If you were offered a remote position in IT would you take it? Most people would probably jump at the opportunity to work from home without a second thought. But, as with all significant life decisions, weighing the pros and cons and taking a look at yourself is a must. Read on to learn some of the benefits and downfalls of remote IT work.
- More time to work
Believe it or not, working from home often means you have more time to knock things off of your to-do list. Think about it – no commute! This can also mean increased productivity as you’re essentially working smarter, not harder. Fewer random chats with co-workers, fewer trips to the break room and fewer overall interruptions mean you can get more work done faster.
CompTIA AITP member Christina Sereday, an implementation manager at DHL, agrees that working remote has boosted her productivity. “I find that working from home allows me to do better work because I do not have to deal with office noise and distractions.”
Your schedule is in your hands. Yes, you still have meetings and obligations, but if you want to do your grocery shopping, mow the grass or squeeze in a workout on your lunch break – you probably can. Sereday likes the freedom her remote position allows, giving her the option to move from room to room or even work from another location if she needs a change of scenery.
- No dress code
Unless your company is fond of video chats, you’re free to wear whatever you want all day long. There are some telecommuters who find that getting up and getting dressed up every day gives them the mental shift they need to put themselves into work mode, but many others find they are just as productive in shorts or yoga pants. That means you’re saving money when it comes to wardrobe.
As you know, technology can be your best friend. Most companies allow you to access everything from home that you could from the office – making nothing off limits. Sure, there are some positions that may require you to be in the office for a variety of reasons, but if your job allows remote work, technology allows you to do it all – from essentially anywhere.
- Less social interaction
On the flip side, some people find that working from home all the time can be isolating. Sereday says that while she doesn’t necessarily miss office life, she doesn’t have local peers to talk shop with and misses that interaction. “It takes extra effort to stay connected with my colleagues,” she says. It’s one of the reasons she is so active in the CompTIA AITP Pittsburgh Chapter – helping her maintain a community of IT pros in her area is a huge plus.
- No separation
When you work at the office and the work day ends, you head home, which puts physical space between you and work and leads to a mental shift as well. When your office is your home, the line between work and home is often blurry. Many remote employees find themselves working longer hours because it’s so convenient to be connected at home.
Whereas some people get more work done, others find the temptations of being at home all the time are just too strong – a good way to quickly find yourself off track. “Depending on your home office set up, there may be other distractions at home,” Sereday says. “But that is where structuring your work environment and setting work hours helps.”
Yes, we listed technology as a pro, but it can also act as a con when working from home. If part of your job is troubleshooting issues for your coworkers, being in the office may be easier for everyone involved. And, depending where you live, sometimes you can experience an outage, which means you aren’t getting anything done.
Is a Remote Tech Job for You?People who successfully work from home are self-motivated and disciplined. “You have to be able to prioritize, keep yourself on track and manage your time,” Sereday cautions. Responsiveness and excellent communication skills are also key when your colleagues aren’t seeing your face every day. Just a quick email or message to say you received a request and are working on it goes a long way. And, because you can’t pop by someone’s desk to ask a quick question, you have to be resourceful. That means knowing your company’s systems and where information is kept. Of course, it’s still okay to ask questions – but when you’re working remotely, the more you know, the better.
Even if you are organized, responsive and know what you’re doing, if you’re a “people person” working from home all the time just may not be the best fit. “Personally, I do not need to be around people all the time, so working from home works for me,” Sereday explains. “But, for people that are more extroverted it may not be the ideal situation.”
Looking for a remote IT position? CompTIA AITP members have access to TechTalent, a powerful career tool that allows job seekers to find IT positions that fit their skills, goals and lifestyle.