With the developments of technology, the “remote secretary” is now a possible option. But what are the advantages and disadvantages?
First of all, there are obvious benefits, common to all workers who have the opportunity to work from home full time or part time: less time spent in traffic jams, no more need to prepare lunches or spend money in downtown restaurants; and finally there is much more time flexibility, since it is possible to accomplish some domestic tasks throughout the day.
But there are advantages that are specific to the secretary’s profession, such as tranquillity. When working at home, you do not get disturbed all the time by colleagues who confuse your role with that of a “jack of all trades”.
This makes it easier to focus on revising a document, preparing an agenda or even answering a customer on the phone, without all the daily grind that goes on in the office.
Some disadvantages to consider
Remote work is not always without risk for the morale or for workers’ general health. First of all, don’t think of working less by adopting a remote working schedule. The opposite usually happens. A UN report on remote work shows that “remote workers” tend to work longer hours than their colleagues who go to the office.
Then you have to know how to deal with loneliness and isolation. You don’t have the luxury of taking a walk to the coffee machine to chat with a colleague during the day. You also have to be self-disciplined to draw a line between work and personal life. The office is not in the house, so there is a great temptation to work any time, without a fixed schedule.
In this respect it is also advisable to establish your quarters in a place dedicated to work (an office or a converted guest room) and follow a regular schedule as much as possible. Staying in contact with the boss and colleagues is also very important, either by videoconferencing, by email or by phone.
Plan a technological upgrade
Finally, implementation of remote work mostly includes the constraint of providing your own work tools. So you have to make sure that you have a functional WiFi connection, as well as a computer and telephone that is powerful enough to accomplish all the tasks related to a secretary’s work.