How often have you hit the snooze button in the morning and thought: If only I could work from home? You need to try working remotely! Even if you jump out of bed with excitement to drive to the office (hats off to you), working remotely provides a host of benefits for your business, and I want to convince you to give it a shot. When I tell someone that I work from home, one of the following phrases always seems to echo back: 

“Do you like it?”

“Do you miss working in an office?”

“Do you ever get out of your pyjamas?!” 

My answers? I love it! Yes, sometimes I miss working in an office. Yes, I definitely get out of my pyjamas…every single day (not that I have to, but I choose to). I am just one of the millions of Canadians who work from home or somewhere other than an office. With commute times getting longer and prices for office space rising, working remotely has become more appealing to both the employee and the employer. Is remote work right for you? Here are some of the pros and cons of working remotely that I have experienced personally that will aid you in this decision: 

The Pros 

  • No commute. This is a definite pro. No rush hour, no road rage, no packing a lunch. This accumulates to many saved hours by the end of the month, while reducing my gas bill as well.

· Flexibility. Working remotely gives you the ability to work when you feel most productive and take breaks when you aren’t, increasing productivity levels.

  • Work-life balance. Kids have a school play at 1:00? No problem, you just make up that time later in the evening. It allows you to do the things that are important to you while still getting the work done.
  • Quiet reflection and contemplation. When you are not constantly interrupted by colleagues and phone calls and can have quiet time to contemplate and reflect, this breeds innovation and creativity.
  • Better client service. Having remote workers in different parts of the country allows you to acquire new clients while maintaining relationships with existing local clients. It also gives you an edge as you utilize apps and programs which allow you to meet virtually with your clients and provide services no matter where either of you are in the country, or in the world for that matter! So regardless of location, I am to able to offer all of Avail’s services, from Accounting to Wealth Planning, to anyone, anywhere, anytime. 

The Cons 

  • Isolation. When you work at home, you can start to feel very isolated. The lack of team lunch breaks and water-cooler chats can make a remote worker feel disconnected from the team who works in the office and sometimes forgotten.
  • Lack of structure. If you are not a particularly self-motivated individual, it can be difficult to stick to a self-imposed schedule or focus on the task at hand.
  • Negative stigma. Remote workers may be viewed by co-workers as “slackers” because they work at home, which may at times lend itself to being overlooked for promotions.
  • Misunderstood. Friends and family can push the boundaries when you work at home. “Why can’t you go let my dog out at lunch or pick up my child from school, you are at home?!” Not everyone will understand that although we are at home we are still working and are not free to babysit or run errands for them. 

For myself, I feel that the benefits of working remotely far outweigh the negative aspects, and I have truly enjoyed it. On a company-level, Avail CPA has experienced many advantages in having remote workers that translate into a competitive advantage. Emerging technology has allowed me to stay connected to my team and the occasional face to face meeting reminds the team that I am a real person and not just a face on a screen. 

So how do you minimize the negatives and maximize the benefits of remote work? From my experience, I have found 5 keys to success, which will be the topic of next months article, so stay tuned!

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