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Though you may not have noticed due to its gradual progression, the number of Americans working remotely is undeniably climbing. In fact, nearly two-thirds now work remotely at least some of the time. And within just a few years, roughly 70% of the workforce could work remotely at least five days a month.

Many say that, despite some minor inconveniences, working remotely has helped reshape their lifestyle and restore work-life balance. But will working remotely work for you?

The Pros

The 5% of the workforce who regularly work remotely have plenty to say about the benefits.

Flexible Schedule

According to Buffer’s “State Of Remote Work” 2019 report, 40% of those surveyed say that the flexibility of getting to create your own schedule is the best perk of remote work. Keep your schedule 9-5 if that’s what is comfortable and productive for you, or switch it up — that’s the freedom working remotely affords.

Though it may require strategic organization and self-motivation, working remotely allows you to set a workday that is most beneficial and conducive to your lifestyle, opening up a world of other positives that follow.

Work-Life Balance

Since remote workers have the freedom to work when it suits their schedule, it has also allowed them to cultivate a much more even work-life balance. Fourteen percent of Americans who work remotely claim that spending time with family is a top benefit. With the ability to work anywhere and any time, working remotely lets parents pick their children up from school at 2:30 pm, work from the hotel while on vacation, and expand that precious social calendar.

Less (Or No) Commuting

According to a study by Marist College in Poughkeepsie, more than half of Hudson Valley residents commuted to work in 2015, and this number is rising with “super-commuters” who travel into New York City. By working remotely, you can gain back the time, financial cost, and physical expense that it takes to commute.

The Cons

Working remotely does come with its share of problems and inconveniences to consider.

Not Unplugging

Though technology allows remote work, it can also be a crutch when it comes to unplugging from work. Meg Lavalette, an interior designer, told Recode, “I think it’s hard as a business owner who also works remotely because I do sometimes work on weekends. That’s just what it takes sometimes.”

Surprisingly, working remotely can sometimes lead to even longer hours than a traditional 9-5. Without a structured 8-hour workday, managing when to work and when to close the laptop can be challenging.

Loneliness

Nearly 20% of remote workers have expressed that loneliness is a major negative. (And besides, loneliness has become a widespread epidemic.) There is a required social aspect of commuting into an office with the buzz of other employees around that comes with a traditional work environment, and remote workers miss out on that socialization.

One of the ways to combat this loneliness and inject some socialization into your day is to work from a coworking space. Rather than working alone from home, coworking spaces like BEAHIVE enable freelancers and telecommuters to engage with others in the same working situation while maintaining the social and flexible benefits they enjoy about working remotely. 

Difficult Collaboration & Communication

According to Buffer, 17% of remote workers say that their working situation hinders good communication and collaboration, as face-to-face meetings with clients and colleagues decrease or disappear. Eden Rehmet, who runs a small business upstate, told Recode that, “For some situations, it’s good to have a face-to-face connection,” though she did clarify that she still “talks to everyone every single day.”

Pro Tips

If you do decide (or are forced) to work remotely, here are some ways to help make it work for you.

  1. Set a daily schedule for yourself — and stick to it. Not only can it be difficult to self-motivate when there is no boss to physically watch over you, but setting a schedule also helps prevent burnout from overworking yourself.
  2. Invest in proper tools (ask your company if they’ll reimburse you) — whether this means running out to the store to grab some extra notebooks, or splurging on some good headphones, a laptop, or portable power bank.
  3. Finally, make sure you have a comfortable, productive workspace — aside from the dining room table or the couch. A space exclusively for work — like coworking spaces (like, ahem, BEAHIVE) — can minimize at-home distractions, help establish work-life balance, and provide a more formal place to meet with clients if need be. And coworking spaces just so happen to be populated with other remote workers dealing with similar remote challenges.

(Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash)

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