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Remote Work: 4 Things You May Not Have Considered

Remote work: 4 things you may not have considered

Artwork by: Alexandra Shevchenko

  • What is remote work?
  • Remote work vs. home-based work or telecommuting
  • 4 Things to consider about remote working
  • 1. Working traditional hours
  • 2. Communication breakdown
  • 3. Reduced social interactions
  • 4. Feedback gaps
  • Where to look for a remote job
  • 1. Remote.co
  • 2. Remote OK
  • Key takeaways

Looking for remote work? Remote jobs are ever popular, and this doesn’t look likely to change any time soon. But have you considered the finer details of remote working? Read our article to find out four things you might not have considered about remote work.

Remote working is increasing in popularity as more employees are prioritizing work/life balance and more companies are offering remote work opportunities. This shift in the workplace landscape is showing no signs of slowing down following the pandemic, so what are the pros and cons of remote work? 

Does remote work mean no commute to the office, flexible work schedules, and working in the garden? Well, mostly. While many remote working jobs tick all these boxes (and more), there isn’t one size fits all in remote work. Before targeting a remote working career, read our article with the good and potentially bad (but never ugly!) aspects of remote working, including:

  • What is remote work?

  • Remote work vs. home-based work or telecommuting

  • 4 Things to consider about remote working

  • Where to look for a remote job

Statistical Insight

According to a recent report by Buffer, 97 percent of respondents would recommend remote working to others and the same number would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career. Further, a whopping 61 percent were very positive and 29 percent mostly positive about their overall remote working experience. 

What is remote work?

Remote work can be defined as any work completed outside of a physical office or in-person setting. Employees can complete their daily duties and responsibilities regardless of location, whether they are working in a home study, co-working space, coffee shop, or even the beach.

Most remote jobs are completed entirely online. Typical remote working jobs that spring to mind include writer, software developer, and data analyst, but in recent years, this has expanded to include many other jobs and industries, such as teaching, legal services, and sales.  

Remote work vs. home-based work or telecommuting

Before we look into the four major considerations of taking a remote job, there can be some slight nuances and differences between the types of remote work you can pursue. 

Home-based work is exactly what it sounds like - working from home. This is recognized as a subset of remote work due to the fact that remote work involves being any place other than your company’s office, whereas home-based work is working specifically from your house.

Telecommuting jobs usually involve a hybrid solution where employees can divide their working week between their home and the office, with the company typically located within a commutable distance. Fully remote work involves working full time from your remote location.

4 Things to consider about remote working

Because there’s no one set way to “do” remote work, the actual experience can vary wildly depending on the organization. Here are some things you may need to consider about yourself - and about your potential employer - to make a remote adjustment as smooth as possible:

1. Working traditional hours

Working from home means choosing your own schedule. Right? Well, that’s not necessarily true. Before taking a remote position you should learn about your team’s schedule and what their expectations are for you. 

Fully remote companies often have team members in multiple time zones. This might mean you are expected to work outside the normal 9-5 in order to accommodate these gaps. 

Expert Tip

As you apply to different companies, be sure to consider your own schedule and what sort of flexibility you need. If the hiring company operates on a completely different time zone, this may lead to burnout if you are juggling work/life balance across two time zones.

2. Communication breakdown

One disadvantage of remote work is that quick updates, brainstorming sessions, or casual, spontaneous, conversations are suddenly much harder to come by. These might be an essential part of your work experience that you’ll miss out on.

The “available office” environment can be somewhat replicated online, but it takes thought and effort from both employees and management. Companies can provide good communication tools, regular video calls can be organized by staff for team meetings or periodic coffee chats, and managers can schedule virtual drop-in sessions for employees.

3. Reduced social interactions

Similarly, there’s also a social element to being at work that many people thrive on which can be difficult to find in remote work. Even if you’re a total introvert, the lack of social interaction can lead to communication issues and conflict. It can be difficult to convey or pick up on an intended tone from an e-mail or Slack message, which can lead to misunderstandings and frustration. 

Beyond that, there’s the simple fact that working from home can get lonely - and a little boring. When that happens, your mental health starts to suffer, as does your work. Actively finding ways to be social and switching out of “work mode” is vital, as is finding out what the potential company organizes in terms of social activities and online team-building sessions.

  • Find out how the company handles remote communication, what tools they use, how often you’ll be in Zoom calls, and how accessible your manager might be. This will help you decide if a role is a good fit for you.
  • Overlook the opportunity to build connections while you are remote working. Connect with your teammates virtually and check in on how their week is going. Establishing a virtual “water cooler” will help boost morale.

4. Feedback gaps

Informal and spontaneous conversations are a regular source of feedback in most offices. Since remote work offers fewer opportunities for those conversations to happen, it’s easier for your work to get lost. (And it’s easier to get lost in your work.)

Establishing a feedback plan with your managers and team members is one way to combat this issue, such as bi-weekly Zoom check-ins. Make sure to ask about the organization’s feedback processes before you take the job.

Where to look for a remote job

If you’ve decided to go for it and pursue a remote working opportunity, here are the best sites where you can check out remote jobs:

1. Remote.co

Remote.co advertises remote and online jobs, with dedicated categories for each industry where you can quickly find the latest job opportunities. The site offers a wide range of job types and sectors, whether you are in accounting, teaching, HR, IT, administration - the list goes on! 

2. Remote OK

Remote OK is a popular jobs board for millions of remote workers across the world, attracting major companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Shopify, and GitHub. Setting up filters allows you to pinpoint specific remote work opportunities by job type, experience level, and recruiter.

Key takeaways

  1. While the concept of remote working sounds like a win-win situation, there are some considerations and adjustments that may not be immediately apparent. 

  2. Your overall success and happiness in a remote role depends on two factors: Your own preparation for the role and the company’s preparation for remote culture.

  3. Evaluate potential employers and determine whether their remote job offerings are right for you and your future career goals. 

  4. While it’s not all rosy with remote work - particularly when it comes to connection and communication - it’s not all bad, either. People feel overwhelmingly positive about remote work and are more excited about the option to work remotely.

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