Here’s What You Need To Know About Working Remotely
What Does Remote Work Mean?
Even though people all over the world have been working remotely for years, COVID-19 has pushed the idea into everyone’s mind. If you’re new to remote work, are an employee looking for more information or are an employer trying to deal with the sudden requirements of a distant workforce, read on. This article is full of the details that will help you decide whether working remotely is the right choice for you or your company.
Is Remote Work Right for You?
No one kind of work is right for everybody. That said, if you like independence and dislike office politics, then you’ll probably find that you thrive in a remote work environment. Likewise, introverts may do better with remote work than extroverts, and people who can stay focused despite home life distractions will succeed.
Like everything in life, you will never know if you’re good at something until you try it. If you think that remote work is right up your alley, go for it! If you’re unsure, try a hybrid job. Furthermore, there are tons of ways to make your workplace work for you.
Remote Work Job Examples
These days, people can perform even the most office-centric jobs from home. The most common fully remote work positions before the COVID-19 outbreak included:
- Transcription, captioning, translation
- Freelance writing
- Programming, software development
- Virtual administration
- Graphic design
- Customer service
- Web design
- Data entry
- Administrative jobs
Pros and Cons of Remote Work for Employees
Whether you’re new to remote work or looking into starting a telecommuting job, consider these key upsides and downsides:
- Work from anywhere
- No commute
- Job creep
- Overdependence on technology
- Need for self-discipline
Best Practices for Employees That Work From Home
It takes some effort to thrive as a remote worker. Sticking to these key practices will help you overcome the challenges and enjoy a healthy and productive environment:
- Keep your routine
- Communicate well and often
- Have a designated work area
- Maintain boundaries
- Take advantage of all available tools
- Maintain professional standards
How To Prepare for Remote Work
Working from home should not be intimidating. Here’s what you can do to maximize your performance:
Set up your workspace
Make sure you have access to everything you need. Ensure your internet connection works and that you have the necessary tech on hand (printer, fax machine, etc.) Pick a quiet spot and make sure your background for video meetings is neat and clean.
Get into a routine
Work time is not TV time or cooking time. Set a routine and stick with it to maintain boundaries and avoid job creep.
Keep your work and supplies separate from your personal space. Have a good filing system.
Remote-Friendly Job Skills to Have
Along with the specific skill set and experience necessary for the job, these abilities will help you turn into a successful remote employee:
Know your software
Are you a Microsoft Office expert or a master of web applications? Excellent! Employers love having employees that they don’t have to hand-hold.
Be independent and resourceful
Take direction well and work with little feedback or interaction. The ability to work independently and solve problems on your own is a huge plus.
When work and private life share the same space, finding a balance can be challenging. Be strong. You are not required to be available for work all the time. Conversely, unless you can work flexible hours, make sure to keep outside intrusions out of your workspace.
How To Find a Remote Job
Finding remote work depends on whether you are looking for a traditional office job or freelance opportunities. Indeed and other online job sites are great ways to filter available jobs for remote work opportunities. See the latest Google search results for Remote Job Sites to give you an idea of the remote jobs out there.
FAQs About Remote Work
What Is Remote Work?
Just like what it sounds like, remote work is working away from an office. Some employees work this way because they choose to, others because they have to. Some companies make it a perk, while still others employ an entirely remote workforce.
How Do People Work Remotely?
Most people who work remotely work from home, which is convenient if they are a caregiver to a child or family member, are disabled or have other duties that require them to be home during the day. Less commonly, remote workers may join a work co-op where they can rent office space. Some people who don’t need the privacy of an office even work from coffee shops or while traveling!
What Is a Remote Work Culture?
Remote work culture is the digital culture within a workplace. A solid remote work culture will keep employees connected even without a physical office space. This may take the form of an online message board or virtual water cooler where employees can chat or a video conference where people can connect “face to face.”
Employers have to trust that their employees can manage their own time and commitments. However, they also need to be careful not to micromanage or expect employees to be available outside of working hours.
Why Do People Work Remotely?
Before the pandemic, people worked remotely for lots of reasons. The disabled community has been pioneering the idea of remote work for decades as a way toward inclusion without having to navigate questionably accessible workspaces.
People with chronic illnesses can work from home instead of taking a sick day when they experience health issues. Now that the so-called sandwich generation – people taking care of children and aging parents – face increased demands on their time, remote work is a solution to multiple problems.
Is Remote Work Good for Companies?
The short answer is yes – remote work can be quite beneficial for companies. In a traditional office, there is a lot of overhead: maintenance for space, appliances, and technology, rent and utilities, security, and more. If your staff works mainly from a distance, you don’t have to worry about those costs. You also don’t have the liability involved in having an office.
Is Remote Work Good for Employees?
With their employers’ trust in managing their time, most employees thrive in a virtual work environment. You don’t have to deal with the distractions of the office, but you also don’t have the social aspect of shared space. You do need to be diligent and stick to the schedule, though. It is easy to get distracted by people and things that need your attention on the homefront.
Is Remote Working Effective?
Remote working is effective in that workers are as productive, if not more so than they would be at the office. Studies report that worker productivity will rise by 5% in a post-COVID economy with a partial work-from-home employee base.
Is Remote Work Here To Stay?
No less than 83% of workers expect to continue remote work, and 60% report that they would prefer to work remotely at least part-time. A whopping 70% of employees surveyed are more satisfied with their job since they began working remotely, and 83% expect that even if working remotely full-time is no longer an option, they would be perfectly happy with a hybrid work model.
What Are Some Typical Misconceptions About Remote Work?
Earlier, we discussed many common concerns or myths around remote work, and here are a few to further examine.
Remote Work Isn’t Productive
Remote work is just as productive as working in an office. Employees need to be diligent about managing their time, and bosses need to give up some of their control. Trust your employees to do the work and be pleasantly surprised when your productivity goes up!
Remote Work Requires Special Equipment
It is possible to work remotely on most computers and operating systems. If you work for a company, they should provide you with the necessary tech, including a computer and printer. If you freelance, you’ll need to supply your own. You can work from your kitchen table, a dedicated office space, or even a coffee shop!
Remote Work Makes Staying Connected Hard
In some ways, this is true. Feeling disconnected from the office culture is incredibly hard. Good employers will use video conferencing, messenger, and chat functions to keep you connected with the community.
Remote Work Is the Best (or the Worst)
Every work environment does not make everyone happy. Some workers thrive in an environment where they have the freedom to roam about, ask questions, and so on. Others like working from home because it provides them with a sense of security and regularity. Employers and workers will both need to find out what will work best for them in the future.
You Can Wear Whatever You Want
In certain ways, yes. The idea of wearing pajamas or loungewear all day is tempting. However, most remote employees are aware that their look directly impacts the quality of their job. You are not required to wear a business suit, but you should dress in clean, work-appropriate attire. If you’re constantly at your desk, you may dress more casually, but make sure all of your selections are suitable for the office if you’re on camera.
It’s Not a Real Job
Yes, it is. Remote work positions include everything from freelancers to heads of companies across a variety of industries.
Remote Work Is a Scam or Only Available for Certain Fields
Lots of people think this, and it simply isn’t true. Legitimate, real remote work opportunities come from a variety of fields and exist at all experience levels. They may be freelance or corporate, but all are real jobs.
Remote Work – Issues For An Employer
An Example of A Remote Work Policy and What’s Expected
Before you send your employees off to work from home, your company needs to have a policy that tells employees what is expected of them. A good remote work policy should include:
Set work hours
Make sure your employees know when you expect them to be working. Whether this will be standard office hours like 9-5 or so-called flex time (8 hours per day unspecified) is up to you.
This one is challenging. Make that clear if you expect all your employees to be online for meetings, chat, or email. If employees are allowed to flex their time, a day’s notice for meetings is considered fair. However, as an employer, it is your responsibility to acknowledge that just because an employee works from home, they are not available 24/7.
IT support, internet, and security
Remote work employees need reliable internet access that can accommodate video chat, heavy use, and sending and receiving large files. If something goes wrong with their PC or the company’s server, IT needs to be available to fix it. And your employees need to know about making sure they have a secure connection.
Time to socialize
Build social time into the workday. It’s no surprise that 60% of remote workers claim they miss the camaraderie of the office. Support employees by using a hangout program like Slack or set up an office chat group. Since there’s no stopping by a friend’s desk, employees need to be able to do that virtually.
Pros and Cons of Remote Work for Companies
Just like all other work arrangements, remote work comes with its own upsides and downsides. Here are the most important things employers should keep in mind:
- Increased employee retention
- Easier employee recruitment
- Lower costs
- Less “facetime” with employees
- Finding the right workers
- Limited monitoring of your team
- Productivity may suffer
How to Engage Remote Workers
Workers report that the hardest part of remote work is feeling disengaged from the company and other employees. But, just like you have to put a little extra effort into video meetings and employee contact, a little goes a long way toward team-building and maintaining relationships.
Encourage employees to use chat functions to mimic watercooler conversations.
Form an employee Facebook page for sharing life events and experiences. Reinforce your corporate culture just as you would at the office, with virtual coffee and donuts, little contests, and more.
How to Ensure Employees are Working
Productivity is the first thing employers are concerned about. Of course, you don’t want to be Big Brother, watching your employee’s every move. But without the casual ability to monitor their work in person, what is the best way to ensure your employees are doing their jobs?
The solution is pretty easy – just ask them. Set daily check-ins and assign projects with deadlines.
Best Practices for Companies That Offer Work From Home For Employees
It can be difficult for employers to strike a good balance between being involved and being overbearing. You want to ensure productivity without alienating your staff and causing job creep. At the same time, you want your employees engaged with the company without forcing them to socialize.
Careers With Remote Work
Careers suitable for remote work are changing, especially since the coronavirus pandemic. The latest Google search results will allow you to see what’s available. From the results list, you can spend some time to see what’s available and if something appeals to you. See the latest Google Search results for careers with remote work.
Companies Offering Remote Work
Many companies can help you get into a career that allows you to work remotely. One of the benefits of working with a company specializing in work-from-home careers is that they have all the fine details worked out. You can start a career and know exactly what to expect. See the latest Google search results for Companies That Offer Remote Work to see if you can find a match that works for you.
There are many factors to consider when deciding if remote work suits you or your company. Take a good, honest look at your situation and expectations, and don’t be afraid to say, “No, this isn’t an option for me.”
With COVID restrictions easing slightly, many workplaces are having meaningful conversations about what they want their company to look like in the future. Even if remote work isn’t for everybody, it couldn’t be further away from becoming a thing of the past.