Good and Bad about remote working
This page describes all the good and bad things about working remotely. A lot of the information here is from personal experiences and things that I tested myself.
Note: We use a lot of images in this page to illustrate the good and bad. In case your browser does not support WebP images, update it or use a different browser for the full experience.
What does remote working mean for me in my life?
Since I work remotely, I am much more relaxed. Less work related stress, more freedom and flexibility. When a friend of mine needed constant company because of her health, I worked from her house. When I was dating someone long distance, I could arrive Friday at 14:00 avoiding all traffic and work a bit more after arriving. I can go grocery shopping or take a siesta (rest and or sleep) in the middle of the day if I am tired of working.
I have a great income while living in an area where life is cheap and there are few local good jobs available. Summarised, I am a much happier, relaxed and less stressed person overall. I will never go back to a normal location based job. In the near future working while travelling the world is in the plans but when the time is right. If there would ever be strict Covid measures again in Spain, I would immediately leave to a country with no restrictions while taking my remote job and income with me of course.
Dream remote job (managing expectations)
Maybe you have this image in your mind of a “dream remote job”. Lets manage the expectations here, the word “job” is still in there. This means that you will have to adapt to the company’s culture even remotely. Your boss or manager will tell you what to do and within reason you have to follow that up. Any company will test to see how much work load you can take. They will give you more and more work until you really start to complain or make big mistakes. Then they will lower the load just a bit. And two months later, they will try again if they can give you more clients, tickets and or projects. This is because the company needs to make a profit and get as many financial results as possible for the stockholder or for the business owners. Some business wonders create a company to have it make for example 3 million euros per year profit and then sell it for 30 million euro.
During my freelance IT consultant work, I have also encountered some very difficult situations. Some Monday after a big software update, one co-owner was free, one was on a client visit unreachable and my other colleague was free. So basically I was on my own with two developers to help me only with the software solutions. It was raining major errors for the company critical logistics software meaning that our clients could not operate their businesses anymore because of our errors. We did like 3 hotfixes to fix twelve Priority one (Prio1) bug reports. And I was just working there for literally 5 weeks! Onboarding meaning teaching you how to learn about the company, clients and colleagues usually is too short and not very informative. My manager often misses messages on Slack and I have some colleagues that structurally do not answer on Slack or when I mention them in a ticket. These things are part of any job.
Yes, I do have some friends that are programmers that get a full salary while working about 25 hours a week, often starting at 12:00 and finishing at 16:00 or 17:00. They are great programmers, delivering the desired results within the timeframe given by their managers. And programmers are hard to find, he gets like 10 messages a week on his LinkedIn profile. So if he wants to change he can leave anytime so the company needs to be as kind as possible to him.
Note: because we are extremely enthusiastic about working fully remote, we are not objective about the advantages and disadvantages to work remotely. However, we do our best to also mention all the bad things about working from home.
By far the biggest disadvantage for remote working: Bad internet
It depends on the type of remote work that you do what the minimum internet requirements are. A software developer that works on his local machine can work offline even. A translator or content writer can work with internet that is not super reliable. However, many remote workers have video meetings often. A week-start video meeting or a one on one with your manager by video chat becomes really annoying if your internet is not working properly. In case you work with client virtual conference calls, especially when sharing your screen, you need at least 10 Mbps up and 10 Mbps down.
Real life work from home example: beach volleyball wound
While playing beach volleyball and jumping for a ball, I got my leg hurt quite badly on a big stone under the sand. Three big scratches with quite some blood but of course I kept on playing beach volley, so a lot of dirt came in the wound. This wound had to be cleaned, disinfected and bandages replaced three times a day for over a week. Working from home means having a shower to wash it out and everything that you need to take care of it. It healed much faster than when I would be working in an office. I could put my leg up to rest as well while working from home. Try that in an office? All your colleagues would make fun of you for sure!
Real life remote working example: irritated gums (flesh around the teeth)
Yesterday I was eating something crunchy and my gums got irritated quite badly. It hurts a bit and I feel like there is a wound there. Working from home for me means fasting (no food) until 12:00. I can brush my teeth at 9:00 and 11:00 in the morning and use mouthwash three extra times per day to disinfect and take care of the wound.
Note: some of the tips here like climate control are only possible if you have a private home office. In case you live with housemates, family or friends or you work while travelling, not all these tips or advantages may apply.
Tip: Laptop lifestyle for mobility and the possibility to work from anywhere
We advise you to never accept it if a company forces you to work remotely from a computer. At least ask permission to also be allowed to work from your own laptop if you have one. Only this way, you can move around within your house for example working on the balcony, terrace or in the garden. Of course with a laptop, you can also work on the beach, a local Starbucks or terrace, restaurant and so on. This is important to have contact with people while you work remote in order not to get isolated or feeling lonely.
Mega change in the recruitment industry: Flip it around!
Traditionally, a recruiter or hiring manager asks a candidate that applies for a job:
Why should we hire you? Why do you have what we need? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work for us?
In some cases where a developer has a lot of experience and is highly demanded, the candidate can turn things around.
The applicant can ask:
Why should I work for your company? Why should I choose your company over the other offers that I have? What can your company offer me that the others can not? Why would you like to hire me? What growth opportunities do I have at your company?
Any market value depends on offer and demand. The demand for experienced developers is extremely high at the moment. There are so many software development, cloud-based tools and mobile apps that there are just not enough people available to fill all the open positions.
Good: No clean desk policy when you work from home or fully remote.
Disadvantage: some fully remote employees and the rest in the office can be a big disadvantage also for making promotion.
Differences between office and remote work
No stress that you have to be on time no matter what is going on in your life. Traffic, a bad night sleep or some issue with your partner, housemate of children nine o clock you have to be there no matter what.
How scheduled video meetings can ruin flexible working hours
Suppose that on a Tuesday evening, you are meeting up with some friends for dinner. Here in Spain, that usually means 21:30 in the restaurant. By the time everyone arrived late and decided what to eat it is 22:30 before ordering. So the dinner is finished around midnight. A great time to dive into the nightlife, a club for example. And just so it happens that evening is amazing, lots of people and energy. Or you meet someone and there is huge chemistry so you like to take it one step further at your place or the other person’s place. Since you work flexible hours, you can start at 10:00 or even 12:00 normally BUT if you have an important video meeting about a project, with a client or so, you have to be there for example at 09:00. Video meetings and important tasks or deadlines can have a big impact on your nightlife. If your friends invite you to that same dinner but you have a priority one issue for your cloud software, you might have to cancel because you have to work into the night until the application is working again.
Tips to prevent important tasks from ruining your private life:
Schedule all important meetings between 12:00 and 16:00. Ask in your job interview clearly what your high priority tasks are going to be. Keep an eye on your deadlines to prevent you from having to work late often. See if when needed, you can hand-over a task or issue to a colleague. Make sure that you are available to that colleague as well when the tables are turned.
Bad: many video meetings
Tip: when you have a remote job interview, ask what percentage of your working hours you will have video meetings in case you will get hired. Ask if there are regular scheduled video meetings and how many.
Remote work contributes to less fuel consumption and cars, less traffic.
Many people especially programmers can work for example 24 hours while getting paid a full 40 hour salary.
Tip: get yourself a virtual coach for example from UpWork.com to help you stay on track, perform and be happy and healthy.
If you are very social and you like human contact, maybe working remotely is not for you. You could consider working by phone for a call-center or technical support department to still have some human contact although virtually. Some for example remote team manager or
Many of the disadvantages of remote work depend on your need for social contact.
Spy app quality assurance job
Start recording your time on a project means that the screen recorder starts.
Besides going to the toilet or making a tea sometimes you can not enjoy the freedom of working remotely.
Advantage: private phone calls during remote working hours
Walk the dog during lunch or a short break
Do the laundry
Clean up the house
Personal care like shaving, showering, brushing the teeth.
While your waterboiler makes a tea, you can pet your cat, dog or any other animal that you have at home.
Best advantage of remote working: No more commuting, no more traveling to work and back.
Imagine never having to travel to and from work again. No more wasting time, energy and money on travelling to and from work.
Having a nine to five and being in the rat-race with a car can really drain your motivation and energy.
A big part of work related stress, comes from commuting to and from work especially with traffic jams.
I was talking to a client that works hybrid in the Netherlands in a video meeting while working remotely from Spain. He told me that he has to be in the office three days per week. He works hybrid meaning two days a week from home. His morning commute by car was about 1:15 hours. Depending on the traffic, the way back was about 1:30 or more so around three hours of driving to and from work. Because he also had days that he was working remotely, he knew the advantages of working from home. This made him feel even worse about having to get to and from work.
A lot of traffic and a long commute can really get you down.
What is you do not have a driving license or you do not have a car and your dream job is office based and there are no good public transport connections available from where you live? If you work remotely, you will never have this problem.
ing costs and no toll for paid highways.
#image toll roads
Driving to and from work tired and stressed can even lead to an increased chance of having an accident with your car.
Possibly you have to pay to park your car when you go to work, adding extra costs and making your day more complicated.
Depending on where you live, you might even have to pay toll for the highway to work.
I mean look at this picture, why do we let ourselves get pushed in this have to have a car, drive daily to stand in traffic while using very expensive fuel and polluting the world?
Depending on where you live, commuting by public transport like the train, bus or Metro can be very uncomfortable as well.
Crowded, hot, cold, people bumping into you, having to watch your wallet, phone, laptop and or bag from getting stolen and the list goes on and on. When you work at home, you can never leave or forget something in public transport. Not having to worry about any of these things makes your quality of life much higher.
Many countries even now still have the obligation that you wear a facemask in the public transport. Uncomfortable, you can forget it, get a fine if you don’t wear it, hard to breathe and so on.
None of these commuting disadvantages apply to remote working or working from home.
Summarisation of the disadvantages of commuting:
If the average commute is 45 minutes one way, you save 7,5 hours a week by working remotely. You have no costs for the train, metro, bus or fuel for the car. With current extremely high fuel prices the costs for commuting including the train tickets became much higher. The amount of work related stress is much less, you waste less energy and you can life a much healthier and happier life. Your carbon footprint and your contribution to the pollution of the earth is much lower. You have a lot more free time that you can spend with your partner, family or fiends. Or to spend by yourself enjoying sports, nature or any activity that you like. If you don’t need a car, don’t have a driving license you might even get rid of owning a car completely.
Study or read an ebook
Bad: low salary and more competition
When you apply for a remote job, anyone in the world can apply for it. This means that the competition for a remote working job is usually high. Some companies use that advantage to attract the best talent and they offer the same salary worldwide. But some companies use the competition to offer a lower salary. So a disadvantage of finding a remote job can be that you might get offered a lower salary.
Good: motivated and happy colleagues
When I worked office based in the Netherlands, some of my colleagues worked the same job for 10 or even more than 15 years. They were completely demotivated and their managers were not able to guide them because they just refused to work. Some employees even wanted to get fired because they would receive over 100.000 euro premium (redundancy payment) for being fired because of their age (50+) and amount of years that they worked for the company.
What does work from anywhere or from everywhere mean?
Remote working from anywhere does not mean that you have to travel around your country or around the world.
Simply having the freedom to take your laptop and work for a few hours on a bench in a park surrounded by nature and people walking by is a great advantage.
Note: possibly your first ever remote job with no experience might not allow you to work from everywhere yet. Maybe you start as a customer service agent on the phone all day and you need high speed reliable internet to use the companies intranet to provide information and create tickets. However, your second remote job, then already with experience might allow you to work from anywhere.
What about Covid and working remotely?
If there would ever be another period where limitations for human movement would come in effect again, at least you could continue to work from home. You would not lose your job, your company could continue to be successful or even thrive like Netflix did or for example an online teaching platform. If you value your freedom to move around, you could probably leave the country that has strict limitations and travel to a country where you can be free again. To be able to work from anywhere is an amazing advantage when you work fully remote.
Note: With any hybrid job, regular work travelling or visiting clients in person, working from everywhere is not possible.
You can select to work for a software as a service company that would never get limited if a new pandemic would appear. So many companies and sectors have suffered during the pandemic period like hospitality, airports and airlines.
If this whole pandemic restrictions thing would come back and you can work fully remote, you can just leave the country with strict rules and travel around where the freedom is. A friend of mine happened to be travelling in Thailand during the first year of the pandemic. She stayed there for almost a year completely avoiding any lockdowns and night clocks that we had here in Spain.
You never have to change desks or move office anymore
What are all the things that you did not like about working in an office?
New interim manager and changing locations and departments all the time.
Are you a travel junkie?
Then working remotely from anywhere while travelling the world can be the best thing ever for you!
Tips: make sure that your company allows or even better encourages working from anywhere. Look for a remote job with mostly asynchronous communication because you will be in different time-zones. Because in AirBnB internet connection speed and reliability can be bad, see if you can limit video meetings. How can you prevent becoming isolated or lonely while working and travelling? And last advice, make sure that you can work by laptop only. (no computer and no external monitor)
Advantage remote working: fasting while working remotely
I do intermittent fasting on my working days all morning long. Usually I like to eat a meal salad to break that fasting after 12:00. I add a cucumber and or an apple usually to the ready made salad pack. However the salad tastes much better with two soft boiled eggs especially after a day of training to recover and support my muscles with protein. Soft boiling eggs is easy to do while working from home. I put the water on the gas in the pan and set my alarm for after 8 minutes. I continue to work normally and place the eggs in and set another alarm to boil them for 5 minutes. During those 5 minutes, I wash my cucumber and cut my apple. I mix everything together including the sauce and eat my salad while handling my customer tickets. If I have very little time, I just grab a wrap meal salad pack that needs no extra preparation. It’s great to have your kitchen, spices and utensils available to prepare any meal at any time of the day while working from home.
Another advantage, at work during the regular lunch hours, there might be a long cue to get lunch. When you work from home, every second of your breaks or lunch time, you can relax and enjoy. The work cafeteria might also have some of your favorite deep fried snacks that are hard to resist.
Having sex with yourself or your partner during a break at home is a great advantage of working from anywhere. Try this when you work in an office?
For this to be possible, your partner has to be at home while not working or you should plan lunch and block this time in both your agendas.
Prepare dinner during the day like marinating the meat and already cooking the pasta or cutting the vegetables.
Some remote working companies let you choose your own hardware.
MacBook, Chromebook or Windows, whatever you like.
Microsoft or Google apps?
When I was working office based, I had a Windows laptop and the company provided a Microsoft office software package. Meaning Outlook for email, Excel, Word and so on. When I worked as a freelance IT consultant, the company provided me with Google Workspace for my business email. I had basically Gmail but with my work address. This is a great advantage for me because Microsoft software is not my favorite. Most office based companies use Microsoft only.
Another great advantage of working from home is the company of your pet while working.
Our pets can feel our energy, mood and will help you to calm down when you are getting a bit stressed.
If you work in an office, you can also make a shopping list at work. There is a big advantage when you work from home, you can walk around in your kitchen. You can check your storage closet, the freezer and see what you still have and what you need. In case you are planning to eat some meat that is still in the freezer, you can take it out a few hours before dinner time to defrost.
You need to get trust from your employer and you need to prove that you are with the trust.
The suspicion that you are not working when you are working from home.
Office based employees are not productive many hours of the day. They are walking around, doing private things on their computer or
If you live in a warm country, you might enjoy a siesta of two hours sleeping when it is very hot. This is practically impossible while working in a office location. To disconnect and relax fully, possibly even sleep like an hour or so.
Climate control of your workspace in your home office
When you work from home in your private office, you get to decide everything about the climate. If you wish to open a window and for how long. If you turn on a ceiling fan or the heating. What temperature you would like to have. In case it is hot in the summer, you can decide if, for how long and how cold you will turn on the air-conditioning if you have it of course. In case you are cold, you can grab a home blanket while working from home in the winter. In any office environment, you have no control at all over these factors or you have to come to an agreement with your colleagues.
In your office or a meeting room, there is only one setting for the air-conditioning or the heating meaning that you might get in conflict with your colleagues about.
In July 2022 I went by aeroplane from the south of Spain to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. During the three-hour flight, someone decided to set the air conditioning at the lowest temperature. Not sure if that was a request from a passenger or if the cabin crew itself had turned the air conditioning to 18 degrees. Mind you that it was 30+ degrees in Span so you literally walk into this wall of freezing cold. I think that it was a new aeroplane because the air-conditioning was very powerful. After like 1 hour I got so cold that I asked the cabin crew to please turn the air-conditioning much softer or off. By that time that damage has already been done. Now 14 days later I still am coughing, have a running nose and my nose is blocked most of the time. While working from home and having full control over the climate
I actually have meditation music on quite often while I am working remotely.
if you have music on, how loud and what kind of music.
Tip: I have a super long (2+ hours) and boring sprint meeting on Thursdays. I am only actively involved in that meeting for a maximum of 45 minutes. The other time, I lower the volume of the meeting and start a calming YouTube video on a low volume in the background. If someone really said my name, I could just hear it and refocus on the meeting.
Since I am not speaking, I mute my microphone so that they can not hear me typing. Once, I wasn’t paying attention and the manager decided to take a 5 minute break. Everyone all of a sudden left the meeting and I had no idea why. Because I had no idea what time we should come back, I had to keep an eye on my screen.
Advantages of remote work: less costs
No special (formal) work clothes or suits for example as a sales manager or account manager and managers in general often wear a suit to work.
Buying suits and having them steamed regularly is expensive.
In case you gain or lose weight, you might have to buy new suits again.
If the office that you work at is located in the center of a big metropolitan area, the food will be expensive and unhealthy during your lunch break.
When you work remotely, you will never have any sexual harassment or intimidation from a colleague or your manager. Any contact is digital and therefore can be proven. So working late to finish a task and a colleague talking to you inappropriately or touching you in a sexual manner is simply not possible. It is possible that a colleague might communicate over WhatsApp or Slack in an inappropriate manner. However the chance of that happening will be much less.
If you work for example in construction, it is custom to go for fast food or a snack-bar during the lunch hours. You need to be very strong in order to resist joining and ordering a big bucket of fried chicken or a hamburger.
A 200 euro ticket in Germany
When I was working as an international service technician, I had to travel from the Netherlands to the black forest in the south of Germany several times. This was a very demanding client and solving the technical problems there was a very big challenge. Driving there took about 8 hours depending on the traffic. I do not like to drive long distances and it takes a lot of my energy.
After arriving, I meet at the clients location the next day and try my best to solve the issue. The evening in the hotel I spent with the German technician and the next day it was driving back home again 8 hours. Coming home means that I needed 24 hours to recover. The thing that really bothered me, some weeks later I got a traffic cricket at home for 200 euros. In Germany, you need to keep a distance to other cars of 50% of your driving speed. I never drive too fast so I was doing 96 km per hour where 100 was allowed. But my distance to the car in front of me was 14,7 meters while it had to be 96 / 2 = 48 meters.
Because this was less than 30% it was a heavy offence and the fine was so high. They even wanted to take points from my drivers license. What if you rely on a driving license for commuting to and from work and your driving license gets revoked by the police? I kindly asked my manager at the time to pay the fine or at least half but he refused. In the Netherlands there are never checks by cameras on the side of the road that perform these checks and I was not aware of that rule at the time. The day driving back 8 hours I was often way too tired to drive safely as well. This is another great example where working remotely can never give you parking or speeding tickets. Not for your private car and not for national or international company trips.
Bad: Going crazy of being at home all the time
Bad: Paying for expensive electricity while working
Bad: Not having an extra bedroom, garage, attic or basement to work.
Having a home office
Living shared with housemates or family
Working in bad or even dangerous environments
Good: No more travelling for work
Before accepting this IT consultant job, I was talking to a company about becoming a commissioning engineer. This means that after your colleagues install a complex machine, you go there to get it running and hand it over to the client. They gave an example of working conditions that made me say no. If they installed a machine for example in Russia, the factory would not yet have heating, The doors would be closed otherwise this could damage the machine. However the big loading doors would have to be opened often during the working day. In case that I would be in Russia on a Sunday that we could not work, I would not get paid. Also travel notice for an implementation could be given 24 hours before departure at the airport. Looking at those conditions and that I am now making a similar income working 24 hours a week from home I am very glad that I didn’t take that job them. The reason that I am sharing that here, remote working from home means no business travel and not working in bad or even dangerous conditions. I remember that when I worked as a installation technician, I worked with a colleague that was missing most of his teeth. After working some time together he told me how that happened, he was using a high power (Hilty) drilling machine on top of scaffolding to drill holes for a cable gutter above his head. The drill unexpectedly was blocked in very dense concrete and hit him in the face. Most of his teeth were knocked out. Imagine the pain and also how his appearance has changed that day.
Working with flexible hours completely asynchronous.
An example of flexible working hours while working remotely
Last week I had to go to the townhall for a document. The visit was stressful and took a lot of energy that day. So I took a rest for several hours after coming home. From 18:00 I got a big wave of energy until 23:00 and I was able to be very productive.
Remote work advantages
So when I work for myself writing this blog, I watch videos, listen to podcasts so I have my hands free. I can work any time of the day and night that I like to. So when it is time to make dinner, I have a podcast or video that I would like to watch on the waiting list. I start it and make my dinner. This way I get a lot more done in a day while keeping my healthy lifestyle.
Working at night
Climate control in the office, always someone too cold or too warm.
visit family for a month in another country
Take care of your parents or a sick family member while keeping your work going at the same time.
Several countries are starting to offer a digital nomad visa for remote workers or digital nomads visas.
how to disconnect while working remotely
Live in the middle of nowhere and make a great income
Advantages: soft boiled eggs three times per day
Advantages: getting an important call back during working hours is always possible. If in a video meeting, excuse yourself, mute your microphone and take the urgent call. If you are the meeting organiser, ask someone else to take over the video meeting OR propose a coffee break of a few minutes during the video meeting.
Working from home meane having your medicine cabinet available all the time.
Using substances while working from home
Smoking a normal cigarette, cigar or vaping
Note: smoking is very bad for your health and we strongly advise you NOT to smoke cigarettes NOR vapours NOR sigars.
You can smoke while working and all day long if you really like to.
When I worked in a machine factory in the Netherlands, smoking in the office and even outside just standing in the parking lot was no longer allowed. It gives a bad impression to visitors, sometimes the smoke entered the building through open windows and employees were throwing cigarette buds on the parking lot. There were several smoke cabins built where people went to smoke. They were standing in this glass box cramped up together in their free time saturated with the horrible smoking fumes. Especially when the factory had a coffee break or lunch time it was impossible to find a place in these smoke cabins.
We worked based on a time registration system (clock in and out) and later, to discourage smoking, smokers had to clock out when they went for a smoke. This meant that going for a smoke four times per day could cost you, including walking to that smoking cabin, about half an hour. Two and a half hours per week and one vacation day per three weeks. Or you would have to stay longer at work in order to get your 40 hours a week on the clock.
When I work for myself, I am often doing research to find valuable information about remote work. This means watching YouTube videos or listening to podcasts for example. I use bluetooth headphones and I can walk around the house, fold my laundry, do the dishwasher or clean the kitchen. I can cook lunch or dinner while working, keeping my laptop close in case that I get inspiration or that I have to make notes. Another great advantage of working remotely.
If someone could not afford a cigarette, they could just enter that cabin and they would get their shot or nicotine and tar without even lighting a cigarette. If you choose to smoke and you would like to smoke, you can do that while working from home. You can smoke in your home office or you can smoke on your balcony. Smoking a cigarette does not take more time than visiting the bathroom so it has to be possible even during working hours. In case your manager or boss asks you why you were not available, just mention that you went to the toilet. If you are on the phone or you have video meetings often, you will have be creative to find the right moment for a smoke.
Just to give you an idea how far that smoking cabin issue went, some employees started to smoke in their car in order to avoid that awful cabin. This was banned by the company because it meant smoking outside of these cabins while being on the company property. So some employees parked outside of the company’s property so that they could smoke in their car. The company would not allow employees to leave the property while working. The final ruling was that it was allowed because the employee had checked out of the timing system. Officially they were not working just like they would check out and go home after a day of work. In case of an emergency like a fire, they would not have to be accounted for if they were off the clock. These kinds of extreme office politics limiting the freedom of employees can really take a big toll on employee happiness and motivation.
Note: we strongly advise against using any substances like marihuanna, drugs or alcohol.
In theory, you can use other substances while working remotely like a marihuanna joint, alcohol or even drugs. Some ADHD people need a mild shot of marihuanna to relax and function. If you would use marihuanna during working hours in an office based job, you could probably be fired on the sport. When working remotely, no-one can smell it and probably no-one would notice any red eyes during a video meeting. I had an irritated eye once because of a medical condition. My eye was tearing up and tears were running down my face while in a video meeting with my manager. My manager did not even notice it. I took a quick run to a farmacy during working hours to get some eye drops and that helped me to get rid of the issue.
Covid and working remotely
If you have a fear of Covid or you have a low immune system, working from home means that you do not get in contact with any source that might transfer a cold or worse. Many people that had Covid were a-symptomatic
Second advantage of working from home, in case you test positive for Covid and you are still okay to work, you can isolate at home and continue to work. In my case as a freelancer, I only get paid for the hours that I work. Suppose that I would be for example a IT consultant that is office based or even worse sent to clients every day, I would not be able to work for 10 days after testing positive for Covid. Also from 2020 depending on the situation, if you have a serious cold, people will not accept that you work in a shared space or on client locations because it might be covid. Again working from home will eliminate these issues completely. In case you are in a video meeting and you have to cough, just excuse yourself and turn off your microphone. I have cough sirope within reach at my home office as well as throat candies and always several bottles of water and extra glasses.
In case you work location based, restrictions might close down the company that you work for. Or limit the amount of customers, possibly bankrupting the company.
Never worked in an office
By the way: Do you know that there are young people that have never worked a day of their life in an office? They started working in the last two years or have gotten their first job working remotely. If they would ever try to work hybrid or office based, they would have no idea how to do that!
Burning hot car in the sun
If you live in a warm country like me in the south of Spain, any parked car in the summer becomes scorching hot in the sun. When it is time to go home, you get in your car and it feels like a sauna. You need to use the air-conditioner on it’s maximum to cool the car down just a bit. With current fuel prices over 2 euro per litre this also costs quite a bit of extra fuel to use the air conditioning. While working remotely, you have no commute so you do not have toi even own a car. Also no need for public transport NOR wearing a facemask in the public transport.
Freezing winters and commuting
When I was living in the Netherlands, we had some winters with a lot of freezing temperatures. Snow, frozen streets and even ice if it had been raining while freezing. When arriving at your car in the morning, you had to see if you could even open the door with your key because the lock might be frozen. Then face the cold to get the snow and ice off the car and then hope that your car battery has not died and it will start normal. It could be very dangerous driving out of the residential area because the roads were not treated with salt to prevent ice.
With public transport there were many trains that were not going or overhanging power lines snapped because of the weight of the snow or a tree falling on top of the lines. With the bicycle it was also very slippery and if cars would slip and slide they could hit you.
Good: no more parking the car problems
When I worked as a IT consultant fgor a Dutch company remotely, my colleague and manager were late for the weekstart sometimes on a monday morning. They appeared quite stressed as well. When asking them why they replied, since all of our shared ofice building is occupied, we can not find a parking place anymore some working days.
Most companies choose an office location that is also accessible with public transport. Ideaaly near a train station or in the center. This means that getting there by car can already be very challenging. I remember a morning where it had snowed so I had to de-ice my car. Then there was a lot of traffic and when I arived at work, I could not find a parking space. By the time that I stepped into the office to start working I was already low on energy, motivation and quite stressed. None of these energy draining and time consuming work related events happen anymore when you start working fully remote.
You no longer have to worry after a long day that you might scratch the car while parking at home or that someone else might scratch your car when you work remotely.
Good: Nobody can see what you write on your paper notepad or whiteboard in your home office bedised your family or housemates of course. When you write personal goals or use your notepad somewhat as a personal diary what happened to you, nobody from work can read that without your permission.
Safety while working from home
I have worked many years ago in construction as a electrician. On building sites, there are many hazards that can cause serious injuries. Working on scaffolding, cranes and other heavy equipment around you and holes in the floor because the stairs have not yet been installed.These are just some of the safety hazards that I faced while working in construction. Needless to say that none of these apply when you work fully remote.
Example: starting work 4 minutes after getting out of bed.
Many people that work from home or remote wake up and go for a run first or even to the gym. I prefer to just wake up and start working immediately. I never have any video meetings in the first hour that I work remotely. So I start by reading my email and checking and updating my customer support tickets. I woke up thisTuesday after a bad night with little sleep and snoozed my alarm so many times that it was 07:56 when I really opened my eyes. I walked from my bedroom to my home office 6 metres away and started up my laptop. My invoiceable working hours started 4 minutes after I got out of bed. Taking a bit of time in between for some selfcare in the first hour and making tea. Try this when you work in an office! Even if your office would be just a 10 minute walk or bike ride. That day during my lunch break, I took a nice 40 minutes nap helping me to recharge to make it until the end of the working day. Officially that was a 30 minute break but hey don’t tell my boss please!
Toxic colleagues or office tactics
In the office, you can have colleagues that you do not like or that have bad behaviour like asking you to do their work for you. Or constantly asking too much about your private life.
Depending on what company you work for, people mighty have too much free time on their hands and to entertain themselves, they can play mental games with colleagues.
The advantage of remote work is also that all interactions between colleagues are digital and can be copied or shown by forwarding email or making a screenshot of the comments on a ticket and so on.
When you work from home, you do not have to commute to and from work. This means that on average you have at least 1,5 hour more in your day that most people need to get to work and back.
Prepare to go to work
Depending on how you are as a person and how much you value grooming and your appearance, getting ready for work can take up to half an hour. I often start working straight from bed and take a shower break after I’ve done some work already. And yes because I work fast, I usually take my morning shower during working hours.
One of the advantages of working with a laptop is that it has speakers, a microphone and a camera built in. This is ideal when you
Start at 7 and take time off during the day to do the things that you need and like.
For example bringing the kids to school and picking them up again.
In case you can work part-time, you can end up with 32 hours a week.
Otherwise when you can get everything done that you need to during the week including grocery shopping, cleaning the house, laundry and sports, you can take three hours on a saturday afternoon to finish your 40 hours.
Doing health treatments at home
Blocked nose treatment
I had a blocked nose for several years. The solution is to get a nose shower and use some salt in water to wash out the nose. In the beginning I had to do this treatment 3-5 times per day. The water needs to be body temperature and you can not use contaminated water because it can cause health problems. For example in the office I could not use hot water from the coffee machine to use for treating my nose. Also after the treatment, water keeps coming out of my nose and I have to use a lot of tissues to sneeze everything out. Try that while working in an office environment without getting in trouble with your manager.
When I play beach volleyball, sometimes I get wounded when me and my team mate go for the same ball. Or when I am jumping near the net and someone lands on my foot. When you work at home, you can take a few minutes several times per day to change the bandage and disinfect the wound. Sometimes I go to the community pool during my break time so that the wound can wash out and clean completely. Another great thing about working remotely, in the hot summer, you can go for a swim in the pool or the sea to cool down if you live close by. Once I had a splash in the pool and officially I was still working. My slack button was green and because of an unexpected issue with a client, my co-owner asked to have an unscheduled meeting with me. I had to ask for a few minutes to get my hair done, and look like everything was perfectly normal in that meeting. That was a close call.
In case you have a serious illness like diabetes and you need to do testing before eating or even injecting insulin, this is much more comfortable from home.
If you for example would need oxygen and tubes in your nose, you could still work as an administrative assistant or chat support. An SEO expert, so many work from home opportunities where you never have to be on camera even.
A video call in the morning
Unfortunately one of my young children lives far away from me. I try to call him on weekdays and often he is not really interested in talking to me. If he is just playing outside of the reach of the camera, I can just work. I have to call him at a specific time in the morning after he wakes up and before he goes to school. In my previous office based job, I would be driving or at work when I am supposed to call him in the morning. This would make the video call with my little boy impossible. Sometimes it is just a few minutes and other times we are on the phone for 25 minutes. Of course when he asks for my attention I can still give him my full attention.
Bad things about working from home
You can not get away from your partner in case both of you work from home and you got in a fight last night.
You can get crazy of being inside walls all the time just like some people did in 2020 with the lockdown.
A good remote company gives trust and flexibility and monitors the outcome, performance and results that a remote employee delivers.
Remote employees just have to get the job done on time with great quality results.
Remote employees need to be dependable, reliable and responsible.
When you get the interview for a remote job, you can ask if you can work with a laptop only. This means no big computer and NO external monitor. In case you work from home maybe you could use the extra monitor but you can not work at the beach or travel around either in your country or travel the world easily while keeping an extra monitor with you. Some developers need a powerful computer to generate the software or do calculations so they can not work on a laptop. One friend of mine working for a big telecom provider is only allowed to work on her home wired network because of cyber security. She has an amazing rooftop terrace but she can not work from there because there is no cable. The applications that she controls could get the mobile telecom provider in real trouble if she got hacked. When you work from home, the costs of electricity are usually for yourself. This means that a powerful computer to do video editing can cost you with current electricity prices easily 50 euros per month extra or even more. I did a video production project before where I had 4 big screens on my powerful computer. My energy bill is now around 50 euros per month but it went to 150 euro per month seriously. 750 watt power supply in the computer and the 4 monitors on 12 hours a day sucks out a lot of energy.
Examples of disturbing noises while working from home
When I was working from home as a freelance IT consultant, all of a sudden the neighbour turned on the sound system to the max. Because we have a shared patio of oly 2 by 2 metres this was extremely loud. I could hardly hear my clients through my headset and the sound came in through my microphone. It went on for more than 2 hours when I got enough of it. So I called the police but because it was daytime, they sent a car. I was really not able to continue working and I had meetings that I had to do, so I walked up and rang the doorbell of the neighbour above me. It turned out that it was the cleaning lady that was using the stereo on the maximum volume. I explained that I work from home and my home office is connected to that patio and I could not work because of the noise for hours. She apologised and turned down the volume. I had similar disturbing sounds from a dog that was barking all day long and my neighbours renovating the connecting apartment. This is clearly a disadvantage that you have to cope with while working from home. In case you work at a coworking space, this is not a problem. I found a great web designer from India. However when I have a call with him, often I hear the prayers in the background. I think that it is from outside and that he can not turn that off. I struggle to concentrate on the conversation with that noise in the background.
This is key for working remotely: A good speed and reliable internet connection.
If you don’t have it and you can not use mobile (4G or 5G) internet, then it can be a big problem.
I was working with a guy from India for some SEO on and off page optimization. He did not follow my instructions very well so I had to speak with him quite often. These conversations by either Google meet just audio or WhatsApp voice were very difficult. His voice was cutting most of the time and there were delays often. We even lost connection sometimes. Switching toi Telegram did not work either. My performance coach from Pakistan has the same problem most of the time.
You can have a bad timezone combination while working remotely
I have several friends that work remotely. One came from Mexico here to Malaga, Spain. This friend was still actively involved in a project that was not yet finished. This means that my friend was working the Mexican hours while living here in Malaga. I had a friend that came to visit Malaga ofo r few months while keeping her remote job from Canada. She could never join us to socialise before 9 pm. Sometimes her meetings lasted longer than expected and she was not able to socialise with us. This disadvantage can also apply in case you have meetings with a team that is from all over the world. Someone has to work late in the evening or wake up in the middle of the night. Working mostly asynchronously can help a lot to solve the time difference problem. Another friend of mine from Mexico is working here for 5 months now but might have to start working on a new project that has the Mexican timezone. In that case she will also not have many opportunities to have a social life. Because 17:00 (5 PM) in Mexico is depending on the exact location here, 22:00 or 23:00 (10 or 11 PM) Meaning that if your day runs out a bit you could be working until after midnight.
Onboarding is more difficult remotely then in person.
You can not walk to a colleague or hear how yor colleague is doig his or her work.
This is also called crosstalk, when you are in one office and you hear what your colleague is saying to another or discussing with a client.
Real advantages: move city province or even country or continent while keeping your job and income. (ideally within a similar timezone or working asynchronously)
Advantages: do a 10 minute meditation in the middle of your working day with some breathing exercises when you are have a stressful day or you are
What does working from anywhere mean for me?
Working in my reclining camping chair with my laptop on my knees on the balcony. enjoying the sunrise, listening to the birds whispering and breathing fresh air. As a freelancer I have done video meetings from my terrace as well. I always use a virtual background anyway so usually my colleagues do not even notice the difference.
If I am travelling, I have text documents that I can edit offline, so even in an airplane while flying I can work if I would choose to do so. This means travelling as long as I am not driving can be turned from a useless time to useful time. When I arrive, I have already done most of my work and can enjoy my destination or the company of the people that I am visiting.
I listen to podcasts about remote work that I can download for listening offline in an airplane. YouTube videos can be downloaded to watch offline also. Sometimes, I take the audio only of a YouTube video and listen to it while driving or when I have to wait somewhere with just my air-pods on the phone. It means that I have more free time to enjoy my life or I can get much more work done every week.
I haven’t worked much on the beach close by. The lack of a mouse, no external keyboard when typing 5000 words a day is not very convenient. in the intense sunlight, it can be quite hard to see your screen well. With sunglasses on I have trouble reading my screen and I can not use my reading glasses and sunglasses at the same time. Later when my work is more structured, I can plan to do most of my research working outside of the house. I have worked at the communal pool. I take a garden chair with me and work with the laptop on my upper legs. I enjoy being outside of my house and that there are people around me.
A friend of mine has some serious health problems and she needed someone to take care of her for two weeks. So I moved on short notice to her apartment and continued to work as a freelancer and for my website and e-books from her place.
I am thinking of going fully digital nomad in the future but this would be easier just working for my website and writing e-books. For the freelance IT consultant work that I do, I have a lot of video meetings. That company operates Dutch time-zone which will not be very convenient when travelling in for example South America or Asia. Also for the video meetings, I need a stable and high speed internet connection which can be difficult to have while travelling. When I was travelling a few months back, my mobile internet for roaming switched back to 3G with an upload of 1Mbps and I could hardly work. This was not very fun when you have video meetings and the AirBnB internet was not reliable at times. So for now I will keep building on the website and writing on the e-book until that starts to become a new income stream over time.
Real advantages of remote work: your boss or manager can not check what you are doing all the time
Instead of having noise from your colleagues in the office all the time, you can listen calmly to some nice meditation music. (paste 5-10 links youtube)
If there is some disturbing noise in your house while you are working, you can use Bose Smart Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (NC 700) or the Sony MX-1000. These will filter out most of the noise coming from outside. In any office situation this would never be accepted. Disturbing noise in your house can be for example a barking dog of your neighbor, children playing, a neighbor renovating and so on.
No more toll roads, speeding tickets, parking tickets and no more stress if you can not find a parking place while you are already running late.
No chance of dents in your car
No super expensive fuel needed
Real advantages: people with a disability for example in a wheelchair.
The real advantages of remote working
Masturbate, have sex with your partner during lunch time
Bring the kids to school while working 32 hours a week
Exercise one hour per day instead of commuting to work.
Taking a call with your coach during working hours
Having short introductory video meetings with freelancers that you are interested in hiring whenever it is convenient for them. About your private business or project which you would never be able to do in any office space with colleagues around.
Advantages remote work: covid is not a problem or it even helps.
Sunscreen ou in the morning and back in when it gets windy or it is raining
Open the terrace door when it is cool in the morning to air the house. Then close the terrace door and the curtains when the sun is up and it gets hot.
Check if the sun protection (awning) is out so that the house stays cool on a sunny day.
Advantages of remote work woke up at 05:00
So today for some reason I woke up at 05:00 and could not get back to sleep. I watched some TV and had some time to think and reflect. I normally start my working day at 08:00 but I decided to start my day today at 06:50.
Some companies only offer a job temporarily remote. For example because they are going to setup an office later. You can still accept the job, get remote work experience and either refuse to go to the office or get a new job when the office opens. I got a remote job offer where they were planning to become office based later. I declined that job of course.
Always make sure
Your company might check by your IP if you are working in the country that offered the remote job in the first place. Many digital nomads travel the world and use a vpn to hide their IP address and real location. Note: A VPN can make your internet connection slower and or less reliable.
distractions at home TV, smartphone, kids running around, pets and so on.
lower paying jobs
work life balance
more competition to get a remote job
The lack of support
When I am working remotely, I often need help to solve a bug from a developer. Or my manager has to help me find the solution to a support ticket. By working asynchronously, any response might take a few hours or even a day. This makes the progress on certain tickets slow. In some cases unfortunately, I get no response or help at all. A lack of support and no option to walk by a colleagues desk is definitely
Some remote jobs are heavy in video meetings
Secretary or call-centre representative (CSR)
With some jobs, for example remote call-centre representative,
Working in a group of colleagues
A friend of mine works as a data analyst and data cleaner. She works in a group of colleagues together on the same task. They are on Slack in contact constantly. This way she can not take a break without her colleagues noticing. This severely limits her freedom to work flexible working hours and do some small jobs in the house. Some programmers also collaborate about the blocks of software that they are building. Normally a programmer can work flexible hours and there is no control over how many hours and what times a person works. When you are programming in a collaborative group, this is not the case. Your outcome or deliverable is a group effort and you depend on your colleagues to generate a good outcome within the required timeframe.
Work from home with children
reduce work-related stress
Lower expenses on food, washing and ironing business clothes.
Why in Spain very few people work remotely
The advantages of remote work are freedom and flexibility, however remote work comes with a price. You have to be disciplined, responsible and productive on your own. I was talking to an office based friend telling me that her manager is looking at her and her screen as well as her colleagues all day long. Apparently, in Spain people find it difficult to ignore the distractions and to deliver the expected results on time by self motivation and self-discipline. After analysing the remote work situation in Spain and talking to many people in my social network, this is the conclusion that I arrived at.
Feeling like you are stuck in your house always
Demotivation because of a lack of structure and or routine
Tip: go for a run every workday in the morning and then start your remote working day. You get out of the house, do exercise and the run will work similarly as commuting putting you in the working mindset. When you come home after the run, have a quick shower and go to your home office. This way you make the mental transition from your private life to your remote job.
Remote work knowledge base and documentation
Safety, you never get in dangerous situations driving to work, in public transport or at work. Neither working on location nor working in the office.
Working remotely means no papers and no printer, scanner and copier. They were always out of paper or the paper got stuck. Scanning to your computer was even very difficult for me to learn, I remember.
Toxic office environment
The freedom to live and work where you want
My manager does not understand me at all
As an IT consultant, I work with colleagues that are mostly office based and some work hybrid from home at times. As a fully remote freelancer, I am part of the company but I also keep my distance. If my manager would know how fast and easily I can update my tickets, he would give me much more work for example. One day, my manager made a suggestion that really made me understand that he has no idea of what my life looks like and what I need. Each Thursday we have a sprint meeting and apparently, the office employees and my manager have lunch together then. Muy manager suggested that he would turn on a camera and that I could then be virtually part of that lunch and talk to my colleagues as I would do if I would be there in person. He was looking at this situation from his perspective, how can I have an informal chat with my freelancer off the clock.
Now let’s look at this from MY perspective.
I get tired of staring at screen all day long stuck in my home office sitting on a chair. I do not like being on camera feeling that I am watched. As a freelancer I do not actually take breaks where I stop the invoiceable hours. Yes. I do take breaks often actually but I just work much faster and take a break while my working hours are still counting on. The last thing that I need is to be stuck in my home office with a camera on my face with my virtual background of course and then Working remotely from Spain while the company is based in The Netherlands is great for me. No need to attend any social obligatory birthday coffees, pay 5 euro for a birthday present of a person I don’t even know. No need to join friday afternoon drinks while traffic is building and I am not getting paid. Many advantages really that are maybe too subtle to mention.