HR manager on her phone discussing what is remote work.

What is Remote Work?

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 remote work 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?
 
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 going to and from work 5 hours a day, they can use that time to invest more into their projects, initiatives, and ideas in their comfort places; giving them complete control of their time, making them experience the best of both worlds when it comes to staying at home and working.

Remote work has shifted the setting on what is the ideal workplace to work in right now–and companies have already capitalized on this paradigm shift. 
 
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.  Other people spend their working days in their home offices or in nearby internet cafes.

Meanwhile, other people enjoy working in co-working 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, remote workers, 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 one will definitely reap its benefits.‍

WHY DO PEOPLE WORK REMOTELY?
 
Now that you have a gist or overview on how remote work is done, why do people want remote work?

Not only does it offer employees freedom of their own time and routine each day, but it also has its extensive benefits for the well–being of your employees.

Flexible Lifestyle

The most prominent of all is the flexibility of their lifestyle and work. Employees always want to have the work-life balance a company can give them. Being able to live their personal lives while still contributing to the company by producing results and deliverables.

Establishing a remote work set-up will be able to allow your employees to have that kind of lifestyle. When employees are in a remote work set-up, they can set aside time to matters that are important to them. When your employee is a parent, he/she can allocate more time and attention to more personal matters such as attending family activities or fetching their children from school. If your employee wants to pursue advanced education, Masters or Ph.D., having them work remotely will let them have time to study and learn their respective fields, upskilling themselves and doubling their value to the company and to themselves.  
 
A Better Well–being
 
As a result of being flexible with schedules and working times, you can expect your employees to have better wellbeing as a result. 
 
Stress is one of the most prominent and common causes of un-productivity among employees. It can cause loss of productivity, irritability, and even anxiety and depression
 
One source of stress is by commuting and experiencing traffic. In a report published by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, it was found that 55% of participants felt more stressed as a result of their commute. Imagine how productive employees could be without stress. By just eliminating commute stress, letting employees enjoy their flexibility and freedom on their own time, you are nurturing and improving their productivity and performance by an average of 36% compared to working in a traditional work set-up.

As a result of a remote work schedule, your employees will also show low absenteeism because of their freedom and time being allocated into more productive and important matters. A report made by PGi showed that having a remote work job not only increases employees’ morale by 80%, but it also decreased the occurrence of absenteeism by 69%. Happier and healthier employees give more results, become more engaged, and do better work for your company–a win-win situation. 
 
Renewed interest and motivation for work

Having a remote work set-up will allow the employee to have a different surrounding rather than the usual office slab and color. Surroundings that are distraction-free and contribute to his/her productivity and efficiency. It gives them a new perspective and control on how they will do their work—their way—making their personal and company goals realistically achievable.
 
HOW REMOTE WORK WORK FOR EMPLOYERS?
 
Remote work not only works for employees but also affects their respective companies as well. From reduced cost to inclusivity, there are other benefits that can help the company increase its performance and growth over time.

Increased Productivity

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.

Decreased expenses
 
When it comes to expenses, real estate may be a big reason for huge expenses; electrical, water, hygiene, and rent. Remote work schedules can decrease that significantly.

American Express, a financial services company, stated that they save $10–15 million per year just from remote work. Aetna, a health insurance company, also stated that they saved a sum; $78 million from a 2.7 million square feet office. Global Workspace Analytics also found out that a company can save $11,000 for each employee that works remotely. 

Employee Engagement

With the pandemic still ongoing, engagement gets more vital each day due to decreased interaction. A disengaged employee may lead to low productivity and feeling disconnected from the job environment and the job itself. As a result, employers offer remote work opportunities to keep their employees happy and engaged.
 
74% of employees would accept a job offer from another company offering a remote work set-up. While a survey conducted by GWA stated that 32% of employees are more engaged compared to their office employees; advice for employers who wish to attract more candidates and retain them for the long run. 
 
3 COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS OF REMOTE WORK SET-UPS
 
While remote work has been the rising trend in today’s workplace, there’s no denying that there are still common misconceptions about the condition. 
 
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 remote 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 remote workers are treated and how employers see them; free-loaders, can do any job at any time, and are sometimes perceived as lazy. Remote workers 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. Employers, on the other hand, will guarantee that their remote workers won’t be burnt out or tired excessively because it can cause the remote workers to lose motivation and passion for their jobs. Setting up a preferred work agreement schedule for the two parties is important as to maximize flexibility and productivity of the remote worker on given days. 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 in 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 remote workers 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 remote workers just lie on their backs all day but they still get the job done, and an efficient way at that.

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 are also popular workplace trends in today’s generation. They have their own benefits to the employee and employer, especially having to hire an additional member to the team anywhere in the globe. But still, there is a difference amongst the three of them. 
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, 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/JOBS
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. 
 
POSSIBLE REMOTE WORK JOBS
As technology advances, so do the workplace demands, and with the current situation, demands have been higher from employees; especially on the flexibility of the other jobs that are available.

Surprisingly, from those that employees expect (tech, freelancing, etc.) to those that are a bit more surprising (education, healthcare, law), remote jobs can be found in nearly any industry. 
Companies right now are joining the trend in offering a remote job. Employees are now prioritizing locations when it comes to jobs. It’s time to restructure your job boards, social media posts, and job postings to fit employees to make them apply to your company. 

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