Who wouldn’t want to work remotely and go location independent? It’s perfect to explore the world, to learn about other cultures, to travel, to have adventures, to be different. Just look at all those Instagram posts tagged with #remotework and #locationindependent – the travel guide section at the airport is boring in comparison.
Unfortunately, those images more often than not disregard a crucial ingredient about working remotely: you are still supposed to be working! As a remote employee that usually means 35-40 hours per week, often with a predictable schedule that might clash with all those activities available around you.
Myth #1: Remote work means you can work from everywhere
Working remotely means you do not have to drive to a location mandated by your employer. However, you still might have to adhere to certain rules that restrict where exactly you work.
You probably need a strong internet connection to log into your company’s network and to communicate with your co-workers. The 4G connection at the beach resort might not be the best fit (and don’t get me started about the sand!).
If you are a team lead, you probably have several meetings with your team and other colleagues that require you to be available for video calls. While a coffee shop is great for writing or live chat, it might not be the best location for confidential discussions with your team members.
If you are hiring a remote team, make sure to be clear about what work environment you expect your new team members to create for themselves. If you are looking for a remote job, make sure to find out what you need to comply with before booking that flight to [insert remote island].
Myth #2: Remote work means you can work whenever you feel like it
Wildwater rafting in the morning, a bit of work in the afternoon – who wouldn’t want that. The reality often looks different. A full-time remote job is still full-time. Depending on the company you might be able to shift your work hours, but that doesn’t reduce the number of hours you need to be available throughout the day. If you are in a team that is responsible for a certain coverage per day, you might even be scheduled just as predictably as you’d expect from a traditional office.
You still save the time you’d otherwise be loosing in your commute. Being able to cook your lunch at home might improve your nutrition. However, that full-time remote contract still ends up occupying about 8 hours of your day.
Myth #3: Remote workers always do what they love
Let’s be clear – remote only refers to where you work, not what you do. Hopefully, you are working in a profession that you love. However, even the best job ever probably includes some activities that aren’t your favourite. And if you are a contractor, because the company you work for is in another country – at the very least you’ll have to make time for those pesky tax-related tasks.
Working remotely can be very rewarding, because it makes it so much easier to balance work and the rest of your life. However, it also requires motivation and a certain grit to make sure that you actually live up to those expectations even though no one is looking over your shoulder. After all, you are still working, even though it’s from wherever you’ve decided you are most productive today.
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