Working Online and Being Remote How Do You Do It.

5 Disadvantages Of Remote Working + 7 Advantages That Make It All Worth It

By now, you’ve probably heard of the common disadvantages of remote working, such as:

  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Communication problems
  • Time zone differences
  • Losing work-life balance
  • Issues with productivity and time management

All of those disadvantages are talked about A LOT. They are 100% real and must be considered, or at least known, before getting into the remote workforce.

However… there are a few disadvantages of remote work that aren’t talked about enough.

Like romanticizing the lifestyle, the support (or lack thereof) of your loved ones, and even the old beliefs you have to let go of to bring your dreams to life.

Being aware of them is the difference between becoming a successful remote worker, or feeling like there’s no other choice but to return to a traditional office environment.

We’ll discuss each one below, along with 7 advantages of remote work that make it all worth it.

Key takeaways

  • Remote work doesn’t magically make life perfect. There are still problems, just in a different setting.
  • It can take a while to unlearn what you’ve been taught to make your goals a reality.
  • People in your surroundings may not support you. This can be painful, but remember that you’re building YOUR life, not theirs.
  • You may need to dabble a bit before you find a remote job that fulfills you.
  • The advantages FAR outweigh the disadvantages. Just keep your expectations in check and be clear on your goal, but flexible in how to get there.

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5 not-so-talked-about disadvantages of remote work

These underrated disadvantages of remote work are critical, as they can make or break your journey:

Note: If you have a remote-friendly career, these disadvantages may not apply to you (and that’s OK!). They may resonate more with remote workers who are switching careers, quitting their traditional jobs, and/or starting online businesses.

1) Life still happens – just in a different setting

It’s easy to romanticise the digital nomad lifestyle. You know, with the laptop on your thighs, as you sit on a paradisiac beach, under a perfect blue sky.

That’s why from the outside, it’s easy to think that online employees who work and travel have fun. all. the. time. Nothing worries them and life is perfect.

Onilne working in Australia. Can be lonely. Chris from Salt and Charcoal looking over water with a bus in foreground.
It’s easy to think that remote workers have a perfect life

But this is far from the truth. Life is still happening, with its ups and downs and all, just in a different setting. You still:

  • Get sick and need to go to a doctor
  • Need to buy groceries, clothing, etc
  • Have to shower, cut your hair, get at least 7 hours of sleep, brush your teeth…
  • Have to process and work on unresolved issues – anxiety, depression…

Yes, online work can take some problems away, like reducing your stress levels and helping you balance work and leisure. But it doesn’t make life perfect by any means.

Our advice: Revisit your expectations. Make sure they’re realistic – i.e. don’t expect to be financially free and travel the world within your first 6 months of remote work. It’s possible but not common.

2) It can take a while to break free from what we’ve been taught

Most of us have spent years (if not decades) believing common myths of remote work, such as:

Your mind needs time and practice to unlearn all these misconceptions. Be patient with yourself as you work through this.

Our advice: The best way to “speed up” this process is to take action. Start with low-risk stuff, like earning your first bucks online or reading a book to change your mindset. Spend at least 15 minutes a day working on yourself.

3) People in your surroundings may discourage you

During your journey, you’ll unlearn old beliefs and work towards bringing your dreams to life. Sadly, this can also bring fear or even resentment from those around you.

They may think you’re changing too much/too fast, that you’re not the same person you were, or that what you’re doing doesn’t make sense. If/when this happens, stay focused on your goal. 

Bec from Salt and Charcoal looking over view at Frenchman's peak Esperance

You may have to make peace with the fact that some people may never understand or agree with what you’re doing… And that’s ok, too.

Remember that you’re building your life, not theirs. You are the one who’s going to live it. Your decisions may go against the grain, but they will bring you joy and fulfillment. That’s what matters. 

Quick Tip: Be crystal clear on why you want to work remotely in the first place. Remote work is often a tool to get to a goal – financial stability, travel, more time with family… Find your why and it will be easier to overcome the discouragement.

4) You may need to dabble around a bit before finding what suits YOU best

For most of us, online work is a journey that is not straightforward. There are hundreds of ways to earn money online.

So, you may have to try a few roles before getting something that you enjoy AND brings you closer to your goals. This is particularly true if you want to:

Our advice: Give yourself room to explore different remote roles. Doing this will help you find out what you like and don’t like to do.

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5) You need to have a clear goal in mind but be flexible in how to get there

Let’s say your ultimate goal is travelling full-time.

You may visualize yourself doing so by working from your laptop, taking plane after plane, and going to exotic destinations.

However, this may not be feasible in the short/medium term. Moreso if your remote work doesn’t provide the income necessary to do it.

To change this, you can start by expanding your concept of “travel”. This opens you up to different possibilities. For example, besides getting on a plane to a new country, you can also travel by:

  • Exploring new spots in your city
  • Visiting a nearby town for a full day or a weekend
  • Renting a van or sailboat to travel that way
  • Woofing, house sitting, studying abroad…
  • Travelling to other countries as an au pair (Bec has travelled to Europe that way!)

Our advice: Dig deeper into your goal. Why do you want to get there? When you see yourself achieving it, how does it feel like? Are there easier ways to feel the same way?

7 advantages of remote work that make it worth it

Yes, remote work has some disadvantages. But these make EVERYTHING worth it!

1) Flexibility

One of the most enticing benefits of online work is the unparalleled flexibility it offers.

Not only the flexible working hours but the freedom to design your schedule according to what YOU want (or need) to do.

It won’t matter if you’re an early bird or a night owl – get your work done in the hours you feel most productive.

You can also create a workspace that suits you best, whether it’s a cozy corner at home, a local coffee shop, or even a tropical beach.

For example, our usual schedule is working from Monday through Wednesday. That way, we have the rest of the week to explore whichever destination we’re at the moment.

2) Better work-life balance

There are so many stunning spots in Esperance! Like this one in Little Wharton Beach

Remote work allows you to literally tailor your life to YOU.

Gone are the days of spending precious hours commuting through traffic or crowded public transport. Use that time to sleep more, spend more time with your loved ones, or engage with your hobbies.

And if you’re travelling, you can enjoy exciting new experiences during your free time, whether it’s exploring landmarks, tasting local cuisines, or connecting with new people.

3) Cost savings

By working from home, you’ll save on commuting costs, professional clothing, and pricey meals outside. You only need your remote working space to get things done.

With that said, your home expenses may increase a bit (electricity, internet, water…). However, some companies are starting to cover part of these costs when their employees work remotely.

These cost savings can be redirected towards your goals, like funding your travel adventures or exploring more destinations.

4) Global opportunities

When you work in a remote team, geographical barriers no longer limit you.

Companies are increasingly embracing remote teams, which means you can work with people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and time zones.

You can also collaborate with clients or companies from different countries, broadening your professional network and gaining exposure to diverse cultures and perspectives.

5) Personal growth

Remote work pushes you to become a more self-motivated and disciplined individual. Without the physical presence of a traditional office, you’ll learn to manage your time efficiently, set priorities, and stay focused on your tasks.

These valuable skills will spill over into your personal life, empowering you to tackle challenges with newfound confidence and grace.

6) Reduced stress

Traditional work environments can be riddled with stressors that can negatively impact your mental health, such as:

  • Commuting to and from work
  • Rigid work hours
  • Reduced privacy and interruptions
  • Lack of control over your workspace and its surroundings
  • Micromanagement
  • Hierarchies and office politics that create a competitive atmosphere
  • Dealing with difficult or hostile personalities
  • Fear of layoffs or uncertainty about the future of the company

Having a remote job eliminates many of these stressors, allowing you to create an environment where you can thrive without unnecessary pressures.

You’ll find that when you’re in a comfortable space, stress takes a back seat, and you can channel your energy towards being more productive and creative.

7) Enhanced productivity

Working from a cafe on your online business in Australia

Remote teams often have enhanced productivity, as they don’t have the constant interruptions and chitchat that are common in office settings. This allows you to concentrate better on your tasks.

Additionally, the freedom to customize your workspace helps create an ambience that maximizes your efficiency. As a result, you can complete your work more effectively, leaving you with extra time for activities you love.

FAQs

What is the biggest problem with remote work?

The biggest problem with remote work is the potential for isolation and loneliness.

When you work from home or in a remote location, you might miss the camaraderie and social interactions that come with a traditional office setting.

As human beings, we are naturally social creatures. Being physically separated from colleagues can lead to feelings of disconnection and even affect our mental well-being.

Learn more: The main challenges of remote work.

Why is remote work so hard?

Remote work can be hard due to the lack of clear boundaries between work and personal life.

When your home becomes your office, it can be difficult to switch off from work mode and fully relax during non-working hours. This constant blurring of lines may lead to burnout and decreased productivity.

What are the ethical issues of remote working?

Some of the ethical issues of remote working have to do with cybersecurity and privacy, like:

– Data security
– Confidentiality
– Employee privacy
– The use of personal devices for work

However, these are often addressed in the remote work policy of the company.

The bottom line

With remote work, the advantages far outweigh the challenges. From working on a paradisiac beach to exploring new cities while you earn, remote work grants you the freedom to create a life that aligns with your goals.

Yes, life still happens, and remote work won’t magically make everything perfect. But it offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing you to design your work-life balance according to your needs and desires.

Just try to surround yourself with a supportive community of like-minded individuals to stay motivated and encouraged. Embrace your unique path and remember that you’re building a life that brings you joy and satisfaction.

Finally, face the challenges, learn from them, and let the journey of remote work guide you toward a life filled with excitement, growth, and memorable experiences!

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