“By 2025, some 70 percent of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month.” I noted a similar statistic in Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career in 2015 and remote work is quickly becoming the norm. This is great news for many highly sensitive people!
Before you get too excited, understand that working remotely implies that you have particular skills and abilities, typically combined with some degree of education. Not all remote work jobs are high-skilled but some of those, such as telemarketing, may be worse for HSPs than working in a physical office space. Other remote work may be skilled work that can be performed from anywhere, making physical location a mute point.
If you want to be able to take advantage of remote work, and I encourage you to do so if you have ever suffered in a physical working environment that is poorly designed or a social environment that is overstimulating, you WILL need skills. The more skills you have, the better off you will be in gaining employment and being able to grow into your potential over time. It might be tempting to think of remote work as an escape but it can quickly become your prison just as well, since, now you will be at home a lot more!
For some people, that would be perfect, for others, it might be maddening in a few months as they need at least a certain amount of social stimulation from their co-workers or managers. Professional interactions are an important component of career growth and ignoring this need will put you on the fast track to stagnation. Many people who work remotely are doing so as a blend between home and office, thereby mitigating some of the isolation. In my view, a roughly 50-50 blend would be a workable schedule for most people, depending on the nature of your specific career.
By the way, I work remotely as well as the program chairman, and professor, for a master’s degree that is entirely online. Higher education is also shifting rapidly to the online format as universities and colleges seek to cut costs and overhead. Speaking as a remote worker, I can say that isolation can be a problem, even if one is diligent about daily self-care and getting out in public. My ideal schedule would be two days at home and three days in the office with perhaps every other week flipping that balance. Luckily, I have more than one professional life ongoing, which helps with balancing it all.
How are you preparing for remote work?
Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career (now in audio book format as well as Ebook and print).