If you’re an employee sitting at a desk right now, stuck in the mundane routine of the 9 to 5, you may spend your time daydreaming of working remotely and the flexibility (and tropical beach offices) it can provide. To determine if remote work is the right decision for you, it’s important you take the time to consider and weigh up the pros and cons.
Can you feel your stress levels decreasing already? No more sitting in bumper to bumper traffic crawling to your destination and no more road rage to contend with. Workers in major Australian cities can travel well over an hour to get to and from work each day. Results from the latest House, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey have shown that the average commute time is 66 minutes per day. Scarily this means you can spend almost 12 days commuting each year! By working remotely you can gain additional time each day which could be used for extra work or to invest in your health through exercise, eating a proper breakfast and getting enough sleep.
According to The Black Dog Institute, one in six Australians are currently suffering from a mental illness with depression and anxiety being the most common. Working remotely gives us the time and space to prioritise our lifestyle factors; specifically diet, exercise and sleep quality. It also allows workers to maintain a better work-life balance by being able to enjoy the world around them on a daily basis, rather than waiting for the weekend. They can spend time with their pets, go for walks, meditate, schedule needed appointments and better maintain social relationships. All of which contribute to a healthier mind and body.
It’s amazing what having power over your day can do for your outlook and overall happiness, not to mention your productivity. Some of us are naturally morning people and others are night owls. Some find workplaces distracting while others do their best work on the couch. As a remote worker, you will enjoy the flexibility to work from home, meeting new people in co-working spaces, enjoying the sunshine at the park, drinking too much coffee at a cafe or even travelling the world while meeting deadlines. No two days need to be the same!
Some remote workers actually work too often getting stuck into tasks from the moment they wake up until the time they go to bed. Many remote workers lose that ‘signing off’ feeling you get when you leave the office each day and will continue to check their emails and work on projects into the night. This can have drastic effects on relationships with family and friends and long term personal health issues with the brain constantly being active and the lack of quality sleep. To successfully work remotely, you need to prioritise downtime while remaining productive.
Remote work can become tough on the day-to-day of a professional if they don’t regularly interact with other people. While they might work in the comfort of their own home, they may go weeks without face to face communication. This can contribute to the feeling of isolation, which will ultimately impact a person’s mental health. While we may not all describe ourselves as social butterflies, humans are social creatures and therefore social interactions are important to maintain our happiness.
An office setting can provide a lot of distractions; chatty coworkers obsessed with reliving last night’s latest reality TV show episode is just one example. The home provides a different set of distractions including children, pets, the comfy couch and the sunshine outside just to name a few. When working remotely, there is no one to hold you accountable or to call you out if you are slacking off and watching too much Netflix. There is also no one who can nudge you in the right direction, provide inspiration or bounce ideas off. To successfully work remotely, you need an incredible amount of organisation and self-discipline to ensure your work is of a high standard and completed on time.
You truly need to understand how you work best before deciding to work remotely. While remote work is nirvana for many workers desperate to step out of the inflexible daily grind, it is definitely not for everyone and could have negative effects on those who need more structure and thrive in a social environment.
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