Jacquelyn Smith for FlexJobs
Have you heard whispers of how fantastic remote work is? Perhaps you have a friend or relative who works from home, and they’ve mentioned in passing how much they enjoy it. Have you started wondering if it’s truly as terrific as it sounds?
There are many reasons you might be exploring the benefits of working remotely. Maybe you’re aspiring to be a digital nomad who works while traveling, or you’re a military spouse looking to build a portable career. Or, perhaps you’re tired of an outrageous commute and looking to save some money by working from home part-time.
If you’re on the fence about working outside of a traditional office, we’re rounding up some of the secret benefits you might discover. After reading up, you can decide if they warrant the jump to the remote side of the workforce.
When you’re creating your pros and cons list, you’ll probably list some of the prominent results of working remotely, like skipping out on your commute and not having to buy an entire wardrobe for the office. For anyone that’s worked in a traditional office, however, there are some other, less-discussed benefits you’ll definitely want to add to that list of “pros.”
Okay, let’s be honest: using the restroom in an office isn’t always the most comfortable experience. (Talking about it is even worse for some people!) Even though it’s something we all do, it will forever be one of those things people get embarrassed about, which is why there are dozens of (hilarious!) articles out there offering tips on how to discreetly “go” at work.
In a remote job, though, you have the luxury of not having to share the restroom with anyone outside of your household.
Speaking of not sharing, how great would it be to never again have to smell your coworker’s stinky fish lunch? You know the one—the person with the lunch so smelly it overtakes the entire break room for the rest of the day after warming up their leftovers. Or, how about that other coworker that never cleans up after themselves? Have you ever resorted to the “Your mom doesn’t work here” signage?
We can’t make any promises for family or roommates, but at least they are messy people you choose to live with, rather than inconsiderate coworkers.
We’ve all heard the news about women in the office who were passed over for promotions because they were pregnant. Or, perhaps it’s not about your career, and you want to embrace your pregnancy quietly for a bit. You’re in good company. Most women aren’t comfortable sharing the news of their pregnancy right away. And that’s especially true at work. But if you’re experiencing morning sickness or you start to show early, it can be challenging to hide.
At home, you don’t have to worry about your coworkers wondering why you’re running to the restroom every few hours.
Have you ever realized your phone is locked up in the office for the night when you forgot it by accident? What about taking work home and forgetting it in your rush out the door? These will no longer be concerns if your office is just down the hall.
If you’ve ever worked in an on-site office, you’ve probably dealt with the thermostat dilemma: some people are always too warm, while others are always too cold. It’s never just right for everyone. If you prefer to work in the arctic—or, perhaps tropical conditions are more your thing—you can…so long as you have access to the thermostat in your home office.
Fear of isolation often keeps people from embracing remote work. Most people assume that you miss out on personal connections when you don’t see your coworkers face-to-face daily. And sometimes, that’s true.
Recognizing that’s a potential consequence, most remote colleagues make a considerable effort to get to know one another, introduce themselves to new employees, share photos of their kids or pets, and chat about their personal lives.
Hand in hand with that is getting judged less—whether it was in your head or not. You can eat what you want, no matter how crunchy or smelly. You can wear what you want, no matter how wrinkly or casual (although, we do recommend you get out of your PJs, even if you work from home). You can breathe or clear your throat however you want. And the list goes on.
Not every remote job is flexible—and not every employer is OK with their remote workers running errands during the workday. But if you’re fortunate enough to have a flexible job, you can take advantage of any midday lulls by doing your grocery shopping or your workout during that time without having to feel guilty or judged. No more coming up with some insane excuse for why you need to be out of “the office” for 30 minutes.
Not always the case, but in most remote positions, you can (and are expected to) choose your desk, chair, mouse, etc. In a traditional office, you take what they give you.
Would you love an under-desk treadmill or a yoga ball for a seat? Go ahead and get one. You can also choose the colors, decorations, and house plants for your home office, as well as whether you keep the blinds up or the windows open, whether you play music out loud, etc.
Have you ever felt like you had to stay home because of your allergies? Do people jokingly say, “Oh, stand back from me!”? While you should definitely take time off when you’re not feeling well, even at home, you won’t feel obligated to waste sick days.
Now, when you’re not quite sick enough to skip work, you can go about your day without having to worry about the sniffling or a mountain of tissues. Or, perhaps you have a kid considered too sick to go to school. You won’t automatically have to use a sick day at home with them, depending on their age and the degree of illness.
As a remote employee, you don’t have to worry or feel guilty about leaving your pets all day. You also don’t have to spend the money on doggy daycare or a dog walker! You and your furry, four-legged friends can keep one another company throughout the workday. Start a new Zoom trend and meet outside while everyone walks their dogs.
You can also create a better work-life balance with flexible schedules that let you flex out for school drop-offs, pickups, and important sports or school activities.
Of course, you’re allowed to have a bad day no matter where or how you work. But people typically feel uncomfortable showing too much emotion in a traditional office environment, since that usually invites unwanted questions.
If you’re feeling sad or going through something personal, you can let out a good cry in your home office without weird looks from your cubemate. You can ditch the fake smile if you’re just not feeling it. You can eat a tub of ice cream, and no one will judge you.
On the flip side of the coin, you can also be (overly) excited about something—even let out a big “woohoo!”—without everyone asking, “What’s going on?!”
Depending on your role, you might be able to stretch out your vacation days. Some jobs, such as those in finance or transcription, may have security requirements that require you to be stationary.
However, for many jobs, you’ll have the luxury of working wherever you get internet service. Is a family vacation coming up? Maybe you’re an early riser who can put in half-days before everyone gets going for the day.
There are so many obvious benefits to working remotely that it’s easy to overlook all the little ways in which working remotely can enhance our lives. But there are areas where remote work can be a more significant challenge than working in an office. If you’ve ever enjoyed having live tech help in the same building, you’ll know precisely what we’re talking about.
This article originally appeared in FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in flexible work, providing the largest database of vetted remote and flexible job listings. To support job seekers in all phases of their journey, FlexJobs offers a range of services including expert advice, job search events, and career coaching. FlexJobs also works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace.
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