Remote Work Is Different Than a Part-Time Job
April 30, 2018

Remote Work Is Different Than a Part-Time Job

by Brian de Haaff

Everyone wants to work remotely. I know this because I receive messages from people every day who want to work remotely for Aha! — I also read a lot of misguided perceptions. “It must be great working from home, so you can get more done around the house.” “Working remotely would allow me to travel the world.” “It would be great to work less.” The reality is so far from this remote work fiction.

Remote work requires sustained effort and focus — full time. Just like any other job done well.

Our team knows firsthand what it takes to do great work, no matter where it is done. Aha! is a fully distributed workforce with teammates located all over the world. And being a 100 percent distributed team defines us in many ways.

We span across many time zones. We have seen what works and what does not when it comes to remote work. And we all give our full effort each day. We can count on each other to do what is needed and then some.

A part-time job is something you give half of yourself to. But a full-time job is something you are truly invested in.

The benefits of remote work are real. And the opportunities for remote work are growing fast. But with all that growth comes a lot of confusion about what it really means to join a company without being physically co-located.

So let’s look at the fiction versus the reality of remote work, starting with the part-time myth:

“I will only have to work part-time.” The reality: You will work just as hard, if not harder, than office workers. When that big idea comes to you after dinner, you can hop online and work against it. You will also work better. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, fully remote workers are 31 percent more likely than non-remote employees to strongly agree that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.

“I should take any job that lets me work from home.” The reality: A bad fit is a bad fit — remote work cannot make it better for you. Your priority should be finding a job that is meaningful to you. One study found that meaningful work is the top factor in job satisfaction. Other research shows that it is the key to better health, teamwork, and engagement. If you find your work meaningful, you will also be more resilient in the face of setbacks and more likely to view mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures.

“I can multitask and take care of household chores.” The reality: Our team at Aha! believes in being interrupt-driven — being able to tune into the “real-time work” of instant messages, notifications, and emails. Note that I said “real-time work.” This does not mean tuning in to non-work activities. Set up your workspace away from anything that might pry you away from your responsibilities. You can also remove yourself from distractions by heading to a cafe or shared workspace.

“I can work whenever and however I want.” The reality: Yes. Working remotely does give you lots of freedom and flexibility. But it is not a license to work in isolation or without disruption. You have to be present and reliable for your teammates. Communication is the second-most in-demand soft skill according to LinkedIn, right after leadership, and it is the lifeblood of any distributed team.

“I can stay in my pajamas.” The reality: Besides not becoming a pajamas-all-day cliche, you have other reasons to dress for your remote job. One is to signal to our teammates that we are ready to get the job done. The other is to get in the right state of mind for working a full, productive day. Because not only do the clothes we wear change how we perceive ourselves, but research also shows clothing can actually affect our cognitive abilities.

I believe deeply in remote work. After all, Aha! was founded on the premise and promise of it.

But that does not mean it is a panacea for all workplace woes. If you find yourself dreaming of a half-time remote job, take a closer look at what is actually bothering you. You owe it to yourself to ask why the remote work approach is calling to you.

Chances are that your career frustrations run deeper than where your desk is.

What is the biggest stereotype you have heard about remote work?

We love working remotely — you will too. Join our team.

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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