Remote Work Is Coming - What Is It Bringing?
03 Oct 2019 Matej Ramuta
You’ve might have seen plenty of articles lately talking about remote work. More and more companies are embracing this type of work, many are thinking about how to do it and some have started out as a fully-remote company from day one. One of them is SmartNinja.
Are you thinking about working remotely? Let’s go through some advantages and disadvantages of remote work.
Avoiding high rents in big cities
Rents in cities like Boston, New York, San Francisco, etc. are huge and that’s why many people from those cities need to live in shared apartments even in their 40s.
Of course, higher wages and more opportunities attract people to big cities, but not everyone can get their dream salary.
If the company you work for allows remote work, you can have a pretty decent salary and have your very own place (even a house) in a smaller town instead of having to share an apartment in a big city.
Of course, some people may have other reasons for wanting to live in a big city, but if you are able to work remotely, you at least have a choice.
Less commuting - less stress
Apart from high rents, big cities are also very busy. No one likes the traffic in rush hour which not only takes away precious time from you but it’s also very stressful.
Instead, working remotely brings you more joyful time to spend with your friends and family or to discover the world if you decide to try out the “digital nomad” route.
Needless to say, less commuting is also more environmentally friendly, if your commute vehicle uses fossil fuels.
One of the companies that embraced remote work is Xerox, which in 2015 reported that this approach saved their workers from having to drive 92 million miles which reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 41,000 metric tons.
Companies save money
The same Xerox report also revealed that the company saved over $10 million due to allowing their employees to work remotely.
Besides traveling expenses, a significant cost for companies is also office space. If a company embraces remote work, it can either have less office space or none at all (depends on whether they go partly-remote or fully-remote).
As a remote worker, you can allocate your time better if you don’t have to sit in an office 8 hours straight. Sometimes it happens that you need to run an errand or visit a bank during the daytime which can be difficult to do if your company requires you to be in the office during all your working hours.
If you work remotely, you can be more flexible in designing your working hours and you can take some time off in-between if needed. Of course, you still have to take into account the schedule of other remote co-workers so that you are in-sync if you work on the same project.
But the nature of work is shifting from time-based work towards task-based work, which means it’s up to you when to complete a certain task as long as it is completed (within a reasonable time).
Working remotely also means getting used to a different way of communicating with your coworkers. All communication becomes digital, using chat, email and video calls.
The ability to adapt to this is also a generational one. Young workers can adapt pretty quickly because this kind of communication comes natural to them. They already use chat and video calls to talk to their friends. Older workers, on the other hand, may find this approach a bit more challenging.
But there is also an interesting positive side-effect to this. You can be interrupted less while working. Of course, you need to first turn off all the annoying sound and visual notifications that are, unfortunately, always turned on by default in chat apps. But on the other hand, if you work from home, there’s no coworker around that would appear at your desk out of pure boredom and interrupt you when you are laser-focused on your task at hand.
Less bonding between employees
Less physical proximity means less bonding between coworkers. Of course, if a company is not fully remote, but only partly, this is not an issue because coworkers still see each other in person a few days a week.
But fully remote companies, on the other hand, need to organize occasional employee retreats to address this challenge.
As with the previously listed disadvantage, this one will also not affect you if you work partly remote.
But if you’re working fully remote from home, you could get lonely. After all, people are social creatures and we need other people (physically) around us.
SmartNinja is a fully-remote company. So how do we tackle this problem? By working from coworking spaces. Every team member lives in a different city and visits a local coworking space where they can socialize with other people. It’s like being with coworkers but from other companies.
As with everything, remote work has both advantages and disadvantages. But the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages and the latter can also be quite easily overcome. Especially if you don’t go fully remote, but instead still visit the company office once or twice per week.
Either way, not everyone can work remotely, though. For example, occupations like carpenter, waiter, medical doctor, etc. must always work in-person, and not remotely.
On the other hand, an occupation like a programmer gives you more freedom to choose whether you’d like to work in an office, or partly remote or even fully remote. So if you’d like to learn programming, make sure to check out our coding courses down below! ;)