Sometimes ‘It’s Gonna Suck’: Ground-Level Insights on Remote Work From Remote Workers
We talk a lot here at Recruiter.com about remote workers, the benefits of flexible work programs, and the changing workforce. These discussions often center around an interview with an expert on those topics. But what about the remote workers themselves? What do they have to say about the situation?
The folks behind Remote.co, a resource website for companies interested in or already embracing remote work, wondered the same thing. That’s why they’ve launched a new section of their website that gives real remote workers the chance to express their thoughts on their careers and how working remotely impacts their daily lives.
“Reading how real remote workers and digital nomads work this way can help everyone, from people considering remote work to people who’ve worked remotely for years,” says Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of Remote.co and FlexJobs. “Remote work comes with its own positives and challenges. Rather than just talking about them in theory, we wanted to hear what works and what doesn’t from the folks who put remote work into practice every day.”
Over on Remote.co, remoter workers have answered 32 different questions covering a number of different topics, including how to get started as a remote worker, the impact of such work on workers’ personal lives, and the “digital nomad” phenomenon, a lifestyle in which employees are constantly traveling as they work.
Below, you’ll find a few of the answers we found most interesting, amusing, or helpful.
What Advice Would You Give Someone Considering a Remote Job?
“Make sure you’re good with deadlines and self-motivation. It’s incredibly easy to become distracted if you rely too much on outside guidance and management to get things done,” says Colin Wright, digital nomad and author of Exile Lifestyle.
“Remember that it’s gonna suck,” says Scott Hanselman, a program manager for Microsoft. “They’ll forget you exist. They’ll ask ‘When are you coming up next?’ and they don’t know how to set up the camera.”
How Do You Avoid Becoming Distracted When Working Remotely?
“I believe that it is critical to have a secure, dedicated space to work,” says Karen LaGraff, vice president of employee relations for Xerox Corporation. “In other words, a real work space, not sitting at the kitchen table or on the sofa. It helps to have a room with a door. The room to my home office has a door, and when I am in there, my family understands that I am ‘at work.’”
“I set a list of what I have to get done for the day. I stick to this and try my hardest to get it done. If I get distracted, then I’m working more hours but will only log eight … so I’m essentially working much longer hours for no benefit. That helps me stay focused,” says Dawn Pensack, a curriculum writer.
Would You Consider Returning to a Traditional Office Job, or Are You Remote for Life?
“I cannot imagine ever going back to a 9-5 or traditional office environment. Once you have gotten a taste of this amazing freedom, there is no way back. I really enjoy working in different locations and environments, and it really contributes to my creativity, my productivity, and the connections I make,” says Conni Biesalski, CEO of Planet Backpack.
“I would do it in a job I really loved in a city I really loved, provided I never have to wear ‘business casual’ again or count up vacation days,” says Randle Browning, head of content for Skillcrush.
How Do You Cope With Feeling Lonely While Working Remotely?
“I have several hours of video meetings per day, my virtual coworking group, and my evening collaboration sessions,” says Lisette Sutherland, director at Collaboration Superpowers. “Even though I am on my own in my home office, I’m almost never alone. And while I have plenty of virtual interactions with people, I still make an effort to spend time outside with my friends and family.”
“As an introvert, I am open to being alone and actually prefer it to get work done. But I also know that it is critical to stay connected, so our team will schedule recurring lunch or dinner for us to get together. We even have a ‘virtual water cooler’ conference call where we only talk about non-work items to get to know one another on a personal level,” says Kelli Neely, IT learning and program development manager for Dell.