Remote work is a work trend that needs to grow at jet speed. It’s a plane everyone needs to board sooner or later. But before that, it needs to be understood for what it is, and what it is not.
Here are a few common myths about remote work & a look at the reality, which is imporant before deciding for or against it.
#1 Remote work means working from your bedroom
While that may sometimes be true, that is not the only way of working remotely. Working remotely can also mean that you work while traveling, or working from your own private office, or working from some other place where your creativity and productivity is very high, like a cafe or park.
The idea behind it is to work from wherever you work best, and not be confined to a cubicle in an office which you barely tolerate. Many people face the “cubicle block” just like any other creative block, where they run out of ideas and inspiration the moment they land in their chair in their designated cubicle. Working from anywhere you like makes sure you have enough options to choose from to keep your inspiration and creativity at its peak. It also means, you don’t need to put up with colleagues you don’t particularly like and are not distracted every few minutes by people around you. You can be in your own world.
#2 Remote work is only for those who don’t know what they want from life
Quite the opposite. Most people who choose to work remotely have done so after weighing all their options and thinking long and hard about their lives and what matters the most to them. Au contraire, 9 to 5 office goers often fall into the rut of a daily routine and very often don’t even have the time to pause and think about what they want from their lives, much less follow what they want. Their routine keeps them tied to what they see as secure and tolerable, as opposed to what they truly want in life.
#3 Remote work means getting paid in pennies
This may be true for some people, especially those just starting out, but definitely not true as a rule. All the highest paid consultants work independently — and remotely. There are also several options for working remotely in a full time job, rather than going freelance, and getting a stable income.
#4 Remote work means the person won’t have any commitment to the work
This question should be raised not just for someone working remotely, but even for those working in house, from the company offices. Are they really committed? Commitment doesn’t mean going to office and sitting at your desk from x AM to & Y PM. Commitment is the decision to make something happen, and make it happen well. How many full time office employees really have this attitude towards their work? I can count it on the fingers of my one hand for some of the previous jobs I have been in.
People who work remotely often show a much higher commitment to their work, because it is their conscious choice to take up the work and their future depends on the success of their work.
#5 Remote work means doing everything yourself
If you work independently, as a one man army yourself, that is your choice. But you can find talent for every part of your work which you would find in an office, remotely as well. There are scores of people who are providing all types of services online, and at varying rates as well. Platforms like PeoplePerHour, Upwork, Hubstaff, Dribbble and many others have made talent available to whoever looks for it. Everything is available and can be outsourced if you search for it.
#6 Remote work cannot be a long term solution
Working on your own terms is the most sustainable way of working, because you have made that decision out of your own will and desire, and will have little reason to chuck it. You have chosen this because you are passionate about it. Any proposed long term solution can be truly long term only if it fulfills you in the long term. Even if it binds you for a long period of time, it may be long term, but it is only a long term suffocation, long term problem, not a long term solution. For many remotely working folks, this is true.
No work is perfect, and no work style is perfect. But remote work definitely offers enough flexibility to customize your life and your lifestyle as you want, and change it without much hassle. Most of the problems people face when they work remotely — lacking inspiration, mood swings, managing time, taking the right decisions, keeping at it — are not new problems, but just problems that get pushed under the carpet or are ignored because you follow a ritual of going to office and coming back. It is not that everyone who goes to office is distraction free and inspired all the time. But it is true that not everyone does something about it.
The pros outweigh the cons. Even the cons, like financial trouble, distractions etc push you further towards a bigger breakthrough, as compared with a regular desk job where you play the same tune every day and never wake up to how you are living your life and whether it really makes you happy.
Originally published at traveller.artiagarwal.me on May 27, 2017.