Considerations for Working Remotely
One of the most important considerations when making a move away from a populated city and into the country is: What will you do for work? A rural community tends to offer fewer employment opportunities, but with the option to telecommute, or work from home, all you need is a reliable Wi-Fi signal.
A survey from FlexJob shows that between 2005 and 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work, and this continues to rise as more workers expect such flexibility from employers.
Whether your current employer will allow you to work remotely or scale back on days in the office, or you find a freelance gig or other remote position, working from home is a practical option which may allow you to make your move to a more rural area.
However, there are a few things to consider before jumping into a 100% remote position:
You’ll miss out on company activities
A strong company culture often attracts workers. They want to spend their 9-5 hours in a job that helps them grow professionally, but is also enjoyable with extra perks.
That conference in Orlando? You may have to pay your own way. That annual summer barbecue? You might miss out on strengthening relationships with coworkers and on tasting Dave’s homemade potato salad.
Part of a company’s benefits package sometimes includes activities which you may have to forgo as a remote worker. Before accepting a role, assess the benefits package to see if you’ll be sacrificing perks. It may be best to look for a company that offers a higher paycheck or stronger insurance benefits instead of a well-stocked snack counter.
If activities are important to you and you don’t want to miss out completely, consider if you’re able to make the drive or flight into the office on a weekly or monthly basis, especially if there are big company events, meetings or conferences that could enrich your experience with that company.
It can be tougher to collaborate
Aside from missing social events every now and then, you won’t have the daily face-to-face interaction that can make it easier to collaborate with coworkers.
A study by The Conversation found that sharing a physical office meant workers were 20% more likely to stay in touch digitally than those who worked remotely. They also emailed four times as often to collaborate on shared projects than staff who weren’t in the office. For these projects, the result was 32% faster project completion times.
However, putting extra effort in to be available to coworkers and opting for more phone calls — and better yet, video calls — will show that you’re determined to be part of the team and are open for working together.
Your focus and productivity levels may change
As a remote worker, it could be tougher to concentrate. Household chores could be done in lieu of that big report or your dog might be extra rambunctious, keeping you from finishing a project.
However, remote workers are also reported to experience less burnout. A two-year Stanford study found that employee attrition decreased by 50% among telecommuters — they took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days and took less time off. Working from home can be less taxing on a person’s overall well-being.
No commute means time and travel savings
A big reason that remote work can be better for a person’s well-being is due to the time they gain from not having to commute, leaving more time for anything from volunteering in their rural community to starting a garden. Research from Airtasker found that remote employees save as much as 408 hours per year on traveling to and from the office. They also saved an average of $4,523 in fuel! Wouldn’t that come handy for upgrading or remodeling your property?
With additional time and money in your pocket, you’re open to accomplish tasks and goals outside of your job. And while living in the country, this may include gardening, taking care of livestock or a side gig your passionate about that could potentially bring in more income.
Weighing the pros and cons of working from home
Before choosing whether to work 100% remote, consider what’s most important to you in a job. If you like to make friends at work and you cherish relationships, consider whether you’re willing to head into the office every so often, or if you will go the extra mile to connect digitally with your team. If you’re worried about your productivity levels at home, think about creating a home office or somewhere that’s distraction-free.
Working remotely can be a great option if you want to live in a rural community without giving up a job that may be harder to find outside of an urban city.
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