Remote workers, digital nomads, virtual professionals...whatever you want to call it, the world of remote work is vast and unique. Whether you work from home, internationally, or with a global team, there are many common misconceptions about remote work. I’ve gone ahead and broken down some of the top myths about the field to shed some light on the true world of remote workers and some of the under-appreciated benefits. Take a look!
MYTH #1: REMOTE WORKING = ON THE COUCH IN PAJAMAS
While it’s true that many people enjoy working remotely from home there are MANY other remote location options that are just as popular. International remote work/volunteer programs, such as our Venture With Impact programs, are a way to live in other countries while maintaining your income. If you’re looking to stay a bit ‘closer to home’, look for locations such as co-work spaces and even libraries, coffee shops and wifi-enabled public parks as remote options. It depends on your work requirements but most digital nomads can sustain their professions anywhere they can find internet and a cell signal which opens up a world of possibilities outside of the cubicle.
MYTH #2: NO OFFICE = TOO MANY DISTRACTIONS
It’s understandable to think that working remotely with no consistent office space or boss checking in on you could lead to a less focused work morale. But there’s a whole other side to the factor I’d like to point out. Sometimes the redundancy of working in an office puts you into a subconscious routine; or the ‘breakroom effect’, as it’s called. The daily coffee breaks and catch-up with coworkers around the office can be a form of distraction unto themselves. Many remote workers find that working independently can actually streamline their focus throughout the day. Additionally, having a rotating work setting (anything from nomadic workers traveling the world or remote workers in different hometown co-work spaces) can spark inspiration and creativity.
MYTH #3: VIRTUAL COMMUNICATION = LESS PRODUCTIVITY
It’s common to assume that having a team of coworkers that aren’t meeting face-to-face means that communication and efficiency will decrease. But, with today’s virtual communication options, that’s far from the case. With easy to use virtual video/chat options such as Skype, Google Hangout and even FaceTime, anyone with an Internet connection can communicate in no time. Remote teams often find many benefits to communicating virtually that would otherwise be impossible face-to-face. The convenience of global digital meet-ups helps coworkers in different time zones plan communications to fit everyone’s schedule. Virtual meetings may also be recorded for note taking and feedback at a later time and many workers find that non-physical communication can be less distracting and lead to more focus on the tasks at hand.
MYTH #4: REMOTE WORK = TECH SAVVY
Many people think of remote workers as tech gurus mastering the interwebs to build their digital businesses. The truth of the matter is almost anyone (tech savvy or not) can succeed in remote work if they know their strengths. While there is a world of technologically advanced options for digital workers to expand their communications and productivity, it’s not a necessity in the field. Depending on your line of work, it’s relatively easy to transition your office based work style to a remote setting of your choosing. It just takes some organization and an open mind. For example, many familiar platforms that people use on a daily basis such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are excellent places to start building your business following. Check out our Must Have Apps for Remote Work for some excellent user friendly places to start.
Myth #5: WORKING REMOTELY = LONELY LIFESTYLE
Some people picture remote workers cooped up in their homes or in the corner of a café working day after day with no real connection to coworkers. It’s common to think that working remotely or independently is a lonely life but in most cases it’s quite the opposite. Remote workers often find that they can streamline their daily tasks and be more efficient by working independently, leaving more time to balance their social and personal lives. The ever-growing global community of remote workers is also very connective and collaborative. Check out Our Top 9 Remote Work Blogs and see how united and inspiring the field of remote work can be.
MYTH #6: REMOTE JOBS = DEAD END JOBS
For some reason people tend to associate remote work with inconsistency and limited room to advance. My honest opinion is that the growing field of remote work has more options and potential than traditional workforce settings. Whether starting a new line of work or a seasoned pro in your field, working remotely allows you to carve a niche in your desired area while opening up your potential to a global scale. By being free to work from wherever and with whomever around the world, you are increasing your knowledge and advancing your experience. The lessons to be learned and the skills to be gained from working remotely can propel your career to new places that a traditional office setting job simply can't provide.
For as many myths as there are about remote work, there are alternate sides and truth to be seen. It can seem like an intimidating and unpredictable style of work at first but the freedom, opportunity and experiences to be gained are invaluable. I could go on forever about the many sides of remote work but it's best to experience it for yourself so get out there!