Many companies and employees are now compelled to work remotely. But what exactly does it mean to work remotely?
There is the traditional work from home crowd. They have a stable home environment with high-speed internet and a nice home workspace.
But on the other hand, there is the digital nomad. They travel between continents every few months, sipping a sweet drink at a local coffee shop with shoddy internet.
Working remotely means different things to different people. But it ultimately means that you don’t need to work at the company office.
What Does Working Remotely Mean For You?
Working remotely means that you can work at home, a cafe, hotel, library, or anywhere in the world.
Working away from the office is entirely possible, because few things are handled by paperwork nowadays. Forms can be filled out online, and a paycheck can be sent your way via direct deposit. Online services run 24/7 regardless of time zones. Everything is digital.
Just about all remote jobs require you to have a computer with internet to perform the work. A laptop with good battery life gives you more flexible logistics.
There are numerous types of remote jobs that allow you to work a location-independent gig– typically requiring digital skills. Marketing, sales, and software development are among the most popular remote gigs you can find on remote job boards.
Part time remote jobs are rare, with full time roles making up the majority of job opportunities you’ll find.
If you previously worked in an office, then your home may not have a dedicated workspace. Setting up a home office will help you achieve maximum productivity. Choosing a desk of the right height, a good comfy chair, and a laptop stand can help you increase comfort and avoid back pain.
Does Working Remotely mean Working from Home?
Yes, working remotely means that you can work from home if you choose to. However, you will usually have the freedom to work from other locations too.
Being a Remote Freelancer
If you are a freelancer, then of course you can work wherever you like. The freelance lifestyle provides you with the most flexible schedule.
You may need to adjust your schedule so that you can communicate with clients. But you have the ultimate freedom in how you wish to manage your schedule.
Most freelancers already work remotely, so it’s nothing new. Working for yourself means that an office environment is optional and working hours are completely up to you. You can work full time, extended time, part time, or no time at all. As long as you clients are happy.
Being a Remote Employee
However, if you are are an employee who works remotely, it means that your employer might set restrictions on where you are allowed to work.
Employers generally prefer employees to work within specific timezones so that they can efficiently collaborate with team members. But a remote company will usually allow you to work wherever you choose within the preferred timezones.
On the path to working remotely, you may choose to either become a remote employee or freelancer. There are pros and cons to each path, but both lifestyles give you the flexibility to work from home.
WFH Best Practices
Working from home has unique challenges, but when following the best practices it is a smooth process. These best practices include proactive communication and knowing your colleague’s responsibilities.
Once you’ve applied these best practices, you’ll find that your stress levels are reduced, productivity is increased, and your overall health is improved.
Remote Working Pros and Cons
Even though remote working might seem like a fantasy job for some people, it’s not for everyone. There are many pros and cons to remote working.
Benefits include being able to work in your pajamas and not having to waste time commuting in traffic.
On the other hand, there are cons, too. For example, you might feel lonely or depressed when working at home and sometimes you’re not really “off the clock” even after business hours.
Difference Between Work from Home and Work from Office
When it comes to the experience of remote working, there are many differences between working from home and working from an office. There are the obvious differences, such as how remote working requires virtual forms of communication.
But there are also subtle differences too, like how remote working can affect your mental health due to the long periods of isolation. Extended work hours can cause back pain. It’s important to pay attention to the health implications of working from home.
Working from home can also lead to interesting interactions with the people you live with. Your family or significant other might think that you’re goofing around and relaxing since you work from home. It’s perceive as “easy work” even though a remote job has the same requirements as an office job.
Can You Travel While Working Remotely?
If you want to travel while you work remotely, it’s usually not a problem if you travel domestically. However, it can get tricky if you want to work in a different country than your employer.
Your employer may expect a reasonable overlap with their preferred timezone and there are nuances to working with an international team.
Traveling while working is a fun way to mix things up when you start to get bored of working from home. It also gives you an amazing opportunity to explore the world in ways that most people can only dream of.
But it’s when you decide to travel internationally as a remote employee, that there is more friction to the process.
Working Remotely and Living Abroad
Having an agreement with your employer explicitly allowing you to travel internationally is important. But as a freelancer, you mainly need to worry about paperwork and taxes.
Modern laws are very vague on how regulations affect international expats who work abroad remotely. If you land a remote job for a business in your home country, then working remotely abroad is fairly simple.
But if you work for a business that’s on foreign soil, then things can get complicated- potentially requiring a work visa.
When you are ready to make plans to travel abroad, then you’ll need to learn about passports, visas and cybersecurity. Each country has different Visa eligibility requirements for inbound travelers. Therefore, you should visit the website of your local embassy to understand the details before buying the plane ticket.
How to Start Working Remotely (In 5 Steps)
Step 2: Build the skills so that you will qualify for your desired remote job. Different remote jobs require different digital skills. Spend some time doing research about the industry you will will work in and learn how modern professionals in that industry perform their work.
Step 3: Market yourself online by creating a LinkedIn account so that employers and recruiters can find you. Your LinkedIn profile should include your work experience, resume and portfolio.
Step 4: Reach out to recruiters through LinkedIn. They will work tirelessly to help you find a job because they get a slice of the pie too. Just make sure to emphasize to the recruiter that you want to work remotely.
Step 5: Apply for remote jobs. You can use the remote job search to find the latest full time remote job listings in various industries. You should apply for new job listings on a daily basis for the fastest results.
Adjusting to Working Remotely
Once you start working remotely from home, the most impactful changes to your daily lifestyle will be the social and physical changes. From a social standpoint, you will need to be more proactive in order to maintain a healthy social life because you won’t have the spontaneous social interactions of working with colleagues in an office space.
Physically speaking, if you work at home then you are likely going to be less physically active because you don’t need to commute to work. As a result, you will need to pay close attention to your physical health, ensuring that you are physically active throughout the day.
Will Working Remotely Become the Norm?
Although the global impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for the economies and public health of numerous countries, the pandemic has brought remote working into the spotlight and normalized working remotely for millions of people around the world.
Most countries forced residents to stay home, resulting in the majority of workforces to work from home. Many large corporations have officially embraced remote working, and will continue to allow permanent remote opportunities even after the pandemic has subsided.
So will working remotely become the norm? Well remote job opportunities have been available for over a decade already. The effects of the pandemic have further increased the popularity of remote working.
However, remote jobs still make up only a small fraction of the entire jobs industry. It will still take many years before remote working will be considered mainstream. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it means that remote working is a niche area of interest.
Is Working Remotely the Future?
It is unlikely that remote working will change the landscape of working entirely. But remote working will continue to grow in popularity as employers and employees increasingly embrace it.
Some large organizations such as Facebook, Amazon and Uber have announced allowing employees to work remotely through 2021.
Other companies such as Twitter, Coinbase, and Square have said that they’ll allow remote working indefinitely, even after the pandemic– but still offer an office environment for employees if they choose to work on-premises.
The global sentiment towards remote working is overall much more accepting now than it was before the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean that all jobs will become remote jobs.
Many jobs simply cannot be performed remotely. Many jobs in the food, hospitality, travel, construction and manufacturing industries require staff to work on-premises to either aid customers or perform labor.
It’s primarily the digital jobs that can be performed with a computer via digital skills and online collaboration- which will continue to grow and prosper with more and more remote job opportunities for years to come.
Additionally, some home workers have felt loneliness, depression and burnout from working at home for long periods of time.
Is It Worth It?
If you want to live a more flexible lifestyle where you have control over your working environment and schedule, then working remotely might be a good path for you. However, it isn’t always a perfect experience.
Working from home can be lonely and disrupt your daily routine. Serendipitous interactions a few and far between. The line between personal life and work life start to blend together. You should know the differences between plunging into the work from home lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
With a remote job, you can make the same salary while working from home. You have the freedom to live in whatever city you want to live in without worrying about the condition of the local industries. You can travel while you work. And you’ll save a tremendous amount of time and money by not having to commute to work every day.