Remote Work: What Does It Actually Mean?
Let’s start by referring to the definition of remote work from the Cambridge Dictionary.
noun [ U ] UK /rɪˌməʊt ˈwɜː.kɪŋ/ US /rɪˌmoʊt ˈwɝː.kɪŋ/
It’s the practice of an employee working at their home, or in some other place that is not an organization’s usual place of business
The world as we know becomes more connected and technology advances, so naturally the concept of remote work is becoming increasingly popular. Remote work simply, allows us to work from any location outside of a traditional office setting. Whether it be from home, a coffee shop, or even a different country – including your favorite sunny place you spent your holidays in. Remote work is changing the way people work, providing more flexibility than ever before.
What Are the Benefits of Working Remotely?
Now that we have defined remote work, why don’t we explore the topic in more depth?
There are several benefits to working remotely. One of the biggest advantages is the mentioned flexibility as many remote workers have the privilege to create their schedules and work around their personal lives, rather than being tied to a strict 9-5 schedule. Jobs such as remote social media managers or blog writers fall into this category. Remote work with little or no strict work hours can significantly lead to a better work-life balance and increased productivity.
Remote work eliminates the need for a daily commute, saving individuals both time and money. It can also be environmentally friendly, as it contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Studies conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 showed transport emissions dropping by 30-38% when many of us had to work from home.
Additionally, remote work allows individuals to work from any location with an internet connection, which can lead to opportunities to travel while still being able to work.
This is worth mentioning: A company called Buffer had a survey done in 2022 titled “State Of Remote Work”. Their report looks at the state of remote work in 2022, surveying 2,118 people from 16 different countries. It explores how people feel about remote work, the work structures they have adopted, the benefits and struggles they are facing, and how remote work impacts career growth, pay, and performance.
Here are the result for anyone’s interest:
Find more statistics at Statista
Challenges of Working Remotely
One commonly heard phrase is that there is no perfect solution. While there are many benefits of working remotely, there are also challenges.
One of them is the lack of face-to-face interaction with people, this especially affects extroverts who get energy from being around their coworkers, and Zoom calls may not be enough.
So the drawbacks are feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can then negatively impact our mental health – something to consider.
Additionally, remote work requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation. The folks at Zapier an automation tool have been in the game of remote work for a long time and have come out with a classic guide to remote work. Here is what they have to say on how to find your optimal work environment and increase productivity:
- Understand your circadian rhythm: Determine which times of the day you are most productive and plan tasks accordingly.
- Adjust your surroundings: Make sure your workspace is comfortable in terms of temperature, noise, and light.
- Chunk your tasks: Group similar tasks together and front-load big projects.
- Just get started: Break down big tasks into smaller sub-tasks and action steps, and set yourself a target of working on something for 5 minutes.
- Set yourself a challenge: Challenging yourself to complete a task before a certain time can help you focus better. Try using the Pomodoro Technique or “real life Pomodoros”.
Without the structure of a traditional office setting, it can be easy to become distracted and lose focus. It’s important for individuals to set boundaries and create a dedicated workspace to help combat these challenges.
Who Does it Suit to Work Remotely?
Remote work is suitable for a variety of professions, but it may be better suited for some than others. I mentioned this earlier, not a rule but jobs that you mostly see on job marketplaces such as Fiverr or Upwork are by definition remote, we at OkJob list companies that almost always hire for remote jobs with a 4-day week schedule.
Jobs that involve a lot of independent work, such as writing or programming, tend to be well-suited for remote work. Additionally, jobs that require a lot of travel, such as sales or consulting, can benefit from the flexibility of remote work.
Best Practices for Working Remotely
Zapier’s guide teaches us that to be successful in remote work, it’s important to establish routines and best practices. This includes setting clear boundaries between work and personal life, creating a dedicated workspace, and maintaining communication with colleagues.
It’s also important to prioritize self-care, such as taking breaks and getting regular exercise.
Summarizing Zapier’s wisdom:
- Establish and maintain a routine: Create a routine to approximate a commute time to signal when work time starts and ends.
- Set and stick to priorities: Identifying the most important tasks and setting aside time for rest and non-work activities.
- Create and keep boundaries: Setting boundaries for when to stop working and not feeling guilty about taking time off.
- Take short and long breaks: Take regular breaks throughout the day and longer vacations for recharging and refocusing.
Working remotely can be an incredibly rewarding experience, with the potential to provide flexibility, save money and time, and create a better work-life balance. However, it is important to be aware of the challenges that come with it and implement best practices to help stay productive and maintain mental health.
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