How Do You Know if Remote Work is Right for You?

Is remote work right for you?
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If you are here on this post, I think it is safe to assume you are ready to explore working remotely, whether that is full-time or maybe a hybrid (some days in the office and some from home). 

You might be pumped about the idea and probably even a bit anxious. 

I mean let’s face it, the idea of working from home is enticing and can improve your overall happiness with your work and career. But before you completely dive into a remote work position, it’s important to know if remote work is going to be a good fit. 

Below are some common signs that will help you understand if remote work is right for you. Let’s dive in! 

8 Signs That Remote Work Is Right For Me

So you are ready to consider working remotely full-time and wondering if it’s a right fit for you. 

The transition from in-person work to remote can be an intimidating adjustment and you might find that working from home just isn’t for you. And that’s perfectly okay! 

Here are 8 signs that may signal remote work is right for you. 

1. You Crave & Excel with Autonomy

When you work remotely, it will require a high degree of self-discipline and the ability to continually motivate yourself to get work done. If you are used to being told what to do at the beginning of each work and waiting for constant direction, remote work can be a challenge.

Start to ask yourself and figure out the answers to questions like:

  • Can I motivate myself each work day in a remote position? And how can I consistently perform well?
  • Will I still be energized and excited to be productive working from home or do I need that in-person connection to feel the same? 
  • Do I need constant direction when it comes to my work or can I plan out my days without that manager or team looking over my shoulder?

If working with minimal direction and being able to stay motivated even with home distractions is something you feel you succeed at, you’ll do well working from home full-time. 

2. You Are Comfortable Working Alone

One of the most common challenges new remote workers face is isolation or feeling lonely. Sure you might have a spouse, child(ren), roommate, or pet but that is not quite the same when it comes to your professional career. 

A past State of Remote Work report issued by Buffer showed that loneliness is the biggest struggle remote workers face. 

Naturally, if you are more introverted, you will probably have no issue with being in your own space and more isolated from others. But if you are more extroverted, this can be a serious concern for your work happiness. 

This doesn’t mean if you lean extroverted you can’t succeed with remote work, but it means you need to consider how you can develop more social interactions. 

Consider doing things like getting a co-working space, going to coffee shops to work, scheduling virtual colleague meetups, or just doing other activities outside of work like volunteering, joining a sports team, etc. 

3. You Have Excellent Communication Skills

Although communications skills are important whether you work in a traditional office setting or not, it’s EXTREMELY important with remote work. You don’t have the simple luxury of popping into a co-worker’s office or coordinating a quick in-person meeting. 

But not communicating in person could cause others to misconstrue conversations via messaging via Slack or in email since you’ll rely on written forms of communication much more. 

Basically, you don’t have the body language cues and tone of voice as you would being in-person This is why it’s important you have a great communication foundation.

Do you have good writing skills with your own style? Do you know how to be detail-oriented in your communication when needed? Do you know what tools to use and when to get your messages across to colleagues? 

4. You Have Your Own Home Workspace

One of the challenges with remote work that often might be an afterthought – do you have your own space in your home or apartment you can dedicate to work? While it’s okay to move around or work outside a bit, you should have an area that can feel like your own home office. 

You don’t need your own complete room (although it is a nice perk) but find an area where you can make it your own, have fewer distractions, and feel like a place for work. 

If you are becoming a full-time remote employee, many companies offer some additional reimbursements for desks, chairs, and other things you need to be productive. 

In my current full-time remote gig, I have an area in my apartment that is work-themed and productivity-inspired. While it’s harder to separate from distractions, I surrounded myself with home office decor and items that keep me focused during working hours. 

5. You Are Able to Maintain Proper Work/Life Balance

Since you are now living where you work, it can be challenging to turn off your work mode. You are a minute away from jumping back on your laptop to answer emails or working later than normal because you are already at home. 

If you have a hard time pulling away from work or calling it a day, this can be one hurdle you’ll need to figure out. Every remote worker needs a healthy work/life balance and every company that offers remote work must respect that too. 

It’s very easy to burn yourself out and always feel like you need to be “on” because your work is at home. 

Set work boundaries with your colleagues and management, shut things down at the same time every day as best you can, remove apps from your phone, separate your office into another room (if possible), or use a co-working space. 

6. You Won’t Miss The In-Office Environment 

It’s pretty easy to claim that you won’t miss going to the office every day and would rather be at home. But what often happens, in reality, is you might feel a “work void” when you don’t have that weekly in-person camaraderie. 

No more lunches with co-workers, no walk breaks with co-workers, no happy hour invite on casual Friday, etc. If these are things you thrive on for your work happiness, then you need to think about remote work carefully before jumping in. 

While I consider myself a fairly social person, I also love being in my own space where I found I am way more productive in my work. So I never had hesitations about working from home and knew I would not miss the in-office environment. 

7. You Have Experience With Virtual Work 

Having experience with working virtually is a huge bonus when looking to jump in full-time. You know more of what to expect and are less reliant on typical office things like supply, coffee, breakroom chats, etc. 

But keep in mind, this isn’t required for you to do well with remote work either.

For a first-time remote worker, this can be a lot to get used to. Even simple things, like collaborating with co-workers and meetings are all done in a virtual environment. 

Instead, you’ll be using a lot of apps and various online platforms to get your work done or have meetings. If you’re already pretty technologically savvy, then you’ll be in good shape and it should not be too difficult to make the adjustment. 

8. You Can Recognize Good Remote Work Culture

One way to tell if remote work is right for you is if you can recognize a solid remote work culture from the interview process. Unfortunately, just like companies where you work in person don’t have the best cultures, remote work environments have the same issues. 

You want to be good at identifying tells about the work culture, your potential co-workers, executive leadership, and your potential managers. 

But beyond that, you want to identify tells about salary, benefits, professional development, and other perks. Pay attention to how open and transparent everyone is and how healthy the business is overall. 

You might not recognize all the telltale signs of a bad work culture right away, but research what good remote companies offer (and are about) to ensure you don’t make the wrong choice. 

Remember:

The important thing to remember going through the above signs is to be truly honest with yourself. The idea of remote work is typically very attractive to most people.  

No office politics? No work commute? Working from my pajamas? Sign me up! 

But in reality, many might realize it’s not for them and the thought you have can be more glamorous than it really is. It’s best to truly examine your personality, your motivation, your habits, and what truly brings you happiness in your career. 

Final Thoughts

If you fit the above signs, then you are most likely ready for a full-time remote work position. But don’t worry, even if you said “no” to some of the above, it doesn’t mean you should completely rule working from home out quite yet. 

One of the best things you can do is try it out and start small. You’ll learn a lot, but also not risk diving into a remote job full-time if it doesn’t work out for you. 

A great place to start is maybe trying to see if you can work from home one or two days a week from your current employer. 

Or if your company is not currently open to that, maybe find some remote freelance or consulting work on the side that helps you experience working from home a few hours a week. You can find freelance gigs on platforms like Flexjobs, remote job boards, or reach out to companies that interest you directly. 

Starting with a freelance remote gig on the side is exactly how I got started in remote work and it gave me a chance to see if I would even like working remotely. I quickly discovered that I LOVED it and have not looked back. 

Happy remote working! 

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About Todd Kunsman

Todd is the founder of Remote Work Junkie and has been featured in numerous publications like Business Insider, HuffPost, CNBC, and more. He’s been a remote work advocate for close to a decade and has been working remotely full-time for 5+ years. He’s also a marketing, personal finance, and music nerd 🤓

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