If you’ve seriously considered remote work as an option, you’re probably quite familiar with its benefits and drawbacks. However, you should also be aware that reality is sometimes very different from theory and that not everything is as it may seem when you think about it for the first time. Also, you should bear in mind that remote work is just not great for everyone. It takes a special kind of person to be able to pull it off and you need to be sure you’re one of those people who know how to make the most of such situation, despite the disadvantages. To help you better understand what it takes to work remotely, we’ve prepared the following list of things you need to consider and ask yourself before you take the plunge.
How social are you?
One of the most obvious obstacles is the lack of social interaction that we so often take for granted. If you can’t live without in-person interactions and feel depressed if you don’t socialize with friends, then remote work is not for you. If you just want to stay at home and work from there, without changing your place of residence, your social life won’t suffer that much, since you’ll still be able to meet those you know and love. On the other hand, if you are one of those people who love meeting new people and cultures, remote work might be the best option for you, since you’d be able to continue working and making money, while at the same time traveling and pursuing personal satisfaction.
Do you have enough personal accountability and self-motivation?
Unfortunately, many people fail to realise that remote working does not absolve them from accountability and that they need to be able to complete all tasks before agreed deadlines without having a boss to control them or colleague to turn to help. So, if you don’t need someone to remind you about deadlines and you don’t rely so heavily on your colleagues’ input, you stand a very good chances of enjoying remote work.
Do you have the necessary language skills?
Many people are great at what they do, but the language barrier is simply too big an obstacle to getting a better-paid job or finding employment abroad. If you’re planning on working while travelling, it’s unrealistic to learn all the languages spoken in the countries you’re planning to visit, but you should at least have a solid command of English. Needless to say, you should constantly work on improving your English, as many digital nomads who find themselves in Hong Kong have already realised. That’s why they enrol in one of the reputable Monkey Tree ESL courses during their stay in this amazing part of the world.
Can you try it out before you make up your mind?
Just like you always get a chance to go for a test ride in a car you’re interested in, you should look for an opportunity to do the same with remote work. If you’re currently employed, ask your boss if you could work one day a week from home, just to see how it feels. Organise your time as if that was your normal daily routine and see how it works. You have to be honest with yourself and admit that there might be too many distractions at home and that you’re unable to work in such conditions. Alternatively, you could find a co-working space near where you live and see if that would be a better option.
How well do you communicate?
Working remotely requires excellent communications skills. That fact that you don’t have people around you all the time while working doesn’t mean there is nobody you need to communicate with. On the contrary, you’ll be involved in a lot of written communication, which means you should really know how to express yourself concisely and appropriately in writing. Also, you’ll need to use various tools to communicate with people and stay organized. There will be phone calls, conference calls, messages and e-mails and you have to stay on top of things at all times.
These are the most important questions to ask yourself before you start working remotely and it’s vital you answer them honestly. Of course, it’s normal to feel a bit apprehensive before making such a big change, but you shouldn’t let that fear prevent you from trying out something that might be so beneficial to you. After all, there is nothing stopping you from going back to working in the office if you realize that remote working is not for you. At least you’ll be satisfied to have given it a go and it will surely be a valuable experience.