10 Sep 2021

7 Unexpected Pros & Cons of Working Independently

People who have an affinity for working alone will need to harness their discipline and self-management skills to meet deadlines and get the job done.

Not everyone feels comfortable working within a team. Some people are naturally more at ease, and more productive, when they can get on with a job on their own. There are many companies who put an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. This can prove greatly disheartening to more introverted job seekers, who are likely to feel anxious at the very thought of spending so much time working within a team.

The good news is there are also tons of employers out there who are searching for determined individuals with the ability and focus to see a project through solo. It’s all about finding the right job that matches your personality.

Following on from our previous article that focussed on the pros and cons of working within a team, here we explore the ups and downs of being a lone wolf in the working world:

☑ Pro: Better time management

When there isn’t a need to constantly check in with colleagues, it is easier to plan your working day around your own schedule and pace. Working within a team naturally comes with a fair amount of interruptions and distractions during the working day. That’s true whether you’re working in an office or remotely, where due to the lack of face-to-face interactions, teams are encouraged to constantly keep in touch to ensure everyone is on the same page. The beauty of working alone means you can enjoy stretches of uninterrupted time where you can knuckle down and focus on the task at hand. While you will ultimately still need to deliver to a deadline, it is easier to work at your own pace and prioritise tasks as you wish.

☒ Con: Potential to feel isolated

Working alone is certainly not for everyone, especially for more extroverted or sociable individuals. Some people crave interaction and casual moments of chat with colleagues throughout the day. That’s why working alone can become an increasingly lonely experience if it isn’t balanced with a healthy dose of collaboration. It’s always a great idea to schedule in a couple of meetings during the week to ensure you touch base with a colleague or manager. This will also give you the opportunity to discuss your work. By finding ideal spots in the week to hold meetings – perhaps when you’re winding down late in the afternoon – you can still retain hours of undisturbed productivity.

Working Alone | Exacta Solutions☑ Pro: Learn more skills

The fact that you can’t rely on anyone else to complete certain aspects of a task, means you’re going to have to become increasingly self-reliant. This will push you to learn new skills and gain knowledge that would have otherwise fallen outside your remit within a team. While it may feel arduous at first, this necessity to upskill will ultimately make you an all-round better employee with a diversified skillset that will allow you to handle different kinds of projects with greater confidence down the line.

☒ Con: Bigger workload and all the responsibility

Working alone also means there’ll be more to handle within any given project. When working in a team, it is easy to share tasks and split a project into manageable assignments. But alone, it all falls squarely on your shoulders. This also means the responsibility for the success of a project is entirely in your hands. There won’t be anyone to cover your back should something go wrong. Some people find that they can compensate for the bigger workload by the fact that they can get more done during their day due to less distractions. So it’s always a question of perspective and finding a work scenario that works best for your personality.

☑ Pro: No conflicts and more congruity

In teams, people will always have different ideas on how to achieve objectives. When you’re working independently your only adversary is yourself. Once you’ve decided upon a way forward, there is unlikely to be obstacles ahead, meaning you can move from task to task seamlessly. This also means you’ll build a level of continuity and congruity into a project, which is difficult to achieve when everyone within a team wants to have their say. As you’ll be intimately familiar with what you’ve worked on before, it’s easier to jump in and get stuck on the next milestone without having to waste time figuring out who has done what and how they’ve gone about it.

Working Alone vs Teamwork | Exacta Solutions☒ Con: Multi-tasking and added pressures

Arguably, the biggest disadvantage of working independently is you are forced to juggle many tasks and wear different hats at any one time. Of course, this can also be the most rewarding and thrilling aspect of a job. But if you fall behind, or something goes wrong, it can create a domino effect where you’ll start to fall behind and have to make up for those “wasted” hours on your own. This will lead to added stress and potential burnout if not managed well.

☑ Pro: Enjoy all the credit

On the other hand, once you have completed a project, it’s hugely rewarding to know it was all down to you. This also means you’re more likely to get noticed for the efforts you’ve put in. Within team-based projects it’s not always easy to identify who came up with what idea and who helped perfect an assignment once the job is done. When it’s you alone, the glory is all yours.

Do you prefer working independently or as part of a team? Find the ideal job that suits your personality on the Exacta Solutions vacancy page.