17 Pros and Cons of Working Remotely: Is the lifestyle actually worth it?
Wondering if the remote lifestyle is all it's cracked up to be?
You're not alone.
With images of serene beaches and cafe corners flooding our feeds, it's hard not to get lured by the idea of working remotely.
But is it really the dream it's painted to be?
Hey remote workers.
It’s Ben from Parallel here.
I’ve been working remotely and traveling the world full-time for the last 3 years.
We get lots of questions about whether the remote lifestyle is as good as everyone claims it is.
Is it all beach hopping, flights to new countries, and full-time travel?
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole range of benefits to living remotely.
And with the trend of remote work only soaring upwards, many of you might be contemplating taking the leap.
Let's break down the 17 pros and cons of working remotely, and see if this path is truly worth the hype.
🚀 The Pros
Before I settled into this remote-working life, I too was swayed by the Instagram pictures of beachside work setups and serene mountain backdrops.
But, after years of living it, it's time to cut through the dream lifestyle and talk real.
So, what are the pros and cons of working remotely? And is this lifestyle for everyone?
Here's my take:
1. Freedom to Explore
As a remote worker, your office can be anywhere. The world's your playground.
Imagine waking up to a Balinese sunrise or working with a view of the Swiss Alps.
The remote life offers an unparalleled freedom to choose your surroundings.
Today, I am writing this article in Cafe in Paris, last month I was in Morocco, and next month I’ll be in Mexico – all while making money.
2. Flexibility Galore
Tailor your work hours according to your peak productivity.
Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, it's all on you.
Need to take a midday break for yoga or want to work during your most productive hours?
Remote work allows that flexibility.
No more 9-to-5 shackles!
3. Ditch the Commute
Say goodbye to gridlocks and crowded trains.
Your commute now is just a walk to your home desk.
And on those slow days, your commute might mean not even leaving your bed…
Side note: I do not recommend this strategy long term.
4. Cost Savings
Believe it or not, if you land a high-paying remote job, you can save a bunch of money while living like a king or queen.
Think about it:
- No commute costs
- Fewer meals out
- No daily coffee runs
- Reduced wardrobe costs
- Earning USD, EUR, or GBP and living in a cheaper country
5. Work-Life Harmony
You get to design your routine.
As a remote worker, one of the main pros is that you can create a schedule where work and personal life co-exist perfectly.
For me, this balance has been a game-changer.
- I get to spend more time with my friends, go skiing in the winter, pick up new hobbies, and completely experience the new country I am living in.
6. Healthier Lifestyle
With more time, home-cooked meals, and midday breaks become achievable.
Here’s how remote work benefits your lifestyle:
- More Time for Exercise: Without the commute, you can easily fit in a morning run or an evening yoga session.
- Better Eating Habits: Being near your kitchen means more control over your ingredients and eating times.
- Less Stress: Without office politics and the daily rush, you'd be surprised at how much calmer life can feel.
- Regular Breaks: Stand up, stretch, or even do a quick workout without the confines of an office setting.
Less commuting doesn't just save you time and money.
It also contributes to a healthier planet.
To start with, you reduce your carbon emissions significantly if you no longer drive every day.
And secondly, your home workspace uses a lot less energy than an office.
Go green, go remote.
8. Skill Enhancement
Working remotely isn't just about the tasks you do daily. It's also about enhancing your skills.
And interacting with global teams can elevate your cross-cultural communication and digital skills.
Here’s how remote work helps with skill enhancement:
- Adaptability: Jumping time zones, and juggling tasks - you become adept at managing it all.
- Cross-cultural Communication: Collaborating with a team from around the world? You'll get a masterclass in understanding and respecting diverse perspectives.
- Tech-Savviness: Every remote worker becomes a mini IT expert, navigating tools, and troubleshooting issues on the fly.
- Self-discipline and Time Management: Without a manager hovering, you cultivate an inner drive that's unmatched.
9. Custom Work Environment
Here's the thing: You're in control.
Craft a workspace you love, with your desired noise levels and ergonomic setup.
Here are the best parts of a custom remote work office:
- Ergonomics Your Way: From stand-up desks to the perfect office chair, you decide.
- Your Ideal Ambiance: Whether it's complete silence or soft lo-fi beats in the background, you set the tone.
- Optimal Lighting: No more glaring fluorescent office lights. Now, you can work in the soft glow of your preference.
- Personal Touches: Your workspace can be a reflection of you, filled with plants, art, or whatever inspires you.
⚠️ The Cons
Alright, let's get real for a moment.
It's not all about sipping margaritas by the beach while you dial into a conference call.
Every coin has two sides, and the remote working lifestyle is no exception. There is some negatives to this way of living…
Here are some of the common challenges I've faced and some tips on how you might navigate them:
1. Feeling Isolated
Being away from a traditional office environment can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
And if you are traveling - you can feel even more isolated from everything you know.
Trust me, while those serene mountain views are beautiful, they don't make for great conversation.
You’ll miss your friends and family, your normal routines, and even your bed.
On some days you might even get sick of working remotely and miss the buzz of a busy office, the water cooler conversations, or your colleagues.
The best way to avoid social isolation is to get involved in the community you are living, attend social events, and have regular video calls with loved ones and even colleagues.
2. Distractions Aplenty
Home has its comforts, and sometimes, those comforts are a tad too... comforting.
One episode on Netflix can quickly turn into a binge. A scroll on social media can last hours.
To avoid this, it's important you set clear boundaries for your workspace.
Dedicate a spot for work and be strict about your work hours.
3. Internet Dependency
Imagine this - you're in a quaint café in Turkey, ready for a crucial client call, and bam! The internet dies.
Such nightmares are all too real in the life of a remote worker.
It's best to always have backup options. Portable Wi-Fi devices, local SIM cards, or even a list of places with reliable internet can be lifesavers.
4. Overwork Risk
Without the clear distinction of office hours, it's easy to overextend yourself.
That ‘one last email’ can often lead to midnight marathons.
It’s best to set clear working hours and stick to them. Make use of tools that can remind you to take breaks and wind down for the day.
5. Less Team Building
Virtual high fives don't quite have the same impact as real ones.
And team building? That's an uphill battle when interactions are limited to screens.
The Solution? Regular team retreats, virtual team-building activities, or even something as simple as a weekly non-work-related video chat can help.
6. Cybersecurity Concerns
Accessing company data from different parts of the world can expose vulnerabilities and risks.
Use VPNs, ensure strong, unique passwords, and regularly update and back up your systems.
Companies should also consider ongoing cybersecurity training for remote teams.
7. Adapting to Different Time Zones
Coordinating with a team spread across the globe can mean meetings at odd hours.
A 3 PM meeting for you might be 3 AM for a colleague.
Coordinating becomes a herculean task.
Thankfully, tools like World Time Buddycan help.
Also, creating shared ‘overlap hours’ where the entire team is available can make things smoother.
8. Feedback Delays
Immediate face-to-face feedback gets replaced by emails, leading to potential delays in decision-making.
Remember walking over to a colleague's desk for quick feedback?
In the remote world, that quick chat might take hours or even days.
The Solution: Set clear communication guidelines. Use tools that allow for instant messaging or quick video calls to simulate that 'desk walkover.'
Time to Take The Leap
So, there you have it – the highs and lows of the remote working life, straight from someone who's been living it.
Is it for everyone? Probably not.
But for those who can navigate its challenges, the rewards are plentiful.
Before diving in, weigh the pros and cons of remote work, equip yourself with the right tools, and keep an open mind.
The world is vast, and the remote lifestyle could be your ticket to exploring it.
Here's to your next adventure, whether it's in a bustling city cafe or a quiet beachside bungalow.
Safe travels and happy working!