Excited about the idea of finding a remote job ? You’re not alone: one in four workers is looking for a new job as confidence returns to the economy. But before you choose a remote job, ask yourself a few important questions.
“Frankly, it’s not for everyone,” said Brian Reese, director of human resources at Virbela, a remote work software company. To succeed in a 100 percent remote environment, you have to be resilient, self-directed, organized and a little outspoken. It’s so easy to get lost in the ether when you no longer have physical problems in the office.
But let’s say you are absolutely certain that you want to work remotely all the time. Not all remote positions are the same, and it’s important to think through which environment will best suit you and allow you to succeed.
“It’s important for professionals to know how they work best. Do you need to be around people for more engagement, or are you better off not being around people 24/7 for better interaction?” says Jeremy Tudor, CEO and career strategist at Career Brand Story. “Also, some companies use remote employees all the time, and others use remote mode on an as-needed basis. You have to consider the work culture.”
Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking for a remote job.
When you work from home, your boss naturally expects results and engagement even when you are not physically present. To succeed in a completely remote environment, you need to be very active, communicative, and resourceful.
If you’re not used to finding solutions on your own, or if you like getting answers to questions without delay, you might want to rethink working remotely.
You also need to have enough discipline to deal with potential distractions, especially if you plan to work from home. From parenthood to the temptation to take long breaks and put things off, it can be hard to stay motivated.
“As someone who has worked several remote jobs over the years and now runs his own remote business, I want people to realize how much discipline it takes to work from home,” said Mark Daoust, CEO of Quiet Light Brokerage. “Because of all the possible distractions and not having a boss looking over your shoulder, it can be hard to motivate yourself to do your job.”
Some jobs require employees to be online at certain times for a certain number of hours, while others only ask you to complete your tasks and don’t care about when you’re online. Martin said you need to ask yourself how the company you’re considering fits the work schedule, because that will help you imagine what kind of schedule you need to set for yourself.
If you prefer to work on your own terms, remote work won’t magically give you that, maybe you have to use timesheet software. So look at your potential employer and how the company’s position on scheduling fits into your vision of remote work.
Think about what your daily life would look like. Maybe you are an introvert and like to realize results in the quiet of a coffee shop. Maybe you dream of more flexibility. If your team expects you to constantly call Zoom all week, your fantasy of working remotely can turn into a nightmare that makes you bored with office life.
“I want to know what my autonomy looks like,” Tudor said. “Am I on a set schedule when they expect me to be at my computer, or do I have the flexibility to manage my day while continuing to do my work?”
“There are apps that companies use to communicate with each other,” Martin said. “Beyond that, make sure you know the limits, such as end times, daily or weekly checks, and their expectations of you in terms of communication. You need to know those things so you know what you have to accomplish if you accept the job.”
So whether you hate Slack or love using Google Docs, understanding how teammates communicate and collaborate and how willing you are to work and communicate through those channels is key.