To remote or to not remote, that is the question — but how do you actually know if remote work is right for you? We all certainly can work from home — we’ve been trained in the art of Zoom meetings and online school since early 2020, after all! However, our return to some sort of pre-COVID normalcy now allows us to make the choice for ourselves: do we want to work in a traditional office setting, or do we want to work from our standing desks and kitchen tables?
Landing a job in general is a huge positive, and in any era of your life the start of a new adventure is obviously a good thing. It’s totally okay to not have something lined up immediately after graduation though, just like it’s okay to not necessarily know what it is you want to do with your life in general. Whether you’re looking for a job, figuring out your next steps, or just landed a job and are learning the ropes at your new company, you’re well on your way in starting this new chapter.
Graduating college in and of itself is such a huge accomplishment, but no matter how prepared we’ve been taught to be, moving into this new phase of life can still feel scary. Educating ourselves on the pros and cons of remote work can and will benefit us all so much as we search for jobs and enter the workforce.
The pros of remote work
After conducting informal interviews with more than 100 people working from home in 2021, U.S. News & World Report uncovered the following positive aspects about virtual employment: more flexible scheduling for appointments and errands, fewer meeting interruptions from employee chitchat, no commuting expenses, more time to spend with family and friends, and increased productivity (from employees being able to focus on and complete work at the times they’re able to be most productive).
“I’m currently working from home all five days a week and I love it.”
Amber, 23, a graduate of the University of Arizona and insurance broker employee who works remotely, shares what she finds most helpful about WFH. “I’m currently working from home all five days a week and I love it,” Amber tells Her Campus. “There’s just so many positives that outweigh the negatives, but I realize it’s different for everyone.”
Another pro of WFH, according to Amber, is that it saves money. “There’s no commute so I’m saving big time on gas, and I didn’t have to go out and buy a whole new work wardrobe either,” Amber shares.
Working remotely also allows for more flexibility in scheduling. “I’m also happy about the extra me-time that I’m able to build into my schedule, since my day-to-day is much more flexible than it was in college or than it would be if I was working full-time in an office setting,” Amber adds.
Like Amber said, making decisions about what time of employment you prefer is very circumstantial. What works for one person may not work for another, but there are definitely several perks we’ve all collectively discovered and benefitted from when it comes to working from the comfort of our own homes.
The cons of remote work
According to those same U.S. News & World Report findings, the main WFH cons that exist include: lack of separation between work and leisure time, easily misread cues due to electronic communications, little to no in-person contact with coworkers, and no in-office perks. All of these are very realistic and valid cons, but the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the downside of working from home is loneliness. It’s surprising how easy it can be to go days without really interacting with people face-to-face when working virtually. So yeah, it’s completely normal to feel lonely because of the disconnect from coworkers and from the rest of the world. It’s just important to combat any loneliness you may feel, since it can cause depression and anxiety to arise or worsen.
“I get distracted at home a lot easier, and I wonder if being in an office environment would help motivate me more.”
Kiara, 22, a recent graduate from the University of Virginia, elaborates on some of the drawbacks she has faced during her remote work experience, including loneliness. “I just started my first post-grad job a few weeks ago and was promised it would be a hybrid position. Come to find out on day one that my company isn’t resigning the lease on their office space and we’ll be working from home until further notice,” Kiara explains to Her Campus. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m really liking my job so far (I’m super grateful to have found one as college wrapped up), but I can’t help but feel lonely from time to time and like I’m missing out on forming those fun office friendships. I also get distracted at home a lot easier, and I wonder if being in an office environment would help motivate me more.”
If you’re hesitant about WFH because of the loneliness aspect, well you’re very much not alone there. As long as you are building in time to take care of your mental health and do things that bring you joy, you’ll be better prepared to combat this specific WFH con. After all, over 40% of remote workers say their flexible schedule is their favorite part of working from home, so there’s bound to be space to build that me-time into your routine.
Weighing Your Options and Making Your Decision
Although there are both pros and cons to remote work, there are ways to weigh your ultimate decision when job hunting. Anjali Chopra, an early-career recruiter for a large telecommunications company, spends her days working specifically with university graduates and hiring them for both virtual and in-person roles. As someone who works remotely herself, Chopra has experienced the pros and cons of WFH while also advising young professionals on how they’ll be able to deal with the benefits and drawbacks of working remotely themselves.
“There’s no denying that the future of work is constantly evolving, and that remote work is soon going to become ubiquitous for roles that are able to be performed remotely.”
“There’s no denying that the future of work is constantly evolving, and that remote work is soon going to become ubiquitous for roles that are able to be performed remotely,” Chopra tells Her Campus. “Though many struggled to adjust to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic, others thrived. To me, the flexibility of remote work is irreplaceable. In my current role, I’m the only remote recruiter on the team and I will admit that it does feel lonely sometimes knowing that my two team members can just spontaneously drive to the office and see each other, whereas it would easily take me over three hours round trip (and I’d have to plan it!).”
However, Chopra also adds that there are benefits to in-person work. “I feel fortunate to have held several in-person roles before the pandemic, though, as I do see the benefit for those early in their careers to be able to shadow team members. As someone who primarily learns by watching, it did feel more nerve-wracking to onboard remotely because I always felt like I was bothering my team members with messages, whereas I could have just scheduled time to sit and watch them navigate their day-to-days by shadowing in-person.”
At the end of the day, there’s really just one important thing to remember: do what’s best for you! When deciding what your first post-grad job will be, there is no right or wrong answer. College has prepared you for this (as well as the pandemic, which graced us with the lasting reality that is remote work), and you’re ready to dive into this next adventure, whatever that may be.
Now’s the time to explore and find the work scenarios and style that’s best for you. Good luck and happy hunting!