Is remote working all it’s cracked up to be? – 4 questions to ask yourself before you work remotely

Remote working has become extremely popular. In fact, according to a Gallup poll from 2015, 37 percent of U.S. workers say they have telecommuted.

This means that remote working is up from 30 percent in the last decade and is more than four times greater than the 9 percent who worked remotely in 1995.

There are many reasons for this trend, technology advancements, the rise in traffic (commute hours), people want to spend more time with their kids, etc.

But remote work is not suitable for everyone. To be a productive remote worker you must be organized, self-motivated, disciplined, have strong communications skills, and tech savvy.

To know if you meet these requirements, here are some basic questions you should ask yourself before you work remotely.

1.Do you make your bed every morning?

During a commencement speech, the commander of the forces that organized the raid to kill Osama bin Laden delivered some key advice on success – “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”.

What does this have to do with remote working? Well, remote working is all about building your own structure and schedule. In the absence of an office to go to, you will have to decide when your work day begins and how you go about performing the tasks throughout the day.

“If you make your bed every morning,” Naval Admiral William McRaven explained, ” you will have accomplished the first task of the day, it will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another.”

So, if you belong to those 27 percent who make their bed every morning, chances are that you get things done throughout the day.

Oh, and another thing, according to “The Power of Habit,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, “making your bed can boost productivity and create stronger skills at sticking with a budget”.

2. Are you easily distracted?

One of the main challenges you will need to overcome when working remotely is how not to get distracted during work hours.

It’s true that distractions occur in an office as well (and often more than outside the office), especially when your next desk neighbor is the “talkative” type. But at home you may be tempted to do some of your home chores, turn on the TV, take the dog for a “short” walk, etc.

These distractions are less common in an office and you need to ensure you are immune to them. Want to test your distraction level?

Try this clever test –

3. Are you a “planner” or “spontaneous”?

Working remotely requires building a solid structure, such as a regular schedule. You will probably need to somehow define “office hours”, even though there is no office. Sure, one of the perks of working remotely is, of course, the flexibility to work whenever you want, but still, if you want to be productive, you will have to build a routine schedule.

In terms of personality types there are the “planners” and the “spontaneous”.

The planners schedule tasks for exact times, they hate “playing things by ear” and see how they feel in the moment.

The spontaneous type, on the other hand, are very flexible and adaptable. They hate planning things because it is too much of a hassle.

Remote workers will be able to be more productive if they are the more of a “planner” type. To know which type are you, just look at your agenda and see if its full of items (especially if these items are for yourself).  

4. Do you have Slack/Skype/Google Message constantly open?

In the past, the office environment was essential for team work. Meetings in the meeting room, gathering around the water cooler, communication was seamless and encouraged team work.

Today, practically the same level of communication can be achieved through communication technologies. Instant messaging tools provide immediate online access to team members, voice and video communications are constantly available, file sharing, screen sharing, and online file editing, all these technologies essentially eliminate the collaboration barriers that used to be associated with remote working.

However, not everyone is used to using these technologies. Some people are less communicative, while others have it open all the time and are constantly online.

When considering remote working, you should examine whether you are a power user of communication tools, or someone who occasionally contacts people.


As we’ve seen, remote working can be great for some people, but not everyone is cut out for the responsibility. If you are organized, disciplined, independent, and a great communicator, you are more likely to succeed, if you are not, you can still give it a try, but you may find it difficult and frustrating.