With the world & the workforce figuring out what our ‘new normal’ is going to be in the post-pandemic world, there are still many unknowns regarding what the future of work looks like. One day there is a news story about an employer shedding their office space completely and opting for a fully remote work force. The next day there is news about employers requiring their workforce to be in an office five days a week. For students who are looking to enter the workforce, via internship or full-time entry-level position, it can be confusing what type of position is best for you.
One thing is for certain, remote jobs are now much more common now than they were before 2020. Some positions such as doctors, construction workers, and teachers will have an expectation to be in-person. Many new roles including tech sales, recruiting, and project management offer more flexibility in location.
So, how do you determine what is best for you? It is important to decide prior to applying for positions what work environment is best for you and will help you thrive! This will also help you narrow your career search.
There are several important questions to ask yourself when considering the work environment best for you:
- What kind of distractions do you work best through? There will be distractions in whichever work environment you choose. When working in-person, distractions such as coworkers stopping by your desk to chat and the ping-pong table in the break room may impede your workday. At home, your favorite TV shows and household chores are both constantly accessible to you. It is important to determine what distractions you can work through and still successfully complete your workday!
- What do you value most? When making the choice of what style of work best suits you, it is necessary to consider what is of greatest value to you. When working from home, you are often able to save money and time since you do not have to commute into an office. However, working in an office provides stronger social interactions and connections, and can make you make you feel more connected to the work you are doing.
- What keeps you motivated? As a college student, it is clear you have drive and motivation! When choosing how to enter the workforce, consider what motivates you. Remote workers must be self-motivated and must hold themselves accountable. There are no bosses walking by your desk or making sure you are clocked in at start time. Individuals who recognize they are motivated by being around hardworking individuals in an office and would thrive with people holding them accountable in-person may want to consider a position that is in an office.
- What does work life balance mean to you? The term work-life balance has become a hot topic in recent years. Working remotely can provide more time to spend with your family. However, some remote individuals find it tough to not have a clear division between work life and home life since the two are so overlapped. Working in-person requires more planning and effort to prepare for your workday, but some workers appreciate having a separate office space outside of the home to help with their work-life balance.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years? Just because you make the choice to work in-person or remotely now does not mean that is what you must stick with forever! When choosing a first job, it is important to ask yourself if your chosen career path aligns with where you would like to live. Would you prefer city living or rural living after graduation? Is moving near family or a spouse important to you? Remote working provides flexibility on where you can move, but in-person work can also give you an opportunity to move to a new place.
Of course, many companies now offer a hybrid option that allows a blend of in-person and remote work. This can be a great solution if you are unsure what work environment is best for you! Whichever you choose, starting a new position can be a challenging and nerve-racking experience. Turn to those around you including career counselors, family, peers, and alumni to talk through any thoughts you may have!