,” or silly effects in video chats. With them, you can celebrate a colleague’s birthday by putting on a virtual top hat and monocle in your Google Hangout instead of suffering through an out-of-tune round of “Happy Birthday” and a grocery store cake!
8. You Can Keep in Touch More Effectively
Because you don’t have everyone physically around you all the time, you become much more aware of the importance of keeping in touch. Instead of just knowing that you can pop around the corner to chat with Rena about the site redesign whenever you like, you know that you need to write her or at least have a video chat. So, either in the process of composing your message or planning the meeting, you’ll refine your thoughts and questions and end up saving time for both of you when you do have that discussion.
9. You Can Stay More Focused
With some willpower and a steady routine, you’ll soon learn to avoid being distracted by the TV or your next load of laundry. And, in fact, you should find yourself getting more done when you work remotely. That’s because you can control your working situation much more—you don’t have to worry about co-workers stopping by to “just ask a quick question” (and 20 minutes later...), obligatory socializing when you grab more coffee, or offending someone by shutting the door to your office. When you’re remote and need to really concentrate, you can just change your status in the group chat to “do not disturb” and buckle down.
10. You Can Avoid Office Politics
There’s the old saying about relatives that “You can’t choose your family,” and the same goes for your co-workers. You might not be best friends with everyone when you work remotely. But, because idle chatting and time just hanging around the break room isn’t possible, remote workers tend to skip the gossiping and posturing that happens in traditional work settings. And that’s a huge bonus for everyone involved, isn’t it?
Photo of woman in chair courtesy of Shutterstock.
Adda is CEO and co-founder of Skillcrush, an interactive tech-learning platform with friendly instructors, an active student community, and laser focus on helping you achieve your career goals with technology. With her self-taught tech skills, she has built sites for the New York Times and MTV, and her work has been featured in the BBC, Fast Company, NBC, and Mashable. When Adda isn't developing or teaching on Skillcrush, she enjoys falling into Internet rabbit holes.More from this Author