What Does Remote Work Mean?

By: | Updated: March 12, 2021

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Remote work, telecommuting, work-from-home are all terms that have grown increasingly common in today’s work scene. And today, more than ever, remote work is a norm in many companies. But what does remote work mean?

Read on to learn more about remote work, including:

  • What it is and how it works
  • The benefits of remote work
  • Some common misconceptions about remote work

What Does It Mean to Work Remotely?

The term remote work means working without having to commute into an office.

Thanks to the digital age, you can work on projects, communicate with team members or manage a team without having to be in the same place.

That means you don’t need to go into an office every day and can choose your desired work environment. With a laptop and access to the internet, you can work remotely from anywhere.

Depending on how much work is done outside of the office, a company can have varying remote work arrangements to accommodate what makes the most sense.

  • Fully remote: Where workers work from home or from a coworking space full-time (i.e. 9 to 5, 40 hours a week)
  • Partly remote: Some companies allow their teams to work a few days a week remotely. So twice or thrice a week, such remote workers can work from home without having to report to the office.

The question is, what does remote work mean, and does it work?

True, many companies have been forced into remote working due to the Covid19 pandemic, and you would imagine most of them reporting a negative outcome. However, there’s been a continued rise in the number of remote workers, proving companies are seeing positive results.

How Do Remote Jobs Work?

What’s great about remote work is it allows people to work in the way that works best for each individual’s circumstances or situation.

With a remote job, you can choose your workspace, whether it be in your living room, at a coffee shop, or in your home office. 

Some people work from rented coworking spaces which act as productivity hubs where they can access technology, strong internet connection, and meet other people in various industries. 

These coworking spaces provide a comfortable work-from-home environment with the professional amenities found in a corporate office environment. Even if you’re a digital nomad, you can easily find coworking spaces in different parts of the world.

Benefits of Remote Work

The following are some of the perks of remote work:

1. Flexibility

A major advantage remote work offers is you can juggle multiple things. It provides you the flexibility you need to handle normal stuff that life throws at you, eliminating putting your job at risk.

I recently found myself in such a situation. My daughter recently had a dental issue. Nothing serious, but it meant several appointments with the dentist. Normally, this would have been a sticky situation getting to work late or constantly requesting time off, but not so with remote work.

As long as I had my laptop, I could work from anywhere, work earlier or later to recover from any time spent elsewhere, and still be up to speed on my projects.

Remote work also means you don’t need to worry about maternity leave or leaving a job you love because your partner gets a job in a different city. You can also easily pursue further.

2. Higher Productivity

Did you know that frequent work interruptions kill productivity?

When you’re working from home or from a coworking space, it’s easier to focus because there are fewer interruptions. With no, “Hey, quick question…” every now and then, you can enjoy uninterrupted bliss.

Also, remote work is built on the principle that you don’t have to be at your desk 40 hours a week to get your work done. What matters is the work gets done, and this stirs you to put in more effort and focus on quality, not quantity. It may be the reason more companies are reporting improved results with remote working.

3. Cost Savings

Cutting costs is always an agenda of all businesses, large and small. Remote work helps reduce operating costs, especially from overheads, and costs such as janitorial, coffee, furniture, equipment, and office supplies.

According to a Global Workplace Analytics report, by allowing employees to work from home half of the time, a typical business can save an average of $11,000 a year.

A great example is when Aetna switched to remote working and shed 2.7 million of office space, a move that resulted in $78 million worth of savings.   

4. Better Health

Studies conducted by the University of Minnesota on remote work revealed that workplace flexibility increases morale and lowers stress and burnout. That’s why remote workers are generally less stressed compared to in-office employees.  

In addition, commuting can be stressful on most people. Royal Society of Public Health published a report in the UK stating that 55% of participants felt more stressed due to their commute.

By eliminating the commute and offering a flexible schedule, employers are finding that their workforce is not only less stressed out but more productive. Why? Because workers are maintaining work-life balance and have more time for their personal life and mental health.

Common Misconceptions About Remote Work

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about remote work:

1. Communication is a Challenge

Since freelancers and remote employees can be from different time zones, many people think communication will be a challenge. However, with the help of communication tools like slack and zoom, it’s almost like your coworkers are always there.

It may take a little training to get team members comfortable with giving regular updates and keeping up with project statuses, but it’s not impossible. Many traditional offices have been using collaboration tools for years. 

It’s true the in-person aspect in meetings is lost. Still, video calls assist in face-to-face interaction and, with a little effort, can still be engaging and productive. 

2. Remote Workers Are On 24/7

It’s important to remember that just because remote work allows you to create your schedule doesn’t mean you should be working non-stop. Otherwise, you’ll burn out and lose passion.

Therefore, it’s important from the very beginning for both parties (employer and employee) to agree on the hours you’re expected to be available.

It’s also important to set clear expectations about communication and set messaging channels.

3. Remote Employees Don’t Work

A common stereotype of a remote worker is they work very little and spend most of their day relaxed in their pajamas.

Those who think that couldn’t be further from the truth.

See, remote workers come in different types. There are early birds who start their day early in the morning and those who get up at almost midday and then work late into the night.

There are also those who get up to some activity – take a hike, hit the gym, do some chores, and then get down to work, and those who get ready for the day dressed up and all as if they were going to an office.

But what all remote workers tend to have in common is they do get their work done.

Take Away

We hope this helps clear up any trepidation or fears you had about remote jobs and may even open your mind to taking one on. With schedule flexibility and saved commute time, you can have more time for your personal life. Chances are, you might just love it.

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by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.