As technology advances in generations, the workplace also changes, specifically adapting to working conditions and schedules where employees don’t have to experience everyday commute to their offices but rather save time and work from the comfort of their homes. As a result, the majority of companies are integrating a remote work set up for their employees to make them safe, secure, and productive, making it one of the top priorities of job seekers right now when it comes to conditions. But, what is remote work? And why do people include it on their list of working conditions?
WHAT IS REMOTE WORK?
Remote work is a type of working condition that puts employees working in other places; instead of the usual physical workplace. A type of work that, instead of commuting from one place to another, they are able to work in their projects, initiatives, and ideas preferred locations such.
It can also mean that employees work in different offices than their colleagues or clients—or that they work from home. No matter how you slice it, it typically means teams need to leverage communication tools like messengers, videoconferencing, phones, visual collaboration tools, and task trackers to get things done.
HOW DO PEOPLE WORK REMOTELY?
Since remote work can be done outside of the traditional workplace, people have the freedom to choose their working space, and coincidentally, there are already spaces available for that.
Some people have to report, once or twice, to their office per week for urgent or important matters but have the rest of the week for themselves to choose from. Other people spend their working days in their home offices or in nearby internet cafes.
Meanwhile, other people enjoy working in coworking spaces in order to get the job done. A co-working space can be seen as a bridge between non-traditional and traditional office spaces, giving you the comfort of your home while also giving you the atmospheric and professional nature of the office environment by its amenities and design. Coworking spaces also act as a community for different employees-full-timers, part-timers, freelancers, and even entrepreneurs from various industries get to enjoy a productive environment, fast WiFi access, and networking opportunities. Though, the availability of co-working spaces in a specific area is limited; availing a membership or spending time going to will definitely reap its benefits.
3 TYPES OF REMOTE TEAMS
Now when it comes to a remote work set-up it can be easily split up into 3 types depending on your employer. Let’s look at each of them.
1. Fully remote teams
When a company doesn’t have any central offices and everyone works from home, on the road, or from office spaces, you have a fully remote team. While this setup can have challenges, it also has its perks. Namely, being “remote first” means you can create processes and technologies that facilitate the needs of remote employees from the first day.
2. Distributed office hubs
When a company decides to set up small offices in different cities from its headquarters, its workforce becomes “distributed.” As a workplace becomes geographically divided, executive leadership must decide who works in each localized team and define their role relative to the central office.
The goal is to create a symbiotic relationship in which both localized and centralized teams feel like expectations around roles, responsibilities, and the direction of communication flow are clear. The leadership can define how different offices relate to each other.
3. Flexible remote teams
There’s a third hybrid approach where employees aren’t fully remote or working from distributed hubs – but they’re also not all in the same location all the time.
Some companies allow their employees to work from home a few days in a week, others hire people specifically focused on working from a single office, as well as those who want to work remotely long-term. Regardless, these teams often find themselves using the same collaboration tools as fully remote companies – because at least one teammate is in a different location at least part of the time.
5 COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS OF REMOTE WORK SET-UPS
With employees working on a different set-up compared to office-based people, there’s no denying that common stereotypes and misconceptions will arise due to different working conditions.
Remote work makes it hard to communicate with colleagues
It’s evident that it’s much harder for remote workers to communicate with other parties especially in one-on-one meetings, happy hours, and team meetings. But what they lack in physical presence, they compensate for their desire to remain connected with their teams and do their responsibilities successfully.
Video Calls and simple voice calls can solve the problem. It serves as the bridge between virtual workers to connect and build virtual relationships with fellow colleagues. Since they are motivated by having a remote schedule, remote workers tend to be more active and initiative on video calls and calls to give updates and reports on their own projects and individual goals.
Remote workers being 24/7 active
With the flexibility of schedule of a remote worker, this is a common misconception. This puts a negative stereotype on how they are treated and how employers see them; free-loaders, can do any job at any time, and are sometimes perceived as lazy. They choose to do jobs remotely because it gives them the freedom to make their own schedule – not because it allows their schedule to be 24/7.
In addition, a medium of communication must also be established already when it comes to schedules. Employers and employees should have a basis or already selected medium of communication to avoid confusion and set expectations It’s important at the beginning of a remote work agreement to work out which hours an employee should expect to be available and which times of day are more open for flexibility. In addition to laying down standards for availability, remote teams should set clear expectations about communication and develop messaging channels for its members.
Remote workers don’t actually work
Having complete control and design on how their day goes, the stereotypical view on a remote worker is that they lie on their bed, doing nothing, and just working on half energy compared to the usual office worker. This is not true. It’s true that they have more time in their hands but they don’t use it to slack off; they eat a good breakfast, read a book, or workout in the early mornings to provide themselves productivity, creativity, and motivation for the day. You may think that they just lie on their backs all day but they still get the job done, and an efficient way at that.
Remote workers do not display productivity
Some people see those who work from home as slackers who never take off their pajamas in bed. But in all honesty, remote workers always dress up for work even if you don’t see them doing so.
According to multiple research institutions, employees that are in a remote work schedule showed an increase in productivity by 35–40% and in outputs by 4.4% compared to their traditional office counterparts. A lot of companies have also stated that their remote work programs increase productivity by 30-50% and bosses & managers also agree, having an increase of overall productivity in remote work schedules.
Working from home has abled employees to be more focused and communicative when it comes to work-related matters. It empowers their sense of responsibility inside the company.
Team Culture is nonexistent with remote set-ups
Every companies culture is made up of values, beliefs, attitudes, and the personality of each individual in the team and the company. It’s what moves each decision and action of an employee towards their work and the company.
Team culture is defined, not diminished, through virtual collaboration. It’s true that building team cultures are usually done through recruiting process to the onboarding process until the career progression step that can be more feasible and impactful if done inside the office. However, if team culture is practiced and communicated well, it can be strong in remote teams as well. The shared values of each employee make them act independently, but given them the feeling and motivation of working together for a greater cause.
Remote Work, Work from Home, and Flexible Hours; What’s the difference?
At this stage of the article, you probably know by now what a Remote Work set-up is. But there are other similar terms that you might mistake it for. Flexible hours and work-from-home terms are also popular workplace trends in today’s generation. They have their own benefits to the employee and employer but they still have a major difference from each other
WORK FROM HOME
From the name itself, working from home is working from home. A work from home set-up is a temporary set up where, for example, an employee stays at the office for 4 days a week and he/she decides to work from that one day to have a change of scenery or just want to avoid any necessary distractions or stressors that he/she can find in a workplace, but not at home.
An employee might bring her things in the office and to her home in a day. It represents a significant change to an employee’s routine of work and pace–which is good every once in a while. It’s effective because it’s different from the normal, making it new and fresh from the perspective of the employee. It still maintains the structure and rules of the company or office; just bringing it at home.
Flexible hours deal with schedule while Remote work is all about location. All Remote jobs are flexible but not all flexible jobs are remote.
Flexible hours only let the employee control their time while still maintaining a regular office week inside the office. Let’s say 5 hours a week but distributed within the week. Or an employee going to the office at 11:00 am will leave at exactly 7:00 pm.
Remote Work Advantages and Disadvantages
Now that you have the gist of what remote work is, let’s see if this set-up is for you (or not)
PRO: YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO STAY LONG-TERM
The primary advantage of going to remote work-and probably why people want this set-up-is the ability that you can work anywhere, enticing you to stay in the set-up for long term
You only need a laptop, a high-speed internet connection, and you are able to work anywhere you want. Beach, your home, a coffee shop, or even around the world.
When you are in a remote working set-up, you can easily set aside time for your own personal matters. Let’s say taking care of your children, studying for the board exam, learning new skills, etc. You can easily multitask several tasks without the worry of your absence in the office.
Remote jobs also give the opportunity to make your life much easier when life throws a stone. Since you are working from home, you are able to adjust and handle life events such as relocation, hospitalization, tragic events, etc.
PRO: You’ll have more budget on other expenses
Since you are able to work from home, budgeting has become much easier and lenient. You can save between $2,000 to $6,500 a year just by eliminating gas, car maintenance, transportation, parking fees, a professional wardrobe, lunches bought out, and more. These savings add up and put more money back into your pocket for your future plans.
PRO: YOU’LL HAVE MORE TIME FOR DEEP WORK
Working remotely eliminates environmental distractions such as chatter and noise which eventually will let you gain more focus on work. It also eliminates the idea of going to work to sit and log in 40 hours for the week. The result is that you’ll focus on quality, not quantity, which is good for everyone including the company.
PRO: YOU’LL LEARN SOME SERIOUSLY IMPRESSIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS
A person can argue that one of the disadvantages of working remotely is that communication can pose a challenge between two parties. It’s immediately apparent when the way you’re communicating isn’t working, and you’ll be forced to fix issues much more quickly. With the importance and priority of communication in a remote work set-up, it will push you to your limits in mastering your communication skills.
PRO: YOU’LL FEEL HEALTHIER
As you avoid commuting from workplace to workplace in a remote set-up, your health will start to get better each day
Remote workers don’t have those barriers. You are now able to cook that recipe you were looking for, go to the gym early, and do some meditation early in the morning to ready your mind and body for work.
You will also be able to enjoy the freedom on your own time-nurturing and honing your skills while doing the things you love at your space.
Furthermore, working remotely will greatly help your mental health be more positive and light, your employees will also show low absenteeism because of their freedom and time being allocated to more productive and important matters.
PRO: You are able to make a difference in the world
People support a variety of sustainability initiatives to prevent events such as global warming, climate change, deforestation, pollution, and increased carbon footprints.
A remote work setup gives you an opportunity to make a change in the environment. By lessening carbon footprints and smoke through vehicles, papers for documents, heating on aircons, you are driving change on the air quality we breathe and preservation of trees
PRO: YOU WILL HAVE A FLEXIBLE LIFESTYLE
The most prominent of all is the flexibility of your lifestyle and work. The primary reason why people choose remote work is to have that flexibility in their lives: to be able to manage both personal and work-related matters at the same time without compromising the other. You can now achieve that fantasy in a remote setup!
PRO: RENEW YOUR INTEREST AND MOTIVATION IN WORK
Having a different surrounding environment can have a great impact on your productivity and efficiency. Surroundings that you are comfortable with that won’t cause any kind of distraction in your work. Having a remote work set-up will allow you to be more productive and stress-free, making yourpersonal and company goals realistically achievable.
PRO: IT’S ONE (HUGE) STEP TOWARD ENDING THE GENDER WAGE AND LEADERSHIP GAPS
Many studies have found that the gender wage gap is actually a motherhood gap. It shows in the opportunities presented to women to become leaders in their companies.
Remote work removes that kind of thinking. By remotely working, you are presented with a plethora of opportunities for you to work with, regardless of location. It offers the flexibility you are looking for and the company you are eyeing for growth.
CON: YOU RUN THE RISK OF FEELING ISOLATED
If you are used to and more productive working inside the office space, then most probably, you will be uncomfortable working remotely. Since you are working from your own space, you run the risk of feeling lonely and isolated from others, causing you to be unproductive at times.
This can be quickly solved by going to office spaces or coworking spaces. You can easily get back your energy and motivation as you are surrounded by different people from different fields having the same intensity it working.
CON: YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR STAYING ON TRACK
Remote works require you to have a self-starter attitude. You will be responsible for self-check yourself if you are working and if work is being delivered on time. If you have trouble with yourself in terms of motivation and organization. remote work is not for you. On the contrary, it also teach you how to handle your own responsibilities.
CON: YOU WON’T ALWAYS HAVE IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO YOUR TEAM
What happens when your team member forgot an important deliverable and you are unable to contact her? That’s one of the cons of remote work: you aren’t able to closely communicate with your team. Luckily, all of these can be eliminated through proper planning. It also gives you the chance to work on these bottlenecks so that you can have better communication and collaboration with your team.
How to Actually Find a Remote Job
Let’s say you are now keen on taking up a Remote Job, but where do you start to look for one? Here are tips to help you search for your dream remote jobs.
- Use remote work specific job boards
- Bookmark the career pages of remote companies (see below for some of our favorites)
- Search LinkedIn for remote jobs
- Make sure you have a strong portfolio and resume, and custom writes your cover letters to underscore what a great independent worker and problem-solver you are.
- Practice your remote work presentation skills for those inevitable video interviews
The beauty of the digital age is that there are job boards specifically for finding remote work. If you decide that a work-from-home, telecommuting, or remote job is right for you, you can go straight to the places where companies post more flexible positions.