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An Introduction to Remote Work

New to remote work? Here are answers to all of your burning questions — including what it is and why people do it.

Remote work is on the rise. While having the ability to work from outside of a corporate office has been feasible for a few decades, working remotely is only now becoming mainstream.

You may have even heard the phrase tossed around in casual conversation: “I’m working remotely now!” or “I’ve been able to travel and take my job with me!” You nod your head as you listen to these people extol the flexibility of their lifestyles and the benefits that they’ve seen in their professional lives because they can work remotely, but you still have a few questions.


Here are a few reasons you should care about Remote Work

It's the Future of Work!

Remote work isn't just a trend — it's the future! With the constant advancement of technology, more and more jobs not only can be done remotely, but actually make more sense as remote roles.

It has many personal benefits.

Working remotely is more than just the convenience of not having to commute. Many remote workers have reported that the flexibility has increased both their productivity and general wellness.

It benefits your employer in many ways too!

Remote work isn't only beneficial for employees, but employers too! Think cost savings, engagement, and retention. Keep reading to learn more about employer benefits.

Let’s start from the beginning… What is Remote Work?

Remote work is a working style that allows professionals to work outside of a traditional office environment. It is based on the concept that work does not need to be done in a specific place to be executed successfully.

Think of it this way: instead of commuting to an office each day to work from a designated desk, remote employees can execute their projects and surpass their goals wherever they please. People have the flexibility to design their days so that their professional and personal lives can be experienced to their fullest potential and coexist peacefully.

There has been a cultural paradigm shift in what society deems to be an appropriate workplace - and remote work has capitalized off of that newfound freedom.

How do people work remotely?

There are a variety of ways in which people can work remotely. That’s the beauty of remote work - people can choose to work in a way that makes the most sense for their lives.

For example, some people have the opportunity to work remotely for the majority of the working week, but have to commute to in-person meetings at the office one day a week. On a typical day, these remote employees work from their home offices or nearby cafés and can work from their company’s office when it’s necessary.

Others rely on coworking spaces to be the spots where they can get the job done. Coworking spaces act as hubs of productivity, community, and technology, offering great network connectivity and opportunities to meet others who work in a multitude of industries. They can be utilized by people with full-time jobs, freelance careers and even entrepreneurs who want to rent out an office space for themselves or their small staff. You might even say that coworking spaces are a halfway point between a traditional office and a nontraditional workspace, giving you the comfort of working from home and combining it with the professional amenities and networking opportunities that you’d find in a corporate environment. Whether remote employees choose to take advantage of a coworking space in their home city, or obtain a membership with a coworking collective that has locations around the world, they reap the benefits of having location flexibility.

‍Some remote workers take full advantage of the opportunities that a remote working lifestyle gives them. On top of being able to set their schedules so that they are able to work whenever they are most productive or creative, some remote employees decide to leave their traditional routines behind and hit the road. In an effort to open their minds, achieve greater global understanding and expand their professional network into a worldwide community, they take their remote work to different countries around the world, either through work and travel programs or DIY travel arrangements.


Why do people work remotely?

Now that you understand what remote work is and how people make it happen everyday you might be wondering: why? Why would someone choose to work outside of an office environment and, better yet, why would their boss let them?

There are a multitude of benefits to remote work for both employees and employers, ranging from increased productivity to happier, healthier workers. Let’s break down a few of the advantages:

Flexible lifestyle

The most obvious reason for why people want to work remotely is because it offers them a more flexible lifestyle. When they aren’t required to be in an office during a set time frame, remote employees can focus on the things that matter to them outside of the office. If a remote worker is also a parent, he or she has the ability to start work earlier in the day so that he or she can be present when the children get home from school, or take time off during the day for a doctor’s appointment. Another scenario could be a remote employee who wants to attain further education in their field. Because they aren’t subject to a strict schedule in a permanent workplace, a remote employee could pursue a Master’s degree or continuing education course during the day and double down on their work in the evening, or vice versa.

Better health and wellness

Remote employees are notably less stressed and have higher morale than their in-office counterparts. In a report published by Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, it was found that 55% of participants felt more stressed as a result of their commute. By eliminating that commute, and letting remote employees work in an environment that they’re comfortable in, employers are nurturing less stressed-out employees. Just take a look at this stat: 69% of remote workers reported lower absenteeism than non-remote employees according to a 2014 study by PGi. Workers didn’t feel the need to skip out on work without good reason because they felt engaged and focused within their role instead of stressed or pressured. Happier, healthier employees produce better work and feel more committed to their companies. From this perspective, remote work is just good business.

Renewed passion for their job

Remote employees tend to do their best work outside of the office. They are more inspired by their surroundings and can filter out environmental distractions as they see fit. In fact, the opportunity to work remotely alone brings a new perspective to a remote workers’ position. They see it as motivation or a reward for their excellent work and are stimulated to continue to surpass their goals in order to continue living the lifestyle that they’ve come to love.


How Remote Work Benefits Employers

Higher productivity

One of the most touted arguments for remote work is the increased productivity that comes with its flexibility. Remote employees are more likely to put in extra effort intheir jobs, going above and beyond toget their work done in comparison to in-office employees. According to the State and Work Productivity Report, 65% of full-time employees believe that working remotely would increase productivity - and their bosses agree. Two-thirds of managers who were surveyed reported an increase in overall productivity from their remote employees.

Cost savings

Remote employees are also great for a company’s bottom line. If a team is fully-distributed, companies can see decreased overhead from money saved on costs like rent and office furniture. To put that learning into perspective, Flexjobs reported that employers can save $22,000 per remote worker per year, even if their entire team is not remote.

Engaged employees

Beyond profit margins and higher-quality, more efficient work, employers offer remote work opportunities to keep their employees happy and engaged. Remote work is not just a flash in the pan for employee engagement - nearly 75% of employees surveyed in a Softchoice study said they would quit their job for one that offered remote work. That’s something that will make employers who are interested in talent retention listen in a little closer. Here’s another: in a survey by TINYpulse, remote employees reported that they were happier than non-remote employees and also felt more valued within their role.

How to work remotely

Sold on this lifestyle? It is pretty appealing. The idea of waking up and living your life in a way that is most suited to your personal and professional goals, along with your habits and idiosyncrasies sounds almost too good to be true. PSA: this way of living is possible for you, no matter where you’re at in life right now. You just need to ask yourself whether your current job can be remote or if you need to land yourself a new remote role.