By definition, a remote job is a job that is performed outside of a company-owned office. Under these flexible working arrangements, employees can work from their homes, coworking spaces, coffee shops, or other places that are not company-sponsored. Remote work can be full time, temporary, or part time.
Though remote work has always existed, many companies that did not traditionally offer remote work options had their employees start working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, many employees began to enjoy working remotely because of the flexibility it provides.
Now, 97% of employees are interested in working remotely in some capacity for the rest of their careers.
Table of Contents:
- What Does Remote Work Mean?
- Why Do People Work Remotely?
- How Do Remote Jobs Work?
- Should I Work Remote?
- What Jobs Can Be Done From Home?
- Remote Work For Global Employees
What Does Remote Work Mean?
Remote work — and teleworking — means that employees have a flexible working arrangement that allows them to work from a place outside of the traditional office at least one day per week. This typically means working from their home, though others choose to travel and work from exotic locations, go to a coffee shop or library, or work from a coworking space or other destination.
The understanding with remote work is that employers allow their workforce to have more flexibility with the promise that their work will still be completed in a timely manner and be up to company standards.
Levels of Remote Work
Allowing remote work doesn’t necessarily mean your workforce is out of office full time. There are different tiers of remote work that mean your workforce can be in or out of the office, or a bit of both.
- Remote Work Option. Companies with a remote work option aren’t remote companies and don’t consider themselves to be, but they do make allowances for remote work. These are sometimes called “flex days” or “remote Monday/Friday,” where employees can work remotely on days they have an appointment or special circumstance, or on specifically appointed remote days.
- Temporarily Remote. A temporarily remote company is fully or partially remote with the understanding that it is not permanent and employees will be expected to go back into the office at a later date.
- Hybrid. A hybrid model is a company that is split between remote and in-office employees. These companies have employees that report to an office, fully remote employees who always work from home, and some employees that do both.
- Remote-First. Remote-first companies have an office but still consider themselves remote companies. The office could be used as an occasional meeting space or a place where employees can infrequently visit. Typically, the office cannot house the entire workforce.
- Fully Remote. Fully remote companies typically do not have an office for employees to visit and all work is conducted on virtual platforms from a remote, dispersed team.
Why Do People Work Remotely?
Most remote employees cite flexibility as the biggest benefit of working from home. Remote jobs allow employees to work from anywhere they want and take care of personal or familial obligations that arise during the workday. Parents of young children are especially drawn to remote work, as it can allow them to take care of their children while working.
Remote Work Pros and Cons
While some people enjoy remote work because it allows them more freedom to travel and prioritizes work-life balance, others miss the connection with coworkers and the collaborative nature of in-office work.
- Provides more freedom and autonomy for employees
- Reduces cost of office space and supplies for employers
- Prioritizes work-life balance and flexibility
- Increases productivity among employees
- Reduces face-to-face communication between employees
- Decreases collaboration among teams
- Makes some employees feel lonely or isolated
How Much Do Remote Employees Make?
According to ZipRecruiter, remote employees make an average of about $66,000 per year. The remote salary range goes from about $33,000 to about $120,000, depending on the type of remote work you’re performing and your experience. For example, there are several high-paying remote jobs in the tech industry.
Remote employees don’t need to worry about earning less than their in-office counterparts. As more companies start to put an emphasis on remote work, employers have noted that they don’t plan to dock the pay of employees who choose to go remote full time and will hire fully remote employees at the same rate as in-office employees.
How Do Remote Jobs Work?
Remote jobs often make use of technologies like video conferencing, instant messaging services, digital calendars, and communication platforms to keep their workforce aligned and connected.
While working remotely, employees are expected to check in via these platforms and tune in to any mandatory meetings that are held over a video conferencing service. Work is often turned in via email or a project management software, and feedback or notes are given virtually.
Remote teams can work synchronously or asynchronously, depending on the time zones where the team is located.
- Synchronous work. The entire team logs on and off at the same time. Video meetings can be held for the team and there is an expectation that messages will be answered quickly.
- Asynchronous work. The team is not expected to be online at the same time and work is done independently with little collaboration. Messages do not need a quick response and team members in different time zones or who do not work at the same time do not depend on each other to get work done.
Is Remote Work Effective?
Most companies that have gone remote report that it has been a success — 87%, to be exact. Employees reported that their productivity from home is on par with or greater than it was in the office.
Most employees attribute their productivity to the ability to work when it’s convenient for them. Someone who doesn’t function well early in the morning can get started later and work later, meaning they will spend their most productive hours working. If they had to be in an office by 9, they might spend the first few hours of their day idle.
Should I Work From Home? Remote Work Considerations
Remote work is an attractive option for many people, but there are a few considerations to be made before asking your boss to go remote full time. For example, remote workers need to make sure they can hold themselves accountable to actually do their assigned work when they don’t have a boss there to check in with them throughout the day.
Remote workers also need to prepare for the loss of an office environment. While some enjoy that this removes them from the potential drama of an office setting, others report feeling isolated from their coworkers.
A few questions to ask yourself before going remote:
- Will I hold myself accountable to complete my work adequately and on time?
- Will I be comfortable being separated from my coworkers?
- What do I like/dislike about working in an office?
- Does my commute make it hard for me to get to/from work?
- Do I have children or other familial obligations that would be easier to handle from home?
- Do I have the tools and equipment I need to work from home?
What Jobs Can Be Done From Home?
Basically any job that is done on a computer or phone can be done from home. Popular remote work includes things like sales, marketing, graphic design, content creation, or web development. The tech industry also emphasizes remote work: 65% of U.S. tech companies and 46% of UK ones plan to increase their remote, international workforces.
Over the past year, though, some jobs that have been traditionally hesitant to allow remote work, like financial or defense positions, have begun allowing their employees to work from home. Others that may not seem fit for remote work — like health care and construction — are also starting to find ways to make it work.
According to Ladders, the following industries have seen the greatest increase in remote positions available from 2020 to 2021:
- Finance and insurance
- Retail and consumer goods
- Real estate and construction
- Hospitals and medical centers
- Aerospace and defense
Remote Working For Global Teams
A huge benefit of remote work is that it opens companies up to the many benefits of global teams. The global candidate pool has a large amount of talent that can help grow your business and bring in new perspectives.
Businesses who are looking to create a dispersed team need to become prepared to manage projects across time zones. Good communication is essential for teams working remotely across the globe because people will be logging on at different times. (For example: When it’s 9 a.m. in San Francisco, California, it’s 5 p.m. in London, England, and 2 a.m. the following day in Tokyo, Japan!)
It’s also important to comply with international labor regulations. Different countries have their own employee protections, holidays, and laws, so keeping track of them all may become a headache.
In that case, a global compliance partner can help you easily manage your team.
Keep Up With Your Dispersed Workforce
Remote work is not only a popular new trend — it’s the way of the future. For companies looking to take advantage of the many benefits of hiring a dispersed, global team, Velocity Global can help you hire, manage, and pay your global team.