I've been working remotely for about 1 year now. It's not for everyone but for me it's becoming invaluable.
Over time the cons have slowly become pros as I have better learned how to make the most of it.
The challenge in working remotely is that you have to get better at it, on top of doing your job. And I genuinely believe it's a skill, like many things that can be learned and improved.
Time, value and money
I know there are remote jobs that require a certain schedule, a home office if you will, which are very nice and I'm glad that companies are opening to this at least for software development but in my case I have full flexibility over when and how much I work, thanks to the awesome people I work with.
While financially it may not be that much different from a normal job with an hourly rate, having the ability to work any amount between a low demand part time to full on workaholic overtime at my own will is quite a valuable difference.
Often times while at the office you're not in the best shape to do your work or simply don't have work to do or you're waiting on someone else to do their work before continuing yours. Plus the lunch breaks and meetings and you're left with very little actual work. For some this maybe great, the less work they can produce for the same money, the easier life is, right?
Not for me, I can't stand being forced to stay in an office for long, wasting time, pretending to work, losing my motivation, enthusiasm or will to live. Getting drained of energy by the time you get home so that any other side projects or plans you have are so much harder to pickup. If only there was an alternative...
To have this freedom, workout when there's no people at the gym, do groceries, go on a walk, go to a nice coffee shop to work a bit.
It sparked in me an affinity towards maybe freelancing or planing the seeds of making my own business, my own path. In many ways this job is pretty much like freelancing but for just one client, which means you don't have to worry about finding them or stressing too much about managing projects, meetings, deadlines, invoices and so on.
Sucking at remote work
With the theory out of the way, I must admit that while it's amazing on paper, I used to really suck at it in the beginning. Either doing too much or not doing much at all. Mostly not doing too much for the longest period...
Keeping my sanity and balance
We are social beings, no doubt about it, even for the introverts that might shy away we still need to be around people to keep ourselves grounded in reality.
Not having to leave the house to be anywhere at a specific time for work, aside from meetings, means great power and freedom but as the saying goes, it also means a great responsibility on my hands. Myself. My mental and physical health, social interactions, leisure time, it all means I must have the self-control and drive to take care of each of those things everyday. More or less.
For some this may be natural and easy, for others may be harder, for me it's something I'm still getting used to.
I often find myself really enjoying being sucked into work, completely forgetting about the outside world but I do find it hard to snap out of it, especially when going out or meeting someone. I guess my brain has a built up inertia and even when taking breaks my mind keeps jumping back to processing and debugging what I'm currently working on.
Overall I'd much harder lean towards the 'unbalanced' life, I don't completely believe in the work-life balance. As long as I'm in the right place with what I do, I'd rather have it consume me and know I'm going towards a better me, investing in myself and my future.
Would I go back to a normal, office job?
Despite having times in which I kind of miss having a coworker to see cat videos with and chit chat, also having an imposed schedule which creates a good routine with sleep/eating habits I believe the trade-offs are overall in the net positive.
I think most people should try it at some point in their lives. It's no news that technology has changed and revolutionised many aspects of life and it is inevitable that people tend towards the most time and cost effective solution, in this case working remotely. It's a win-win situation, the employer also benefits with finding talent world-wide and perhaps leveraging the countries with a lower cost of living.
It's a complex topic and there's certainly much more to cover but these have been my thoughts and experience so far.
I'm very excited to have this opportunity, it drastically improved my life.