Working Remotely: Dream or….?

If you’re turning to remote or flexible work to escape an unfulfilling job, maybe reconsider your options. Remote work is not necessarily easier, and it certainly won’t fix any underlying issues with your employer. What it will do is allow you to better integrate your personal and professional goals – to use your time as efficiently as possible, to lower stress and anxiety, and to potentially play with your dog in between virtual meetings.

Navigate remote work well, and the options are endless. Whether you plan to work remotely full-time, or are just seeking to take a day or two a week, working from home can offer a level of freedom – and trust – you are otherwise not afforded.

The Good

1. Nix the commute:

Skipping the morning commute is definitely attractive; especially if you’re living in an overly congested city (hello San Diegans and Los Angelites). In fact longer commute times are strongly associated with increased stress, depression, and an overall decline in productivity throughout the day. And these realities affect women more than they do men; since women usually take on the brunt of housework, an added commute significantly affects the amount of time they can devote to, say, getting their kids ready for school each morning.

Working from home can help everyone – but parents specifically – save energy and mental resources by allowing motivated professionals to allocate their time in a way that makes sense for them.

2. Own your time:

Remote work offers the unique opportunity to maintain ownership over one’s own time, direction, and workflow. It also provides the chance to work without distractions; in the office, an important task can be repeatedly pushed back by smaller issues and co-worker-induced interruptions.

While regular check-ins, virtual meetings, and long phone conversations come with the territory, people that work out of office are guaranteed a certain level of independence. And the sense of ownership that comes from this independence is just as beneficial to the employer as it is to the employee: workers that feel trusted, respected, and responsible for their output are overall better, more reliable employees.

The Bad

1. The Social Factor

There’s a reason your boss wants you in the office, and it’s not just to monitor your work. Being around your peers; chatting at the water cooler; discussing your family and lives outside of your 9:00-5:00 grind; the social aspect of work-life is not to be overlooked. Sitting at home all day alone can be…well, lonely.

Of course there are ways to combat this; WeWork has done an impressive job at providing a larger, more integrated sense of community for independent entrepreneurs, remote workers, and small businesses. Making time at the beginning of phone meetings to discuss general topics and catch up on everyone’s lives is also a smart way of upholding social connections with coworkers while working from home.

2. Work-life…imbalance?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remote work blurs the line between personal time and work hours. This can be a positive – you’re in control of when and how you work – or a negative – you never really stop working. Working remotely means there’s no official “start” or “end” time to your day; no manager is going to pester you to stop surfing the internet, and no exodus of coworkers is going to signal that it’s time to call it a day.

If you’re the type of person who can firmly stick to their own schedule, then all the power to you. But if you have trouble separating work and life already, remote work may be a step backwards for your work-life balance goals.

Though most studies show that working from home immensely increases productivity and employee satisfaction, it’s certainly not for everyone. Some people just thrive in a more structured environment that actively fosters and celebrates in-person teamwork.

What are your options?

There’s no one way to work remotely. Many people work just one day a week from home, and often this day is designated as a head-down, extreme-focus kind of day. Others prefer to work remote full-time to take ownership of when and where they complete their tasks. Figure out what’s best for you and make it happen.

If you’re looking to broach the topic with your boss, consider framing your proposition in terms of how it will benefit your personal production, and in turn how that will generate success for the company as a whole. Submitting a written proposal for your superiors to mull over can be a winning strategy. If they seem hesitant, offering a “trial period” may bring them over to your side. Propose working three months remotely and then reevaluating. Or maybe even a day a week, depending on your goals. 

Once you’ve received approval, make sure that your trial period is the most productive period of your working career to date.

Interested? Check out some of the top California companies offering partial or full-time remote opportunities:

1. Agility Clinical (SD): Agility Clinical specializes in medical device and drug development. They are a “a unique consulting and contract research organization dedicated to working with virtual, small biopharma and device companies with a lean infrastructure.” Their postings specifically encourage remote employees to apply.

2. Genesis Digital (SD): Genesis Digital is entirely remote based – you’ll be working with a network of coders and programmers to build and distribute a suite of SaaS e-commerce solutions to businesses.

3. ServiceNow (SD): ServiceNow offers full and part-time remote positions for technology professionals specializing in cloud-based services. If you’re part-time remote, they have a friendly and relaxed work environment to keep you from missing home.

4. Activision Blizzard (LA): Activision Blizzard is responsible for some of the top video games in the industry, including World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. It has in the past employed programmers and creatives in various full-time and freelance remote positions.

While each of these companies have previously offered remote positions, they do not necessarily advertise this option. Many are willing to make exceptions for specific individuals who can bring something special to their team. Show them what you have to offer, make them a proposition, and give them time to consider. If all goes well, you’ll be programming the new WoW from bed in no time.

If you have any questions or need help with interview preparation/general strategizing, we’re happy to offer a hand! Get in touch and we can figure it out together.