In the last couple of years, we have all struggled with unexpected difficulties. COVID-19 brought new challenges in all aspects of humankind, and businesses and companies were, without any doubt, not exempt from them: they were forced to embrace the change and adapt to it. While it is true that remote work has been around for many decades, it has not been until the last two years that the term has become popular worldwide. Companies have had to adapt to a new way of working in order not to disappear and were forced to break myths and beliefs about efficiency and productivity in the office. In this article, we will define the concept of a remote job, explain its advantages and disadvantages, and how it has radically changed the business landscape.
A remote job is work that is performed outside of the traditional office environment, also called working from home or remote work. The “remote job concept” revolves around the fact that employees can successfully execute daily projects and tasks without the need to go to an office every day, meaning they can work from home, a coffee shop, a library, or a beach.
Thanks to the democratization of the Internet and access to new technologies, plus the pandemic as an imperative catalyst, remote work is now a viable option for millions of people and companies around the world.
There is an established time when the team logs on and off, and there is an expectation that messages will be answered fast and tasks will be done in that time frame.
Workers are in completely different time zones and are not required to be online at the same time to successfully perform any type of work. This means that work can be done with little collaboration and teams don’t depend on each other to get tasks done.
As previously stated, remote work is an available option for almost any industry worldwide. This means that almost any job that can be done through a laptop with an internet connection could be done remotely. Of course, companies face challenges in terms of communication, effectiveness, or payroll. But nowadays there exist specialized tools to fill those gaps and make remote jobs flow effectively and smoothly.
Some of the most common remote jobs are:
Flexible lifestyle: The most common reason people seek remote employment is because of the lifestyle flexibility it provides. Full-time remote employees often set their own schedules depending on work hours, while freelancers can work whenever they want. For those with children, other businesses, or higher education, remote jobs offer a better work/life balance so they can focus their extra time on other important tasks in their lives.
Better health: Remote employees tend to be less stressed and more enthusiastic about their work than in-office colleagues. This work style allows people to work in comfortable environments, eliminating the chaos and time-wasting morning and evening commute. Working outside the office also encourages healthy eating and exercise. Happier, healthier employees produce better work and feel more engaged in their jobs.
Renewed passion: Remote employees are often more motivated and inspired to do their work outside the office. They can eliminate environmental distractions and seek out work areas that are as quiet and isolated as they need to be more productive. Working from anywhere also provides a sense of reward and makes employees more excited about their work to exceed goals.
Increased productivity: A remote job indeed requires a certain amount of trust and confidence for an employer to work outside the office (meaning there is no boss around), but with trust and transparency you build a healthy relationship. A Stanford study reveals that remote workers are 15% more productive than office workers. Trust, in this case, could be reinforced by using tools for monitoring remote work, as there is a wide variety of software that can help manage remote staff productivity.
Savings: Since the pandemic started in early 2020 until today, big companies such as Sun Microsystems, American Express, Dow Chemical, and Nortel have reported savings on real estate costs ($68 million, $15 million and a 30% reduction on non-real estate costs respectively).
So perhaps the most strong argument for relay on a fully remote staff is the reduction of cost. Besides real estate costs, companies have identified additional cost reductions related to the traditional office, such as cleaning services, coffee, and cafeteria bills.
Engaged employees: Beyond having more efficient workers and economical savings, the increased engagement of employees working remotely results in higher employee retention. The longer employees stay in a company, the more connected and loyal the entire team will be. A team that works well together helps the company grow faster.
Isolation: One disadvantage of working away from a team is the feeling of loneliness. Leaving an active office environment to the solitude of your own home can translate into a sense of monotony. Working from a coffee shop or shared space is a great way to stimulate different types of interactions.
Self-motivation: Working outside the office requires a proactive attitude, as there is no one around to keep an eye on. If you feel like you work slower from home, try a new environment to minimize distractions.
No immediate access to equipment: As remote work has flexible hours, the people you need to communicate with may not always be available. Occasionally, you may realize you have an important question, but the person you need to ask has already disconnected and is not available. In general, there is a second person to turn to in these situations, and advanced planning tasks can help reduce unexpected needs.
A potential increase in distractions: While distractions happen in the office as well, employees who work remotely may encounter even more types of interruptions. Working from home involves its own set of interruptions that depend on the employee’s home life, such as children, spouse, pets, and television, among other factors.
Lack of community: Working together in the same space provides a sense of community and the opportunity to connect more with others. Since remote work tends to isolate, this can result in a lack of bonding. Many remote work companies use teleconferencing, online chat, and other tools to maintain their communities engaged.
Less reliability or accountability: With less supervision, an employee’s reliability and accountability for his or her work may not be as high as in an office-based position. Using weekly performance measures and incentives can help employees perform well and motivate them to work better.
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