Are You Made for Remote Work?
What are the pros and cons of remote work? Could it be the next chapter of your vet life?
Chronos Vet was one of the earliest companies to hire remote receptionists, nurses and managers, before the Evil Pandemic started and before “remote” became the new cool thing.
Based on our collective experience, what are the pros and cons of working from home rather than in a vet practice?
10 Pros of Remote Work
1. Time savings
No more time wasted commuting seems to be the most obvious benefit of remote work. Your commute basically entails walking from your bedroom to your office.
Could you live without the stress of rush hour traffic?
2. Money savings
The next benefit is that you don’t need to spend gas money, which means significant savings after the recent increase in gas prices.
“Added benefits include less pollution, less wear and tear on your car, and less risk on the road,” explains Kim.
“When you work at home, you are less likely to order junk food at the local fast-food joint or gas station, which is much healthier in addition to a money-saver,” explains Becky.
Even though we do recommend dressing for success, you don’t need to spend money on scrubs and work shoes. You can wear the casual working clothes you already have. Slippers or flip-flops are a pretty cool way to walk to work!
3. Improved work-life balance
No time commuting means you can dedicate that time to your friends and family, your hobbies, or your health and fitness. Having more “me” time is a huge benefit.
“I am now able to be home with my family as soon as my computer is turned off,” explains Kim. Jess says: “If something comes up at home, I can take care of it without feeling guilty.”
4. Improved quality of work
Working at a vet practice is notoriously stressful. Working from home is not. There are much fewer interruptions, much less multi-tasking, and way fewer distractions.
Lisa explains: “working remotely allows me to focus more on the task at hand since I don’t have the peripheral noise that I would have in a hospital setting.”
With fewer distractions, Ami enjoys increased focus and productivity.
Jess loves not being micromanaged. “Being in the comfort of my home is relaxing and comforting, so I’m able to work more efficiently without having someone hovering over me.”
Your productivity goes way up, while the risk of burnout and compassion fatigue goes way down.
5. A healthier lifestyle
Working from home also allows you to take a real lunch break and drink as much water as you’re supposed to.
You can also stretch or do a quick workout, which would look really weird in a practice setting.
You actually will have time to go to the bathroom before your bladder explodes. “And you get to use your own private bathroom!” Becky adds. What a concept!
If you have a dog, you will be “forced” to take a few walks around the block.
Since you don’t waste your time commuting, you will have more time to work out, hike, or bike, depending on your preferences.
In addition to less mental stress, there is less physical stress: no more crawling on all 4s, no more schlepping 100 lb dogs, no more bites and scratches, etc.
6. No drama, politics, and toxicity
“When you’re stuck in the same building with the same people 8 hours a day, there can be a lot of drama, stress, toxicity, and politics that we simply don’t have at Chronos,” says Becky with a big smile of relief.
7. Less stress
“Being more comfortable in my own home, wearing my comfy clothes, and not having to put on a face for coworkers or clients is priceless. If I’m more comfortable, I feel better, I work better, I perform better quality work,” explains Lisa.
8. Greater flexibility
Remote work means you can live in one State but work for a practice in another State, which means your hours can be more flexible depending on your needs.
“I can work from anywhere now, as long as I have an Internet connection,” Kim rejoices. In addition, “I can be more flexible with family obligations.”
Lisa explains: “Flexibility of working remotely is invaluable. So many of us in vet med have put in 12 or 14, or 16-hour days, only to come back the next day to do it again. Sometimes, circumstances change, and it’s impossible to continue.”
9. A way to stay in the field
Many receptionists, nurses, and managers leave the field for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with hating veterinary medicine.
Some leave practice because of a child with special needs, an elderly parent who needs help, or a bad back, or bad knees, or bad hips, etc.
Some team members have to move every few years because of a spouse in the army. Instead of quitting their practice job and finding a new job in a new city, they found remote work to be the perfect solution. Now they have a steady job wherever they move!
Lisa confirms: “Working remotely allows those of us who have children, or a bad back, or no transportation, those who would otherwise leave our field, to stay in vet med and still make a difference in the lives of the pets & the people they bring in.”
10. Other benefits
Each remote worker finds additional benefits.
For example, Lisa explains: “Remote work is great for introverts like me. I do my best work when I’m not surrounded by people.”
Bubbly Kim loves the fact that she can “meet people from all over the country via Zoom or chat.”
Lisa feels that “remote work strengthens your communication skills. You can’t rely on facial expressions, so you naturally get stronger at communicating, both verbally and with the written word.”
Ami loves being a stay-at-home dog parent!
Anne enjoys “forming long-lasting friendships with my virtual team” and “taking on new and unique challenges.”
7 Cons of Working Remote
1. No physical interactions with clients
“Sometimes that is on the ‘pro’ list, though,” Anne says with a smile.
If you thrive on physical interactions, hugs, and high-fives with clients, then remote work is not for you.
However, Becky explains: “Sure, you don’t get to bond with clients in person, but you still get to make real connections with clients over the phone!”
Lisa confirms: “If you cannot work on your own, working remotely is not the best choice.”
2. No physical interactions with colleagues
If you need to be in the same building as your teammates, then remote work won’t make you happy.
Although “if you live close enough to a remote teammate, you can still plan get-togethers!” says Becky.
“If you are one of those people who enjoy hanging out with coworkers after a hard day, this will be an adjustment,” Lisa acknowledges. “But I’m not one of those, so remote suits me to a T.”
The managers of Chronos are constantly impressed by how well our team members know each other (Birthdays, life events, pets’ names, hobbies, vacations, etc.), although they commonly live several States away. It’s truly fascinating.
3. No interactions with pets
“We know that all we do is play with puppies and kittens all day, so that part of the job is gone,” regrets Becky.
Lisa confirms: “you lose that hands-on with patients that probably sucked you into vet med to start with.”
Of course, the other side of that coin is that you get to hang out with your pet(s) all day when you work from home.
4. No euthanasias
“I think what I miss the most,” regrets Lisa, “is that I can’t be there to help transition a favorite patient for their next journey.”
5. No lunch and learns
Several Chronos team members mentioned that they miss lunch and learns and the freebies that came along with them. No more free pens, koozies, and sandwiches!!!
6. No separation between work and home
Unless you take precautions, the lines between work and home can be blurry. So you need to be organized to separate the two.
Jess explains: “I need to remember to keep work at work. Since my office is right down the hall, sometimes I feel the need to check my email or get a task done since my computer is right there. So keeping work stuff during my “work hours” can be difficult.”
7. Other disadvantages
Different remote workers can find various aspects of their job challenging depending on their personal situation. For Kim, “if you have a full house, finding a quiet space to work can be challenging.”
For Becky, “power and internet outages can affect your hours.”
If you’d like to learn how Chronos can change your life, please visit ChronosVet.com.