To pivot and adapt so quickly within a business deserves more acknowledgment than you may know. While companies worldwide have transitioned from face-to-face working to working online, it isn't easy to achieve, and it's even trickier if you're running a big company with hundreds or thousands of employees.
Nearly 35% of Americans were working from home in the early stages of the pandemic, with millions returning to the office since. But, it turns out there are more options for working remotely than ever before, and the concept isn't going to vanish anytime soon.
If you're unsure what flexible working means or what hybrid working is, we're going to break it all down for you. Remote jobs which were once difficult to find, are popping up on every job site in America. Learn about the benefits and disadvantages of becoming a remote worker so you can prepare yourself before you spend money on setting up an epic home office.
Let's get straight into it and discuss everything you need to know about working remotely in 2023.
What does working remotely mean?
Working remotely means you don't necessarily need to go into an office to work there. With this in mind, the concept of working remotely can open up a new way of working for many. You might be able to perform your own hours, from anywhere, creating more scope for the dream of digital nomads or even new moms who don't want to be left out of the workforce.
This could essentially give you the flexibility to work from anywhere in a specific time zone or even anywhere in the world, making you location dependant.
Remote working is also changing the way we approach the work-life balance and even how we communicate and productivity. While more companies are turning to online working, remote workers are learning to communicate through a series of SaaS products and apps such as Coassmble that lend a helping hand for remote employees to work effectively without stepping foot inside an office.
Supposedly, Twitter has announced a work from home policy for all staff from now on. With more global companies having no desire to go back into the office, you might be wondering about the pros and cons of remote work, which we'll talk about more about in this article.
Working from home myths
When the pandemic started, many people understandably freaked out about the prospect of their routine being flipped upside down. The morning commute had vanished (which could be a good sign!), the morning coffee shop run had disappeared, and even catching up for after-work drinks had stopped altogether.
With the prospect of loneliness creeping in and even having the motivation to get out of bed and get dressed to work from home seemed like more effort than it really needed to be, many people wondered how they would physically and emotionally feel productive to try remote working.
Is remote working watching TV in your pajamas?
Before the pandemic, many people would automatically say how they could never work from home because they would sit and watch TV all day; it can be more rewarding than you think. Remote workers can feel more productive while at home because they feel more accountable for their work. With no distractions to encounter with colleagues wanting a 'quick chat,' working from home has more benefits than you think.
Knowing when to switch off
With that said, working from home can feel like you're never able to switch off. Before you know it, you could end up feeling like you want to send that email at 7 am or 7 pm, instead of remembering the boundaries of work hours.
Sometimes when you finish work, all you want to do is to go home and switch off. When your office is the kitchen bench or a make-shift desk in the lounge, how are you supposed to get away from it all? Many remote workers tend to go to the gym or a walk after work and come home feeling refreshed.
Understanding different types of remote working
There are so many different types of remote working terms to get your head around. Don't be confused by thinking flexible working means the same as remote working, especially if you're looking for new job openings and you want to work from home full time. Here's a rundown on some of the terminology to help you understand the different meanings behind working remotely.
Flexible working or hybrid working
Flexible working, also known as hybrid working, usually means working from home and working in the office. This means you'll need to be based near to your job, but you'll have slightly more flexibility as you won't need to commute each day so you can live further away if required. Flexible working is also more positioned to change your work hours if required so you can fit work in around your schedule. This means you'll be able to concentrate better and ultimately produce more quality work.
Telecommuting means working from home but communicating with the office by a computer or phone for permanent employees.
Mobile working means working from another location which could be at a coworking space, in a cafe, or even at a client's office.
What's the difference between working from home and working remotely?
You'd be forgiven for thinking working from home is the same as working remotely. The truth is, working from home means it's more of a benefit of your job to have the opportunity to work from home, and working remotely is a way of working.
When you work from home, you are technically not working in the office on certain days of the week. It's a term used when you're not in the office and represents a change from your routine.
Remote working isn't the same as you can work from anywhere and you're not necessarily needed to work near the office or, in fact, go into the office at all. It requires a robust set of pro-active skills to get work done when you might not have the option to see colleagues face to face. When you work remotely, you might work when you want, which frees up time to do more things you love.
What does working remotely mean for you?
If you're about to join a remote team, you'll soon realize why people choose to work remotely. There are many lifestyle benefits for working anywhere you want to be tied to a specific location requiring you to work in a traditional office.
While many Americans have a long commute to work, you'll be pleased to know you can spend your time doing more things you love doing in your personal time. Many people save a lot of money working from home or working remotely and can ultimately have a better work and lifestyle balance.
Pros for working remotely for employees
Being accountable for your work
You'll feel much more confident about being more productive when you work remotely. When you're given choice and flexibility to work when and where your work becomes much more empowering than you think it is if you're working in a physical office. Essentially this will help you feel more passionate about your job as you reap the rewards for producing excellent work from home.
More time to do what you want, when you want
Although mental health and wellness can be tricky for some people in fully remote jobs, they can also benefit. Instead of spending your time stuck in traffic while trying to get to work, remote work gives you more time to work on your own schedule. You'll be able to spend more time with your family, work out more or simply spend time on your hobbies which will ultimately make you feel happier and more content.
Save more money
You'll be able to save more money if you seek remote work opportunities. Here are some of the costs you'll save on:
- Transport to and from work
- Grabbing a coffee or two (or three) to stay focussed at work
- Buying lunch because you didn't have time to make it at home
- After work drinks every week with teammates
These work costs add up significantly over time, and before you know it, you could be saving hundreds of dollars each week!
Lunch break bliss!
Now you're working from home, imagine the kinds of lunch breaks you can have now? You will no longer wander the shops to fill time or eat your lunch at your desk. Instead, you could take a quick power nap, go for a swim or a walk, or even take a shower if you need to wake up a bit more.
Cons for working remotely for employees
If you've managed to organize remote work arrangements, you might be interested in knowing the pros and cons of taking on a fully remote job. Remote work certainly has its highs and lows, and it's only fair we share an honest insight into what to expect.
In theory, getting a remote job is the dream many would love. But, there are disadvantages to it that could affect the remote worker and the employer.
Mix up your work environment
One of the most significant letdowns for working remotely is mental health and wellness. Many people find remote work isolating and a lonely experience. If you live by yourself, you could spend the entire week without seeing another person, which in turn could make you feel lethargic and unmotivated. So how can you get around it? We recommend organizing at least a day a week at a local coworking space if you have one nearby.
If you don't live near a coworking space, why not spend a few hours at a local coffee shop or library? You'll be surprised how much more productive you'll feel when you're around other people and mix up your work environment.
Don't work overtime (too much!)
As we mentioned before, it's easy to work too much when you work from home. Make sure your mental health and wellness always stay your priority. If you find yourself bailing out of your morning exercise because you have an email to respond to at 7 am, think about your preferences (unless it is urgent). By exercising and moving your body every day, you'll feel consistently motivated. It's a shock when you're not naturally hitting 10,000 steps anymore because the work commute has vanished.
Gaining the correct employee onboarding
Starting a remote job can take a bit of getting used to, especially in the onboarding process. You want to connect with your team as quickly as possible, but how can you do it when you can't chat face to face? If your employer has nailed the remote onboarding process correctly, it won't even matter if you've not met your team in person. You'll be able to naturally get on with work straight away and feel part of the team in no time!
Time zones can be annoying
If you're working across multiple time zones, it can be not very clear to know what time your meeting is set for and be able to get in touch with other staff members if they're on the other side of the planet.
Pros for working remotely for employers
Of course, there are going to be pros and cons for employers too when employing remote workers! Running a remote team can take a little getting used to if you're used to managing a team in a physical office.
Say goodbye to the 30-mile radius
When you're looking for fully remote employees, you can say goodbye to trying to find the perfect talent pool within a 30-mile radius. Think about how many more potential job seekers you can discover if you open up the hiring process nationally or globally. Look at the team at Cliniko, a practice management software SaaS company. By perfecting the selection and hiring process, they received 5,118 applications for a recent job role. That's a number most start-ups couldn't even fathom, let alone global companies.
Save money on the office building lease
Companies can save vast amounts of money for working from home. When you're not paying for the building lease, power bills, cleaners, and so much more, the company could put the money into employee experience, helping team members get the most out of their work.
Say hello to more engaged employees
Believe it or not but employees prefer to get on with their work in their own time. Say hello to more engaged employees and see your business thrive more than ever.
Cons for working remotely for employers
Although it sounds impressive to have a fully remote and engaged team, you'll need everything from the right collaboration tools, a good internet connection and much more to make work time accessible.
My wifi's down again
We've all had the problem of connecting to wifi, I know you've probably thought your wifi was down again when Facebook had an outage. How do you get around having tech issues when you can't run over to IT with your laptop and get them to drop everything and fix it there and then? Employers, make sure you supply your fully remote team with the best hardware you can afford. Because let's face it, your employees can't afford to waste time not working productively.
Cut down on meetings
You don't need to check up with your team as much as you think. Let them feel accountable for their work and let them get on with it as and when needed.
Understand how important employee experience truly is
Make sure you get the employee experience right from the hiring process to the exit interview. If you're not aware of how your colleagues communicate and how they feel about the workplace, you need to find out. Schedule video calls via your favorite apps, and make sure everyone's health and wellness is intact.
Company culture might need adjusting due to after-work drinks going out of the window, but companies like ClassBento offer up virtual work parties you can participate in, no matter where your team is based.
Make sure you nail the online onboarding process perfectly
If all companies realized how hugely beneficial the onboarding process is, they would invest in making sure it is as perfect as it can be. Instead of sending your new employee a few documents on your operations, collate everything into a fun and engaging course using Coassemble's free Online Course Builder.
If you're starting from scratch, check out our pre-built Onboarding Remote Employees template for inspiration. By transforming your onboarding process, you won't be losing great members of the team anytime soon!
If you are a team leader or business owner interested in preventing mishaps from occurring, we have three guides that are perfect for you. As remote experts, our team built a standard of communication and project management systems to prevent friction from occurring. Check out our remote guides to learn:
- How leaders are managing remote teams.
- How to boost morale for teams working remotely.
- How to engage remote employees.
These guides can help you recognize your remote employee's needs, how to engage them, and how to improve remote productivity. All without an office space required—you'll be ready to go digital.
We hope this helps you understand what working remotely means, with some ideas on how to start and keep your team producing excellent work.
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