If you've never worked remotely before, then the idea of it may not hold much appeal. After all, by doing your job from home or another location, you'll lose the office-based camaraderie that gets you through the workday. You'll lose potentially open yourself up to feeling out of the loop, not to mention create a scenario where you're lonely and starved for company day in and out.
But despite the challenges of remote work, it's still nice to have that flexibility. And here are a few reasons to go after it this year.
1. A better work-life balance
Most Americans are dissatisfied with their work-life balance. If you're one of them, then doing your job remotely could be the solution. If you're able to work from home, for example, you won't have to spend time commuting on a daily basis, which can, in turn, free up valuable hours for personal tasks. And just being present in your home on a regular basis could make it easier to stay on top of household chores and maintenance -- things that tend to fall by the wayside when you report to an office.
2. Increased productivity
Office life may be your norm, but let's face it -- it can be pretty distracting. From talkative co-workers to the constant ringing of other people's phones, staying focused can be a huge challenge when you work in the presence of others. One major benefit of working remotely is the potential to eliminate the distraction of constant background noise. Once you do, you're likely to see your productivity improve, which will make you look good to your boss. And, the more you get done while you're at your desk, the less time you'll have to spend plugging away.
3. A world of savings
Americans spend more than $16 billion each year in the course of commuting to work. But if you do your job remotely, that's one expense you won't have to factor into your budget. The result? You'll have more money on hand to pad your savings or simply use as you please.
Working remotely might also help you save money on child care. Imagine you pay $240 a week for an after-school babysitter, which is actually in line with the national average. If working remotely allows you to be there to pick up your kids and stick them in a playroom to relax or do homework while you finish up your important tasks for the day, you'll have a substantial sum of money left over for other goals. Plus, it's cheaper to maintain a business wardrobe when you can trade in your slacks and collared shirts for sweats.
Working remotely isn't for everyone. If you're the type who thrives on company, then it may not be the best setup for you. The same holds true if you struggle to work independently. But if there's no specific reason preventing you from working remotely, and your employer supports such arrangements, then it pays to give it a try this year. It could end up being the best career decision you'll ever make.