Do you see some of your friends on Instagram or Facebook traveling non-stop and wonder how in the world they can keep showing up in one destination after another? Or do some people you know seem so much more at ease about their jobs than you have ever been? Chances are both of those people are involved in remote work, so what is remote work and is it right for you?
What is Remote Work?
Working remotely is working outside of the office. You are assigned projects which you can do on your own time, in your own space of choice, wearing whatever clothes you want to wear, and listening to your music on any volume. Remote work is extremely empowering to the freedom and productivity of each worker but can also complicate or dilute smooth communication and teamwork.
Understanding what remote work is goes much deeper than the simple answer of “working from wherever you want.” There are huge responsibilities that go with the freedom you are given. We are all different, and we have to learn what works best for us.
There is a chance that remote work sounds appealing but may not be a fit career objective for you. But of course, there is also the chance that it is perfect for you and working remotely can help you transform your life and your relationship with work.
Asking “What is remote work?” you seek experienced guidance to lean on. Having plenty of first-hand experience, and doing a lot of research into other peoples stories with remote work, we are happy to share some of the fascinating details that might help you.
Types of Remote Work
Being a remote worker involves either working for a company that embraces the idea of working remotely, or it consists of working for yourself as an entrepreneur or freelancer who picks up job opportunities as often as they can find them. Working for a company will provide a more stable source of income, through a steady flow of tasks. Working independently can often be a bit more unpredictable.
If you desire to work for a company, there are three types of remote work positions that you could fill:
- Office based with work from home options
- Remote team in the same location
- Remote on any time zone
Office-Based with Work from Home Options
This first option of remote work is when the company that you work for has an office where everything internal is organized and structured via face-to-face meetings and other interpersonal communications. You may even have a desk when working from an office based, yet remote job.
What is remote work if you are working at an office? These job options give you a chance to work from home a couple of days a week while still coming into the office pretty regularly. Or, these job options may give you the chance to work almost entirely from outside the office but ask for you to go in every once in a while.
Remote Team In the Same Location
When you ask “what is remote work,” the answer becomes a bit clearer with this option. Some businesses know that the jobs they are seeking from their employees can all be handled outside of the office, which requires a lease or rent to keep. So they pursue the reality of staffing their operations with remote workers. However, they still believe in good ol’ face-to-face communication and don’t want to sacrifice the vision or quality of their business in the process of “going remote.”
Sometimes businesses are also strictly local businesses that only deal with other companies in the surrounding area.
With both of these scenarios, as a remote worker your duty is to complete the tasks assigned to you by the business while also being able to connect in real life if necessary. With this remote option, you’re also required to be within the same time zone so there are no difficulties in online or phone communication.
Remote on Any Time Zone
When you ask “What is remote work?” chances are you will wonder about this true remote work: the type that allows you to work anywhere and any time.
Remote work on any time zone means opening your laptop in Bali, Indonesia and getting to work on a project assigned to you from Denver, Colorado. There is a 15 hour time difference, but as long as the job gets done both parties are happy and the employer can sustain or grow their business.
Remote work on any time zone revolves around a staff that an employer can trust to get the work done projects that have a grace period for completion. Same day workflow does not exist easily with this option, as it is very difficult for the employer to assign a project and get it completed within the 8 hours or so they are open for business. In this model of remote work, the company has to be okay with things getting done two days, four days, one week, two weeks, or even a month later.
Accountability and Responsibility
Working a remote job is going to require a great deal of self-discipline. There will be times where your distractions lead you away from your work, but unlike being in an office setting, you are going to have full freedom to pursue those distractions. An office setting has managers and co-workers who will ask you where you are going or otherwise keep you motivated and accountable.
The freedom that comes with remote work will give you the space to stretch when you want to stretch, look out the window, or walk in circles if you want to walk in circles. But with great power comes great responsibility. You will have to keep yourself motivated and accountable.
Many people asking “what is remote work?” have the desire to travel and still make money. Other people do it, and nearly everywhere you go these days there are “nomads” re-defining what work is. But this kind of work requires strick accountability and responsibility while you travel and work.
When we get to new places, there are these pulling urges to check out everything new being offered. We can often get lost in the exploration of this place and that place, this restaurant, and that cafe; and we end up not managing our schedules appropriately to work enough or be available.
Getting Honest with Yourself
“Is it right for me?”
Some people need an authoritative atmosphere to stay on top of the things they need to get done, while other people have a hard time working in a space where someone else tells them what to do or watches how they do it. The decision is up to what feels right for you.
At the end of the day, the business you will be working for needs to get things done. Not being disciplined enough to knuckle down and do the work that is required of you will position your employer in a tough spot with their clients, opportunity, and reputation.
One thing that might help you are co-working spaces. These are buildings that have great, often spacious, rooms that cater to remote workers of all kinds. You need to obtain a membership for most co-working spaces, but sometimes remote companies will pay for your membership. The co-working spaces get filled with other members day in and day out; and some even host events. They are a fantastic option for being out of the office but still in a disciplined and responsible state of mind.
One of the major drawbacks working remotely is loneliness. Studies have been performed on over 1000 people who work remotely, and the numbers conclude that roughly one out of every five remote workers feels as though loneliness is their biggest struggle.
You will spend a lot of time on your own, solving problems and putting together your assignments. Communication will be over email, texts, message boards such as trello or slack, and video calls. Face-to-face interactions will be limited to what you make of them with your family and friends; and possible with the barista who takes your order.
If your social life is already struggling then asking “what is remote work?” may be as far as you can realistically travel along that path. However, if you are great on your own, or you have lively times scheduled into your days with genuine friends on a regular basis, than you have no worries.
Being free is something we all dream of. Some of us more so than others; but it is an innate trait of being human. It makes sense that the workforce has taken on a serious shift towards the world of remote work. Understanding the movement and your place within it can make a world of difference for your professional life.