The pros and cons of remote working

By Mel Foster | Behaviour & Marketing Psychology

May 04
Remote working pros cons

Remote working has quickly become the most popular working environment thanks to Coronavirus.  

My strength is technical Infusionsoft support but since I have been working remotely for over five years, I thought I should share my experience. 

For people who have had to shift to working from their homes overnight, it can be overwhelming which is why it’s important to hear from people who have put the time in. I would appreciate the same courtesy if I ever moved back to office based work.

Working from home life

My home office is in my spare bedroom and I work just as efficiently as I have in any  office environment in my home which often evokes the question: ‘How do you do it?’. How do I remain so focused and keep going despite the cats climbing on my desk and my daughter interrupting to tell me some oh-so-important teenage business that really could have waited until dinner....                           

Even with these less than ideal factors, the pros of remote working far outweigh the cons, and in this blog I’m going to talk you through just what those pros and cons are.

What are the pros of remote working?

I imagine for many of you moving from a bustling office to a chaotic or overly quiet home environment has been a bit of a shock to the system. Once the initial shock wears off you may be able to identify the positives of remote working for you.

In the meantime, here are my main advantages of remote working:    

No commute - this may seem obvious but a lack of travelling to and from work has led to so many other great things: I save money on petrol and other needs for my car; I get to sleep in later and I get to start working refreshed instead of being drained from a long drive.

Improved concentration – remote working means I get more sleep and don’t  tire myself out from a commute, therefore my brain is in tip top condition for focusing on the task at hand and ignoring the distractions of my home. Even the animals fighting for my attention begin to give up.

Pyjamas – these days seeing me dressed before 5pm is quite a miracle. You see advice everywhere telling you to shower and get dressed before beginning to work at home...I disagree. Why wear a scratchy blouse and boring old pants when you could doss about in a dressing gown all day and get just as much work done?

Freedom and Flexibility – because I’m at home and not in some far-away office block, it’s much easier to pop out for an appointment or any of life’s other errands that arise. As well as this, remote working means there’s much less faff involved in altering my hours – doing an extra hour in the evening because my morning was taken up by a sudden vet visit with my adrenaline junkie cat has never been easier!

What are the cons of remote working?

Every story has at least two sides and the negatives of remote working are;

Isolation – although I’ve made some great work friends remotely and chat to them throughout the day, there’s nothing like some good awkward small talk when you bump into someone you vaguely know at the office water cooler. The numerous animals residing in my house can provide some good stress relief cuddles, but they don’t quite beat the community of completely different people united by one thing – the relief of 5pm.

Accountability – my boss and co-workers can’t see what I’m doing, so every time I complete or begin a task I have to log it and send a message explaining what I am/ have been doing. Although these messages do not take long to send, the process quickly becomes tedious, especially when you’re just trying to get on with something. As well as this, no one can see when I’m deep in a task and therefore do not know when to leave me be, so my concentration can sometimes be broken by a bombardment of messages and tasks.

Communication – the internet is an amazing thing, but its off moments are more felt when remote working. For example, in an office setting I could simply walk over to someone with an inquiry and get an instant response. However at home all of this communication is done via the internet, meaning some rather urgent questions are answered much too late, either because of slow internet or the other person being far too invested in their work to check their messages for a while. 

What are your top tips?

Everyone is different and some people need the hub of an office to do their best work but looking at business expenses, the environment and work/life balance - remote working is much more attractive. 

My top tips for settling into a routine for remote working would be;

  • Make a work space. If you don’t have the luxury of a spare room, find a space in your home that you can walk away from or close the door on at the end of the day. You need to be able to separate work and life.
  • Get out at least once a day. Hibernating in your bubble becomes really easy when your whole life revolves around your base but pushing yourself to go for a walk or head to the gym is really vital for your mental health. 
  • Plan your days. If you need structure to be efficient then plan your day out. Choose the best time for calls, lunch, breaks and focused work based on your needs and your environment.
  • Hone your communication skills. Everything needs to be visible so get used to having to type yes instead of just nodding your head.
  • Check in with your colleagues. Make time every week to check in with your colleagues on a personal level - don’t let the physical distance become a social one.

Automation Ninjas all do remote working, and always have been so if you want some advice on how we keep in touch and on track of tasks we’re here to help.

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(1) comment

Robert S. 7th May 2020

I agree that there have been both upsides and downsides to the remote work structure. While I personally enjoy the freedom and flexibility that it provides, I do miss seeing my coworkers on a face-to-face basis. Simply being in an office environment with others helps. Nonetheless, I like to think that remote work will be more advantageous in the long run.

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