According to a report published by the US Bureau of Labor Services, close to 24% of full-time employees worked at least partly from home. A growing number of startups in recent times, in fact, operate almost entirely online with employees logging in from different parts of the world.
This has also opened up opportunities that may not have existed to a candidate (or an employer) earlier. Today, it is possible for a developer to be part of a Silicon Valley success story while staying at home in Idaho or Oregon. From an employer’s perspective, this saves them money in office space, electricity and many other worker amenities that they do not have to now pay for.
But should you accept that remote working job offer?
Remote working can mean lesser human interaction with your fellow workers. Depending on your time zone, this can also mean an absence of real-time interaction with workers which can be inconvenient at times.
So what are the factors one must look into before accepting a remote work job offer? Here are some quick tips.
Do a cost benefit analysis
Remote working allows you to save money and time in commute each day. There are also a number of indirect savings when working from home. New parents or workers with senior family members may save on daycare or senior-care expenses by working from home. At the same time, employees also incur additional costs in electricity, air conditioning and internet consumption at home.
On the other hand, many employers today offer lucrative employee wellness programs like discounted gym memberships, laundry service and personal development programs that may not necessarily be available to remote workers.
It is important to work out the math to understand if the benefits of working from home truly outweigh the benefits from a financial perspective. Some employers do offer to pick up the tab for such expenses borne by their workers. In such cases, taking up the remote working job is a no-brainer.
Even if your employer does not take care of your at-home expenses, there are other intangible benefits that you must account for. Saving time on commute may free up your time to pursue hobbies that you may have not been able to otherwise. Living in a smaller town can also bring down stress levels and enable you to live a more healthy lifestyle.
What’s the ideal salary?
Negotiating a salary could be tricky for remote jobs. Do you base the negotiations based on what the employer offers for their in-office workers, or should this be based on the worker’s location?
A $65,000 job in the US is considered average. However, this can be on the higher side in countries like India or Philippines. Even within the US, a pay of $100,000 for a software developer in the Silicon valley is regarded average while this is well on the higher side in the mid-west.
Should an organization overpay their workers who located in Asia, or underpay those who live in cities that are more expensive than their own? As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that employers offer a pay that is the higher of the two.
For instance, an employer may pay their Indian employee nearly the same as what they would offer for the role in the US HQ while a company based in the mid-west may offer a higher pay to workers based in the Silicon valley. The reason this works is because this enables employers to pick the most skilled workers for each role. This improves productivity and revenues for your business.
So what really is the ideal salary for a remote job?
According to a some estimates, the average pay for a remote software developer is to the tune of $115K a year while business analyst and marketing roles pay anywhere between $70,000 to $85,000 each year.
Will you be a good remote worker?
While remote working offers a lot of benefits to the employee, it is also important for you to know if you will indeed be a great fit for the role. This is especially important if you have traditionally worked in an office job and are new to remote working.
One of the most important traits as a remote worker is discipline. Working by yourself at home can be incredibly distracting. It may be tempting to work while watching TV or take a quick nap simply because there is nobody to monitor you. A disciplined worker tends to be more productive in a remote job than one who is easily distracted.
At the same time, there are also instances where remote workers fail to demonstrate their productivity since they are not physically present in the workplace. Check with your potential employer if they have time tracking tools to protect you from future conflicts. This is especially important if you are paid by the hour.
The second trait that you must possess is written communication. A lot of real-time and non-real-time communication in a remote working job is through apps like Trello, Skype and Slack. All of this requires workers with an incredibly good written communication. While this is not a trait that could measure how good you are at your job, it is still critical for workplace collaboration.
Thirdly, you must ask yourself if you are looking for a simple 9-to-5 job or if you are okay with flexible hours. Any remote job requires you to collaborate with workers and vendors who may not be available in the same timezone as you. This makes it necessary for you to be available outside the regular working hours in your timezone. If flexi-timings is not something you can afford, it is recommended that you opt for a regular in-office job or seek an employer from your own timezone.
Finally, remote working can be quite lonely and depressing at times. Regardless of how many people you talk to over phone or Skype as part of your job, human beings still yearn for physical interaction.
Is your social circle in your current job limited to people in the workplace? Do you have hobbies or other pursuits where you meet other people?
If you do not have such interactions with people already, it is important that you reconsider taking up a full-time remote job.
Remote working is the future and the number of such job openings is only going to increase with time. While working from home may not be for everyone, it still offers incredible opportunities that may not be available to a lot of people today.
The pointers provided in this article should help you in making a calculated decision on whether or not a remote working opportunity is right for you.