Remote Work: Pros, Cons, and Strategies for Success

By Shlomo Satt

The work atmosphere in the USA is radically changing. With communication being facilitated through technology more and more, Americans are working from home at an increasing rate. A 2016 Gallup poll revealed 43% of Americans work from home at least part of the time, up from 39% in 2012. Whether it’s by choice or by necessity, the reality is that remote work is increasingly common. What are some benefits from working at home and how can you maximize your remote work experience?

There are several benefits of working from home. An obvious benefit is increased flexibility and autonomy. Sarah White, a Monster.com contributor, says “People who work from home have an easier time eating healthy and striking a manageable work-life balance… which will make for a happier and more productive workday.” The idea of having a better work-life balance is appealing to many, which is a prime motivator for those who choose to work from home. However, there are some disadvantages as well when working from home. Personally, I work remotely a large portion of the time, and one of the biggest struggles that I face is the lack of direct feedback available. When working in an office, it is much easier to ask a manager or co-worker for their help or opinion. When working from home, these interactions usually occur through emails, text messages, or calls, which isn’t always a guarantee. All people have their own schedule, and if immediate feedback is needed, it can be more difficult to procure when working from home.

There is also the risk of decreased productivity when working from home, for a variety of reasons. To prevent any dip in production, George P. Linke, Jr., the Founder and President of Linke Resources LLC, identifies several key skills when working from home. “When working from home, you should make sure to have a dedicated work space, plan out your day, and avoid home distractions.” Having a specific workspace will set the tone for yourself to focus on productivity and the work you need to get done, according to George. Additionally, by creating a plan, you will be able to pace yourself to complete all your tasks. Lastly, distractions at home can be a major time waster. It can be a pet clamoring for attention, a distraction from another family member, or even the prospect of staying in bed longer. All home distractions add up and decrease productivity. “Ensure that your distractions are managed,” says George, “hire a babysitter, if need be, or even prep food and snacks beforehand, if that is a distraction.” With these key tips, your chances of a successful work experience is significantly higher.

There is one final caveat to add when discussing remote work. Even if you minimize distractions and create an ideal working space, there are some personality types that are more suited for remote work and others that are more suited for traditional office work. Geoffrey James, in an article for Inc.com titled “Is Your ‘Personality Type’ Right for Working Remotely?” mentions several character traits that correlate with successful remote work. Two of the main traits included are being introverted and self-disciplined. Those who tend to be more introverted do very well in secluded atmospheres where they can focus alone, whereas those with more extroverted traits thrive in open office spaces with others around them. Additionally, self-discipline is absolutely necessary when working remotely. In a traditional atmosphere, motivation isn’t hard to acquire, whether it be seeing others working or the potential for a boss to check-in on your work. At home, neither of those motivators are present. When making the decision to work remotely, carefully consider whether you fit the personality type to be successful and if working remotely would be a wise decision.

How often do you work from home? What are some key skills that you have learned from your experience? Would you recommend others to work from home as well? Click here to join the conversation.

Shlomo Satt is the communications manager for Linke Resources, LLC. Linke Resources has a demonstrated track record of placing well qualified professionals that advance the clinical and programmatic needs critical to an organization’s mission and financial health. Linke Resources has extensive experience serving individuals with behavioral health needs, intellectual disabilities, autism and other developmental disabilities. To learn more about how Linke Resources can make the hiring process efficient, successful and stress-free, call 610-873-4813.