Excited about the idea of getting a remote job? You’re not alone: One in four workers is seeking a new challenge as confidence returns to the economy.
But before choosing a remote job, ask yourself a few crucial questions.
Why you should reflect before choosing a remote job
“It’s honestly not for everyone,” said Bryan Reese, director of human resources at Virbela, a remote-work software company.
To be successful in a 100 per cent remote environment, you have to be tenacious, self-managed, organised, and a little outspoken. It’s so easy to be lost in the ether when you no longer have physical run-ins at the office.
But let’s say you’re absolutely convinced you want to work remotely permanently. Not all remote positions are created equal, and it’s important to consider what kind of setting would be the best fit for you and allow you to thrive.
“It’s important for professionals to know how they work best. Do you need to be around people for higher engagement or do you work best not being around people 24/7 for better engagement?” said Jeremy Tudor, CEO and career strategist at Career Brand Story, a resume coaching company.
“Also, some companies have fully embraced the virtual worker, and others accept it out of necessity. You need to consider the work culture.”
Here are a few questions to ask yourself while job hunting:
1. Can I handle minimal supervision?
When you work from home, your boss will naturally expect results and engagement even when you’re not physically present. In order to thrive in a fully remote environment, you need to be extra proactive, communicative, and resourceful.
If you’re not used to finding solutions by yourself or if you like getting answers to questions at the drop of a hat, then maybe you should rethink having a remote job.
2. Do I have enough discipline?
You also need to have enough discipline to handle potential distractions, especially if you’re planning on working from home. From parental duties to the temptation to take a long break and procrastinate, it can be tough to stay motivated and present.
“As someone who has worked multiple remote jobs over the years and now runs my own remote business, I wish people realised how much discipline it requires to work from home,” said Mark Daoust, CEO of Quiet Light Brokerage, which helps people sell their online businesses.
“Between all the possible distractions and the lack of a boss looking over your shoulder, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to do your work.”
3. How are the hours?
Some jobs require employees to be online at a certain time for a certain number of hours, while others only ask you to finish your tasks and don’t care as much about when you’re online.
You need to ask yourself how the company you’re considering approaches hours, because it will help you imagine what kind of schedule you’ll need to set for yourself.
If you would rather work on your own terms, a remote job is not magically going to provide that. So, look into your potential employer and how the company’s stance on scheduling fits into your vision for a remote work lifestyle.
4. What does a typical day look like? What does the company expect of me when working remotely?
Consider what your day-to-day life will look like.
Perhaps you’re an introvert and love the idea of powering through deliverables in the quietness of a coffee shop. Maybe you dream of more flexibility.
If your team expects you to be on back-to-back Zoom calls all week, your remote-work fantasies could turn into a nightmare that will have you missing office life.
“I want to know what my autonomy looks like,” said Tudor.
“Am I on a set schedule where they expect me to be on my computer, or do I have the flexibility to pick up my kids, do some laundry, and manage my day while still getting my work done?”
5. How do I feel about communication style within the company?
“There are apps that companies use to communicate with each other,” Reese said.
“Aside from that, make sure you know the limits, like cut-off time, daily or weekly check-ins, and their expectation from you in terms of communication. You need to know these things to see what you have to deliver if you accept the job.”
So whether you hate Slack or love using Google Docs, understanding how teammates communicate and collaborate — and asking yourself whether you’re OK working through those channels — is key.
This article was originally published on The Ladders.