What is a virtual assistant?
Often a freelancer or contractor, virtual assistants (VAs) can take repetitive or time-consuming admin tasks off your hands, freeing up vital time for your top-level priorities. VAs are particularly effective…
If you’re in a personal assistant job, you may have considered moving into a more flexible role. Flexible working has been increasing in popularity for a number of years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the idea of hybrid working to mainstream attention.
It’s not hard to see why the popularity of working from home is on such a sharp rise. Offering additional flexibility, removing the need to commute and higher levels of productivity, it is often a preferred option for many full-time workers. However, just like any endeavor, working virtually presents its own challenges, not least isolation and overworking. Below, we look at the pros and cons of remote working.
One of the most commonly noted benefits of remote working is flexibility. It allows you to adapt your working hours based on your schedule and accommodate tasks that require being at home. It also allows you to adapt your working environment to your needs, changing the lighting, temperature, setting and background noise as needed.
Working from home also reduces the need for a commute, saving time and money and increasing morale – after all, who wants to spend hours traveling to and from work? These time savings can also result in a better work/life balance, as you have more time for maintaining your physical and mental health.
From a productivity perspective, virtual workers are reported to get more work done, as meetings become more effective and there are less distractions in the form of co-workers. You may also find you take fewer sick days as a remote worker, as you’re less likely to take a day off for a mild illness. Taking less time off makes it easier to stay on top of your workload and deliver outcomes effectively and efficiently.
There are also opportunities for personal and professional development that come from independent working. Being separate from most people within your company and the influence of your colleagues will force you to become more resourceful and solve problems by yourself. For example, you might be able to do a quick Google search to solve a minor IT problem, rather than approaching the IT department as a first port of call. You might even be able to pick up a few additional skills along the way by watching online tutorials, which can help to boost your professional confidence.
Working remotely also has its challenges. For starters, working from home is often isolating and can see you not talking to anyone for hours on end. In line with this, maintaining an employee community and connection to your colleagues can prove difficult. With no way to chat over a cup of tea or check in to see how your colleagues are faring, there are fewer opportunities to connect, engage and build a sense of camaraderie. It also reduces your exposure to the overall company mission and values, as you are removed from the office environment.
Virtual working can make switching off difficult, as the boundaries of working hours may become blurred – is it appropriate to be answering emails at 7pm? According to research from Zapier, remote workers are more likely to overwork, as the lack of the office routine makes it harder to disregard tasks outside of business hours.
This is supported by findings from a report from the UN’s International Labor Organisation (ILO), which found that 42% of regular home workers dealt with insomnia, while 41% suffered from stress. This was attributed to the blurring of boundaries between professional and personal lives and the ease of which workers can complete supplemental tasks outside of traditional working hours.
For some, working from home also introduces the risk of slacking off or getting distracted. Without your team or managers around you to spur you on, it can become harder to stay engaged, or perhaps that quick home task takes longer than expected, or you’re distracted by a visitor. It also restricts performance monitoring and, in some instances, can increase the danger of being overlooked for promotions and career progression.
The pros and cons of working from home are highly influenced by personality types; some thrive in a quiet, self-motivated setting, while others work best in the buzz of a busy office. Finding the right balance is important for you to excel in your job and career.
If you’re looking for a remote working role or to transition to a virtual job, Tiger can help, register with us today!
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