One myth of working from home is that it will solve all the problems that bother people in the office, like dealing with annoying coworkers and office politics. But the fact is that remote work has issues too—and those issues clash with certain work styles and personality types.
To help determine whether you are right or wrong for remote work, consider the following questions:
Do you like to feel a part of the action?
When you first read this question, your initial thought may be, “Of course, who doesn’t want to be in the center of things?” Yet some people prefer to work behind the scenes, finding office environments distracting. This latter group is best suited to remote work, since rather than feeling disconnected or out of the loop by working offsite, they feel empowered to hone in on their project work.
If you experience a feeling of being left out rather than a feeling of freedom when you are physically removed from your company and coworkers, then you may be wrong for remote work.
Do you prefer frequent social interaction with colleagues?
While some of us find connecting with peers in the office to be the most meaningful part of our workday, others are perfectly satisfied with less in-person contact, feeling just as connected when communicating with others via email, phone, or digital platforms.
If you’re the type of person who thrives on the communal energy of an office hive, then you may feel deprived of this social juice when working alone in a home office. Think about whether you get most creative by having individual time and space to ponder, or if you rely on camaraderie and group spaghetti-throwing sessions to generate ideas and perform at your best.
Do you get frustrated by frequent interruptions?
An irony of working from home or in other remote environments is that you may find yourself interrupted even more often than in busy corporate environments. That’s because not only do you have the possibility of home-related interference from family or roommates, but you’ll also likely be juggling frequent pings from your team and boss back in the office.
Other kinds of interruptions are more self-imposed. If you can’t walk by a pile of dishes in the sink during working hours or feel that you have to toss in a load of laundry before you can get to your projects, then you may find yourself falling behind on your deadlines when working remotely.
Do you have trouble focusing if you’re not in the office?
Because of the aforementioned dishes and laundry that may vie for your attention as a remote worker, some people have a hard time carving out the needed space to achieve critical tasks for their team and clients. You might not be right for remote work if you snap into a more productive mode when you walk in the doors of your company office, yet want to slouch on the couch watching TV when you’re at home.
Remote workers must be very self-disciplined to succeed, so evaluate yourself honestly and decide which profile you fit.
Do you enjoy having clear boundaries around your workday?
Another huge myth of working from home is that you’ll have a lot more time to do everything you want. While it’s true that you’ll likely gain more flexibility regarding when you can get various things done personally and professionally, you may actually find that you’re even more bogged down in work-related communication and projects than you were when you were office-bound.
One benefit of a traditional work environment is that there’s a clear start and end to your working hours—you walk in the door at 9 a.m. (or whatever your start time is), and at some point, you leave and go home. These visible boundaries don’t exist for remote workers, who may find themselves cranking out deliverables around the clock, unable to separate themselves from the constant stream of communication from their colleagues. If you need the clarity of 9-to-5 to get your job done, then you might not want to sign on for remote work.
Understanding your needs and preferences can help you decide whether remote work is the right fit for you or not. By matching who you are as a professional with what you need to do your best job, you’ll be happier and more successful in whatever role you take on.
Interested in finding a remote position? Browse open remote jobs.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com