Is a Remote Role Right for Your Personality? 3 Ways to Know
When I tell people that I’ve been working in a remote role for almost four years now, my words are occasionally met with disbelief. “I could never do that,” some folks tell me, wide-eyed at the thought of abandoning a familiar office filled with other human beings.
The next question I ask usually reveals the reason for their apprehension. It’s often one of three things:
- lacking interaction with other adults
- fearing a loss of professional visibility or influence
- the inability to escape one’s home (yes, some people do enjoy leaving home…daily!)
That said, all remote jobs are not one and the same. Some involve a lot of interaction with colleagues and customers, while others are much more behind-the-scenes.
Knowing if a remote role will be right for you is a bit more involved than simply seeking out jobs in your field, though. And (spoiler alert), while some traits are advantageous to have in these roles, there’s no single kind of “remote work” personality. Your success (or failure) is not predetermined.
So where do you start?
Begin by studying the role itself. You’ll get a sense of what a potential supervisor needs based on how the job description is worded. Further researching the company by reading its blog, following its leadership on social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn, and reaching out to any contacts who have some insider knowledge are other helpful approaches to gathering intel.
Next, ask yourself these questions to know if a remote role is right for your personality:
1. Is it a mission you can get behind?
Meaningful work is truly motivating, and according to Harvard Business Review, it should be every CEO’s top priority. Why?
When people believe they’re doing meaningful work, it increases both their productivity and overall employee happiness. These two items of are of the utmost importance in any work environment because of their close ties to revenue generation, company innovation, and staff retention.
Identifying remote organizations that offer you the kind of meaningful work you seek—whether it impacts industries, people, or the environment—will bring you closer to finding a remote role that’s right for you.
2. What will your daily tasks look like?
Assessing what your day-to-day work life could look like is another helpful way of deciding whether or not a remote role would be a good fit.
For example, if you’re comfortable with a fair amount of ambiguity, consider a remote position within a startup or similar fast-moving organization. If you’d instead prefer a more set structure with few deviations, a role as a distributed employee within a larger company might be ideal.
Consider whether or not you’d opt into either frequent or periodic travel. Your comfort level and familiarity with various tech tools (project management and other SaaS apps) also will influence the kind of work you might do. The key thing here is to find a role that suits your current working style.
3. How important is social interaction?
Perhaps counter-intuitively, this isn’t as simple as dividing people into categories such as extroverts and introverts. Remote jobs appear on more of a spectrum.
Believe it or not, there are remote roles that are very social in nature; so much so that you might regularly be interacting with more people more often than you did in a traditional office setting. Conversely, you can find some virtual positions where you rarely (if ever) have to speak to another person.
So a client-facing job or one that involves a lot of teamwork is going to be a better fit for those who crave social interaction, while those who prefer more autonomous work would likely thrive in roles with fewer required meetings.
Weigh your potential exposure to clients or colleagues with long stretches of uninterrupted solo time, and you’ll get a sense of where your preferences lie.
Readers, do you feel like you’re a good fit for a remote role? What pros and cons do you see in your own personality, as it relates to remote work?
By Kristi DePaul | January 31, 2017 | Categories: Work Remotely