So, you’re interested in working remotely, huh?
Maybe you heard about it because more and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely. Maybe your friend won’t stop talking about how happy she is now that she doesn’t have to commute. Or maybe you read the article about my experience working in a 100% remote company and decided that you want this remote life.
Whatever the reason why you’re here, this post will cover some of the pros and cons of working remotely and point you towards resources to get your remote job.
So what is a remote job anyway?
Remote work is any type of work done outside of an office. That includes working from home, using co-working spaces, cafes, working while travelling, and freelancing. If you ditched your daily commute, you’re working remotely.
Is remote work a good fit for you? Here are some pros and cons.
Pro – Greater flexibility means you won’t have to choose between work and life when life gets in the way.
What happens when your parent gets sick and you need to take time off to care for them? In most jobs, you would have to take time off, usually unpaid, and there’s no assurance that your job will be waiting for you when you come back. What about when your spouse gets a job in another city? You would have to choose between your job and the person you love.
With remote work, you can easily take your work with you. You don’t need to quit your job or risk getting fired to help your family. You can take your job anywhere you can take your laptop.
Con – No boundaries between work and personal life
Of course, being able to take your work anywhere has problems of its own. It’s very easy to never fully switch off from work mode when you’re working from your living room. If you’re already used to rolling out of bed and logging into work, it’s not a big leap to start feeling like you should work extra hours at night or during the weekend so you can finish a project. This sets unrealistic expectations for yourself and your team. If you don’t set boundaries for yourself and stick to them, you’ll end up bringing out your laptop to do some work during downtime at the hospital. I got this bad once, and now I need to be very conscious and intentional about boundaries.
Pro – More opportunities for deep work
Did you ever start digging into a confusing issue and get interrupted right away? When you get back to what you were doing, you forgot where you left off, and by the time you remember and are ready to start, you get interrupted again? Well, that doesn’t happen as much with remote work. Meetings and calls are scheduled, and you can set a do not disturb status on slack when you need to focus. When you’re working home alone, or in a co-working space filled with strangers, no one is going to tap on your shoulder and ask “Hey, do you have a minute?”
Con – good luck focusing when you work from home with kids!
This one is probably more personal to me than the others on this list. My workspace is in a corner of my living room, and my kids are constantly in the background. My setup is this way mostly because of space issues, but it’s also because I feel like I need to be present for my children when they need me. But it doesn’t take long before they get completely chaotic. My son is getting notorious at work for loudly interrupting client calls with “MAMA! My belly is EMPTY!!!!” Easily far more interruptions from my small humans than even the office gossip. MashAllah 🤦♀️
Pro – you’ll develop master-level communication skills
Communication at a remote job can make or break everything. Being able to show that you can communicate clearly and effectively is a major factor when interviewing for remote work. Things like how you present ideas, how you facilitate calls, how you ask for help, how you show appreciation, and how you express frustration with a colleague or company practice; all of it will dramatically improve and spill over into your personal life. Which is great!
Con – It’s easy to feel isolated
If you’re someone who loves to feel the buzz and energy of being in an office, you might struggle with remote work. It is very possible to go for many days speaking to no one but your cat and socialising in real life takes more of a conscious effort. Coworking spaces are a great way to meet other people and they often have opportunities to mingle and socialise with each other. And don’t be afraid to reach out to other members of your team to hang out and chat for a little bit; they’re probably feeling lonely too.
Pro – An authentically diverse team!
When a hiring company goes remote, their hiring pool grows from their local area to worldwide. They can now recruit people from different backgrounds, educational experience, cultures, economic classes, ages, and genders without luring anyone to move to their main office or moaning that there just aren’t enough qualified people. Having so many different perspectives working together results in strong and realistic company policies and creative thinking that doesn’t just feed into confirmation bias.
Remote work is also seen as a major step in ending the gender wage and leadership gap. These gaps are increasingly interpreted as a motherhood gap because many women drop out of the workforce due to inflexible parenting policies. Well, guess what type of job has lots of flexibility? Remote work!
Special bonus pro for us Muslimahs
I feel completely unrestrained to practice my deen working remotely. Honestly, I work in my pj’s most of the time and throw on a hijab and cardigan for conference calls. It doesn’t get much more low maintenance than that! When the athan goes off, I just get up and pray. I don’t have to worry about finding a quiet hallway or what my colleagues must think of me; I can use that time to fully focus on my connection with Allah SWT. Also, with things like office dogs and office happy hours, I don’t have to worry about feeling like a fun sucker for not joining in.
How to find and land your remote job
So you read all of that and now you’re feeling pumped. You feel like remote work is a perfect fit for you and you can’t wait to get started and send out some applications. Here are my tips for getting a remote job. For a much more complete and detailed report, you should check out Skillcrush’s Finding a Remote Job: Nearly Everything You Need to Know.
- Make sure that your portfolio and resume showcase skills that are important to remote companies.
- How do you self manage your time?
- Do you have experience with Trello/Slack/Jira/any other remote-friendly software?
- How are your communication skills in writing and video?
- How well do you communicate with colleagues and collaborate on projects?
- Are you interested in developing your skills within your job or are you interested in a job where you can check-in and check-out?
- Bookmark the career pages of your favourite remote companies and follow them to see when they’re hiring. Pay attention to values and projects that are important to them so that you have something to discuss in your interview.
- Check with your network to see if anyone knows about any remote opportunities. Go to events that are likely to attract remote workers like hangouts at coworking spaces or tech meetups. Join online groups for remote workers.
- Check out remote work specific job boards. These are my favourite ones, but you can find a larger list here
They have the largest remote work community in the world in categories like Programming, Design, Copywriting, and DevOps. Features a simple straightforward layout that connects its 2.5 million monthly visitors with remote jobs.
This job board has a hand-curated list to showcase the best remote jobs across a wide range of job categories like Accounting, Data Entry, and Virtual Assistant. They also have useful articles on remote working on their blog.
I found my current job on here. It’s a beautifully designed site with a daily updated list of the best remote jobs in categories like Dev, Design, Customer Support, Marketing, and Product. They also have a beautifully worded manifesto.
Power to fly’s mission is to help match more women with technical roles in Fortune 500 companies and fast-growing startups. It’s a beautifully supportive community and they often have events and webinars to help you move forward in your career.
Insh’Allah That should be enough to get you started. Let me know if you’re interested in remote work or if you already have a remote job.