You can set your own schedule? You can work from anywhere in the world? You can dress living-room casual, at least from the waist down? The ideas of telecommuting and working remotely have finally become mainstream. However, as many employers and employees have come to understand, it’s not as simple as it seems.
While the idea of “being your own boss” may be enticing, it also means more responsibility. If you get distracted by an interesting video or online article, there is no one looking over your shoulder to help you focus. If you have questions, it may not be as easy as walking to the next office and getting clarification.
Not only do you have to keep yourself on track, but you may have to troubleshoot as problems arise. Every tech malfunction and miscommunication is amplified. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing: it can lead to a deeper understanding of the software, technology, and tools you use on a regular basis. It can be challenging, though, to navigate new programs and figure out how to efficiently search for solutions online instead of across the hall.
Is it still feasible to work from 9 to 5? Or is 10 to 4 a better option? Do you get more done in 4 hours of uninterrupted work than you did during 8 hours in the office? Much of your expectations for yourself, or for the people you’re managing, will have to adjust. Finding a new normal will take time and can’t be forced. Fluctuations in productivity must be approached with curiosity and understanding. Change isn’t always progress, but you can make it progress if you embrace it.
Some will naturally gravitate towards remote work and telecommuting while others struggle to adjust. This is neither good nor bad. While some personalities will find the transition easy then work to optimize it, others will struggle from day one. The skill of communicating and maintaining relationships remotely can be both learned and facilitated.