How to Maximize Remote Work
Remote Work: Definition, Types, & How To Start
Working from home has been a big change for us all in recent years, and with it seemingly becoming the new normal, we need to start thinking towards the future.
Our entire team has been working remotely for over 5 years. Now, we’re sharing our experience with you – from the basics to being as successful as possible.
This hub will be the ultimate guide to everything working-from-home related. We will cover a wide range of different topics, from the best furniture to use for productivity, to staying focused. You’ll walk away more prepared than ever.
Table of Contents
Basics of Remote Work
Getting Started With Remote Work
Tools & Resources
Definition of Remote Work
Remote work, also referred to as telecommuting or working from home, is a flexible work arrangement that allows professionals to work outside of a traditional office environment.
Instead of commuting to an office each day to work from a designated desk, remote employees can execute their projects and surpass their goals wherever they please.
This means that people can work from their homes, co-working spaces, coffee shops, or anywhere else that allows them to complete their tasks. Remote work takes advantage of technology to allow employees to work collaboratively from different locations.
Remote work can take several forms:
- Fully Remote Work: In this arrangement, employees work from home or any location of their choice full-time. They may be spread across different time zones and rarely, if ever, work in person with their colleagues.
- Hybrid Remote Work: This is a mix of remote and in-office work. Employees may work remotely for part of the week and in an office for the rest.
- Flexible Work: While not entirely remote, flexible work arrangements give employees some freedom to choose when and where they work, which often includes the option to work remotely part of the time.
Remote work has gained significant traction due to the benefits it offers to both employers and employees, such as lower overhead costs, increased productivity, less commute stress, better work-life balance, and the ability to hire from a larger talent pool.
How Does Remote Work Differ From Traditional Work Settings?
Remote work significantly differs from traditional work settings in a number of key ways:
The most noticeable difference is the location. In traditional work settings, employees commute to a designated office or workspace, whereas remote workers can perform their duties from any location that supports their work, such as their home, a co-working space, or even a coffee shop.
Remote work often comes with greater flexibility. Employees can set their own schedules (within the constraints of their tasks and meetings), allowing for better work-life balance. This is a stark contrast to traditional 9-to-5 office jobs, where the working hours are typically fixed.
Remote work eliminates the need for commuting, which can save workers a significant amount of time and money. Traditional office work, on the other hand, usually involves daily commuting.
Collaboration and Communication:
In traditional settings, communication and collaboration happen in-person. With remote work, this all happens digitally using various tools for video conferencing, messaging, project management, and more. This requires a different skill set and level of comfort with technology.
Traditional office environments offer in-person opportunities for team building and camaraderie, which can shape a company’s culture. Remote work requires a more intentional approach to building a cohesive culture, and it can be challenging to recreate the same sense of community online.
For employers, traditional work settings limit hiring to people living in or willing to relocate to a certain geographical area. In contrast, remote work allows businesses to recruit talent from anywhere in the world.
Traditional work settings incur costs for office space, utilities, and often for on-site perks like coffee and snacks. With remote work, these expenses are significantly reduced or even eliminated, although new types of expenses (like providing home office equipment or software subscriptions) can arise.
What is hybrid remote work?
Hybrid remote work is a flexible work arrangement that allows employees to split their time between working remotely and working in a traditional office environment.
In a hybrid work model, employees might come into the office for certain days of the week, or for specific tasks or meetings, while working from home or another location for the rest of the time. For example, an employee might work from home on Mondays and Fridays, but work in the office Tuesday through Thursday.
The exact arrangement can vary widely depending on the organization and the role. Some companies may require employees to be in the office a certain number of days per week, while others might give employees the flexibility to decide when to come in.
The hybrid model aims to combine the best of both worlds: the flexibility and autonomy of remote work with the structure, collaboration, and social interaction of an office environment. This model has gained popularity as companies look for ways to adapt to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, while still maintaining some of the benefits of in-person work.
It’s important to note that the success of a hybrid model depends on careful planning and management. Companies need to establish clear policies and provide the necessary tools and technologies to support both in-office and remote work effectively. They also need to be mindful of maintaining inclusivity and equality between remote and in-office employees.
What are the differences between telework and remote work?
Telework and remote work are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they can mean slightly different things depending on the context.
As previously mentioned, remote work refers to a flexible work model where employees perform their professional duties outside of a traditional office setting.
They can work from home, a coworking space, a coffee shop, or anywhere else that allows them to complete their tasks. The key idea behind remote work is that work does not need to be done in a specific place to be executed successfully.
Telework, or telecommuting, traditionally referred to a work arrangement in which employees, instead of traveling to the office, used telecommunications technology to work from home or a nearby satellite office.
Initially, the term was associated more with employees working from home several days a week but still having a significant in-office component to their job.
The main difference lies in the degree of flexibility. Telework often implies a setup where there is still a central office space that employees are tethered to, even if they’re not physically there every day. On the other hand, remote work could be fully untethered from a central office, allowing employees to work from any location.
However, as work practices continue to evolve, these definitions have become more fluid. Many people and organizations now use the terms telework and remote work interchangeably to refer to any work that is performed outside of a traditional office environment.
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Benefits and Challenges of Remote Work
In this section, we’ll explore the significant benefits and potential challenges of remote work to help you decide if it’s the right fit for you.
Here is a detailed look at both the advantages and potential drawbacks of remote work:
Benefits of Remote Work
- Increased Flexibility: Remote work allows for a flexible schedule. You can arrange your work hours around your most productive times, family obligations, and other personal needs.
- No Commute: Without a daily commute, you save time, money, and reduce stress. This time can be used more productively or for relaxation and hobbies.
- Work-Life Balance: The flexibility of remote work often leads to a better work-life balance. It allows you to manage your work according to your personal life, not the other way around.
- Access to a Wider Range of Job Opportunities: Being able to work from anywhere opens up job opportunities that aren’t limited by geographical location.
- Cost Savings: You can save money on commuting costs, work clothes, lunches out, and more.
- Health and Wellness: Remote work can lead to healthier habits like home-cooked meals, more time for exercise, and better control over your workspace.
Challenges of Remote Work
- Isolation: Working remotely can be lonely. You miss out on the social interaction and camaraderie of a traditional office environment.
- Communication Difficulties: Miscommunication can occur more frequently in remote settings due to lack of face-to-face interaction.
- Distractions at Home: Working from home comes with its own set of distractions, such as household chores, family members, or pets.
- Work-Life Boundary: It can be hard to ‘switch off’ work mode when your home is your office. Overwork and burnout can be a risk if you’re not careful to set boundaries.
- Technical Issues: Depending on your home setup and location, you might face issues with internet reliability or access to necessary hardware and software.
- Difficulty in Career Progression: Some employees feel that being out of sight can lead to being out of mind when it comes to promotions and career opportunities.
Each person’s experience with remote work will be unique and depend on their individual circumstances, personality, and the nature of their work.
It’s important for anyone considering remote work to think carefully about these potential challenges and how they might address them.
Getting Started With Remote Work
Starting a remote work journey can be an exciting venture. If you’re interested in transitioning to this work style, we have listed some simple steps to guide you below.
- Self-Assessment: Evaluate your suitability for remote work. Are you self-motivated, disciplined, and comfortable working alone? Are your communication skills strong enough for virtual collaboration?
- Identify Your Skills: What can you offer a remote employer? Highlight skills like time management, self-motivation, and proficiency with digital tools.
- Research Remote Roles: Identify industries and roles that commonly offer remote work and align with your skills and interests. Some fields with plentiful remote opportunities include IT worker, marketing, customer service, and project management.
- Prepare Your Resume and Cover Letter: Tailor these documents for each application, focusing on your relevant skills and remote work competencies. If you have previous remote work experience, be sure to include it.
- Search for Jobs: Use online job platforms that specifically cater to remote work. Gigworker.com and FlexJobs are great places to start.
- Apply: Submit your customized resume and cover letter to the jobs that fit your skills and interests.
- Interview: Prepare for potential video interviews and common interview questions, a common practice for remote positions. Be ready to discuss why you’re a good fit for remote work.
- Follow Up: After the interview, send a thank-you note to the interviewer and follow up if you haven’t heard back after some time.
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Tools and Resources
In order to successfully work remotely, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a variety of must-have tools for freelancers.
Here are some categories and specific examples you might use:
Slack: A messaging app for teams, offering direct messages and team chat rooms
Zoom: A popular tool for video conferencing and virtual meetings.
Microsoft Teams: A communication and collaboration platform that includes chat, video meetings, and file storage.
Project Management Tools:
Trello: A card-based system for organizing and prioritizing projects.
Asana: A tool that helps teams organize, track, and manage their work.
Jira: A popular tool for software development projects.
Aside from tools, remote workers can benefit from the right gear. Whether you’re working on a computer or sitting at a desk, the right gear helps you get your job done.
Your gateway to the remote work world, a powerful computer will allow you to do all your work online.
Having the right furniture can make or break an office environment, as well as your productivity.
Other Gear To Check Out
Fast Internet: Having the right internet speed makes a world of difference for productivity.
Cameras: An important part of remote work, getting a proper camera keeps your picture clear.
Laptop Stands: Stands that turn any surface into a desk.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best remote company to work for?
Several notable companies were recognized as top remote work providers based on various factors like company culture, compensation, work-life balance, and benefits. Here are a few:
GitLab: GitLab was known for its 100% remote workforce and its transparent and inclusive culture.
Automattic: This company, which manages WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and Tumblr, has a distributed team working from over 70 countries.
Zapier: Zapier, a company focused on web automation, is a fully remote company, known for providing a great work-life balance.
Buffer: Buffer, a social media management company, is another fully remote company. It’s known for its strong culture of transparency and inclusivity.
Doist: The creators of Todoist and Twist have a 100% remote team spread across many countries. They’re known for their commitment to work-life balance.
InVision: A digital product design platform that’s a remote-first company. It offers a flexible schedule and a strong company culture.
Remember that the “best” company to work for is highly subjective and depends on your personal needs, professional goals, desired lifestyle, and job function.
Do all companies have a remote work policy?
Not all companies have a remote work policy. The adoption of remote work policies varies widely depending on the industry, company size, location, and company culture, among other factors.
Many technology and software companies, for example, have been more likely to adopt remote work policies because their work can often be done anywhere with a reliable internet connection. However, sectors like manufacturing, retail, and healthcare often require a physical presence and may be less likely to have extensive remote work policies.
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 accelerated the shift towards remote work for many companies that may not have previously considered it. This resulted in many companies implementing remote work policies, at least on a temporary basis.
However, even in a post-pandemic world, not all companies will continue to offer remote work options. Some have chosen to return to a primarily in-office work model, while others have moved towards a hybrid model where employees split their time between working remotely and working in the office.
Is freelancing a good way to work remotely?
Freelancing can indeed be a good way to work remotely, depending on your personal circumstances, professional goals, and preferred working style. However, it does come with its own set of unique challenges and benefits:
Advantages of Freelancing:
Flexibility: Freelancers often have the ability to set their own hours and choose their own clients, which can lead to greater work-life balance and the ability to tailor your work to your interests.
Location Independence: Many freelance jobs can be done from anywhere with an internet connection, which is a great perk if you enjoy traveling or need to move around frequently.
Potential for Higher Earnings: Freelancers who have a high-demand skill set can potentially earn more than they would in a traditional employment setting, especially if they are good at finding and negotiating with clients.
Disadvantages of Freelancing:
Inconsistent Income: One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is the uncertainty of income. Some months you might have plenty of work and income, while other months might be lean.
Lack of Benefits: Traditional employees often have access to benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans. As a freelancer, you’ll need to provide these things for yourself.
Self-Motivation Required: Freelancing requires a high degree of self-motivation and discipline, as you’ll need to manage your own time, find your own clients, and stay productive without the structure of a traditional office setting.
Now let’s look at some stats about remote work.
Offer some insights into the current trends or recent updates in remote work to keep the content relevant and engaging.
of all American workers
are not employed in the gig
economy in any way
OF ALL US AND EU WORKERS WORK IN
THE GIG ECONOMY AS FREELANCERS
are between the
ages of 18 and 34
Stats About Work/Life Balance
OF WORKERS ARE OPEN TO WORKING NON-
TRADITIONAL JOBS IN THE GIG ECONOMY
OF EXECUTIVES WOULD WORK IN THE GIG
ECONOMY IF THEY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY
Stats About Money and Finances
1 in 5
OF FULL-TIME GIG ECONOMY WORKERS
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