Pros and Cons of Working Remotely

Interestingly about 18 years ago, I presented a business plan to move my office to go completely remote.  Relocated from Pittsburgh to Atlanta, my staff was always running late or having to leave early.  It was quite mind blogging to me.  But if you are familiar with Metro Atlanta, then my office was located in the North Suburbs and I had employees coming from the South Suburbs.  Some of them were commuting for an hour each way.

We were installing a new system, when one of our IT guys said to me. You can work from home on the weekends, just need to log into our secured system.  Can this work for my employees? I guess, but would need to get clearance from the Executive Board.  Working on a business solution for a couple of months, I presented it to my boss.  Once approval was granted, then it was sent to the Executive Board.  And quickly was approved, with the expectation that production could not go down.

The rules for working remote are the same today as they were 18 years ago…

Benefits

*Flexible Working Hours

This is a common belief, however, it has to come with a little bit of reason.  If you are working for a company (whose hours are 9:00am – 5:00pm) in the customer service area, then flexible working hours is not going to come in to play.  The flexible comes in the form, of extra or over time working.  Working to complete a project after hours.  Doing an outside activity, and having the ability to still be able to put in a full days work is where the flexible work hours come into play.  Taking naps and working out is part of my daily routine, but still being able to put in a solid 8 – 10 hour work day is not affected.

*Work from anywhere

This is the # 1 reason to work remotely (in my opinion). Working on projects in Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, my local library, my work-sharing space, or home.  While on vacation, not a problem.  Just needing my labtop and internet connection…and I can complete your project.  Some of my best projects have been completed, while vacations on a Caribbean Island.

You can only imagine, how relaxing and creatively stimulating to hear the roaring sounds of waves, sun bathing, drinking on a fruity drink.

*No dress code

While I am not a huge fan, you are working remotely.  Maybe an occasional video conference might forces you to get dressed.  Most meeting are via phone and if you are in your pj…well guess, what no one is going to notice.  Some have argued that the pj look is very relaxing.  For me, getting dress and removing myself from my bed…triggers my mind for home time to work time.

*Save money

If you are use to driving to work, then the wear and tear on your car…as well as, gas should be a saving.  The cost of a wardrobe is a saving.  From my personal experience, my biggest saving was lunchtime meeting.  Preparing lunches have replaced going out to eat 5 times a week.

Issues

*Limited Social Interactions

Can you live without the constant gossip from your colleagues?  Business gossip.  Sports events gossip.  Latest reality show gossip.  Getting the latest information about an establishment near your employment.  The argument of you can reach out and speak to a colleague to get the latest gossip does not work, because when you work remotely …your downtime has to coordinate with that person.  If you know that you have about 2 hours of work to complete and need to be done in 2 hours, then you are not going to be able to talk on the phone for 30 minutes discussing the latest gossip.

Also there is something about coming into an office and saying “Hello” “Good Morning” “Good Bye”…we are creatures of habits and these are things which we are conditioned to do on a regular basis.

*Many Distraction

Television (mainly cable) is the biggest distraction.  ESPN.  Daytime Soaps.  Lunchtime news. All can take your attention away from work and to something not productive (from a work prospective) at all.  Mid morning laundry.  Getting a few more hours of sleep.  Driving to the park to clear your head.  Watching your child school play.  Catching a daytime baseball game.  Having lunch with your spouse/family member/friend.

There is an illusion that working remotely is not as hard as in the office.  This is FALSE!!!

*Communication

The inability to speak to your boss.  Not wanting to make a call on a huge issue.  Not having support system tools to make sure you are providing good information.  Communication can be a huge issue.  Do you rely on your boss to make all the decision?  Do you need to bounce ideals off colleagues before pulling the trigger?  These type of support system safety nets are not in place in a remote environment.

While I have been working in a remote environment for over 18 years, I still maintain an office.  I do go into my office several times a week. You have to know what your strengths and weakness are…

If you are a startup or mid size company in need of a better on line presence, then I am available and can be reached at info@jdswebdesign.biz or 678-718-5489.

Image courtesy of Thought-Catalog.

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