Before moving to Singapore in 2017, I worked for an online company, and for years I was in awe of of the friends around me who worked remotely from home. They could meet up at any time of day, any day of the week, go away on trips without requesting leave, and were able to design their lives as they chose.
After my move, I was lucky enough to be able to continue working for the same company remotely. I quickly realised that working from home required a very different mindset and I had to climb the steep learning curve of remote work.
Suddenly I had all the freedom in the world to work when I wanted, how much I wanted, and travel as much as I wanted. And as wonderful as that was, it too a lot of getting used to.
After about a year’s worth of practice and finding my own rhythm, I’m in love with working remotely. Being able to plan how my days and weeks will pan out and being able to travel whenever and wherever I want far outweigh the costs. If you’re planning to make the switch from a regular 9 to 5 here are a few things to consider:
No commute: working remotely eliminates travel time unless you wish to work in a co-working space.
Flexibility: being able to plan errands during the work day like going to less crowded gym classes, being out and about during off-peak times, and meeting with friends during the day.
Work out of sync from society: not being restricted by a 9-5 you can be available during off-peak time periods.
No need to request leave: organise your travels around work-related tasks and plan in time to complete those tasks while you're travelling.
Be away for as long as you like: since you're not requesting leave you can be away for as long as you want and continue working while you're travelling.
Can be anywhere in the world: work and live anywhere in the world as long as you have access to wifi.
Be around people like you: work in co-working spaces and meet other people like you around the world, regardless of the company you work for.
Work more efficiently: instead of being in an office trying to 'kill time' you can focus on your work for as long as needed and log off when finished.
Control your work space: put on music you like, set your chair and desk in the most comfortable way and enjoy the time you're working.
Easier to upskill yourself: Can learn new things at your own time and pace, and create more personal value.
Create an affordable lifestyle: by being able to choose off-peak periods for things like airfare, public transport and gym memberships.
Stay fit: by choosing a gym or a class that suits you at any time of day or place.
Feelings of freedom: without the constraints of a regular office job.
Work in your PJs: which can be great on a day you're not feeling 100% but best not to make this a habit!
Where to work: at a desk at home or at a co-working space? It takes some time to work out what works best for you.
Takes a while to find your rhythm: what's your ideal routine? The only way to find out is trial and error.
Workspace ergonomics: if you've never done it before it will take some time to know what kind of workspace works best for you.
Emergencies: while work can be flexible, you may need to be too, sometimes you have to work when you want to be out and about.
Communication: takes longer and can sometimes be harder.
Time difference: can be challenging especially when you're travelling regularly.
Need to book more time away on travels: to budget enough time to be able to work as well as travel when you're away from home.
Distractions: not being in a conventional office can provide distractions.
Motivation is hard: there are so many distractions, other things you want to be doing than working.
Lonely: there is no one around you day-to-day and you lose that camaraderie.
Bigger accommodation: whether its your home or your travel space, you'll need to make sure you have a work-friendly ... working in bed is not always as good as it sounds.
Easy to overwork: without the usual 9-5 constraints and an official 'home-time' its easy to work silly hours in order to get things done.
Less face-to-face: easy to get sidelined in decision making when you're not there to show your face everyday.
Being at home too much: your family will see you all the time but you won't be spending that time with them equals less quality family time.
Spending too much time with other remote people: it is less tricky to spend time with others who are flexible and work remotely than those who have conventional jobs.
Managing emotions: there is guilt in not working more and anxieties whether you're doing enough especially when other collegues are unlikely to let you know of progress.