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We’ve always believed that robots will take over our jobs one day. That might still become a reality, but something else is happening in the meantime. Increased amounts of employees are distancing themselves from their typical 9 to 5 jobs in favour of working remotely.
There appears to be this idea that working from home is all sunshine and roses – a luxury reserved for company executives and freelancers. You wake up whenever you like, finish the household tasks, then sit down with a cup of coffee for a few hours to do some work. It’s a dream come true, right?
As convenient as it may seem, it’s not for everyone. If you’re interested in working remotely, keep reading to find out what you’ll need in terms of skills, which industries are suitable, and the benefits and pitfalls of working from home.
Getting a Foot in The Door
As we’ve mentioned, working remotely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you can do these five things, remote work might be something to consider.
Manage your time – remember that you won’t have anyone looking over your shoulder at home to make sure you complete all your tasks, so it’s easy to lose track of time. There are plenty of tools and tactics available online to help you do just that and more. Although, if you find it difficult work without supervision, remote work probably isn’t for you.
Communicate effectively – remote workers don’t have the luxury of walking over to a colleague’s desk to ask for help. Communication is mostly (if not entirely) digital, so having strong communication skills is a must.
Be tech savvy – again, it’s all digital, so you’ll need to be up to date on all the helpful tools available as well as how to use them. Technical proficiency is mandatory.
Teamwork makes the dream work – even though communication won’t be face-to-face, it’s important to communicate with fellow team members on a regular basis, especially while working on projects together. You won’t be able to walk to their desk to discuss a problem so, to avoid confusion, a steady stream of communication is needed.
Be balanced – it’s easy to get carried away and either work too much or too little. Set a limit to how many hours you want to work per day and stick to it. No more and no less.
What’s Good and What’s Bad About It?
Depending on who you ask, the advantages of working from home (or anywhere else except the office) surpasses the disadvantages, but we’ll let you decide for yourself.
What’s good about it –
- When you work remotely, you can schedule work responsibilities around personal duties and vice versa. This ensures a better home/work balance.
- Assuming you’ll work from home, you can save time by not having to commute to the office.
- You’ll save money. Aside from not having to pay for transport, working remotely means you won’t need to buy lunch at the local cafe every day. Instead, you have lunch at home.
- You can take breaks whenever you want. This ties in with the previous point. Instead of waiting for lunch time as you would in an office setting, you have the option to take breaks whenever you want – within reason.
- Working from home doesn’t only benefit employees though. According to The Conversation, by increasing a company’s number of remote workers, traffic congestion during peak hours may soon be a thing of the past.
- Expenses will be lowered by not having to rent an office and having to pay for water and electricity at the end of each month.
What’s bad about it –
- Despite its numerous benefits, remote work doesn’t come without its challenges.
- First of all, it’s all about self-discipline. In order for remote workers to be successful, it’s important to stay focused and productive despite distractions at home.
- Time management can become an issue, especially if there are too many distractions at home.
- Loneliness might become an issue, especially if you work from home. If this is the case, it’s best to visit the local coffee shop or internet café to get some work done.
Use these five tools to save time and boost productivity.
Twist: a communications app aimed at creating a more organised and productive workspace. This helps teams to stay on topic.
Dropbox: a storage app that allows remote workers from any location to upload and share files.
Zoom: video chatting software that allows for global face-to-face communication.
TransferWise: An easy way to transfer money abroad.
Todoist: Keeps track of any progress made with tasks and projects.
The Bottom Line
Remote working is becoming increasingly popular because its convenient, affordable, and if done right, can be very effective.
The discipline and skills required to complete a distance learning qualification will set a great foundation for someone aspiring to work from home. Also, the greater your skillset the more likely you are to be in a position to work remotely. Two good reasons to sign up for one of the IMM Graduate School’s fully accredited and internationally recognised programmes. Applications for 2020 are still open! https://imm.ac.za/online-application/