What is Remote Work? Remote Work Resources & Tips
Remote Work Definition
Remote work allows professionals to do their jobs outside of the regular office environment. Remote workers can work from home, a coworking space, a coffee shop or anywhere that allows them to feel productive. The COVID-19 pandemic elevated the need for remote work and its popularity has grown since then. And while some companies are returning to physical office spaces, remote work remains popular and beneficial because of its cost-effectiveness and flexibility.
The Rise of Remote Work
Remote work — sometimes known as working from home — allows employees to work outside of a traditional office setting. Employees can work from home or a coworking space or anywhere that feels comfortable and productive for them.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it also began the necessity for remote work. Since then, the popularity of remote work has remained steady, despite some shifts and changes as employers encourage workers to return to the office.
How Do Remote Jobs Work?
Remote jobs rely on tools accessed through the internet to get tasks and projects done across teams. Communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom are commonly used across various remote roles to stay up to date with coworkers and host virtual meetings.
Collaboration tools and online whiteboards have also become increasingly important to monitor the progress of projects and track the completion of everyday tasks.
Many companies and teams have to take extra steps to maintain a sense of culture and connection while working remotely. Although building a remote company culture isn’t always easy, there are tips and tricks that companies can implement to keep employees engaged.
Tips for Remote Work Culture
- Provide the necessary communication tools.
- Make space for people to share life updates and check in with one another.
- Celebrate wins with the company in virtual meetings.
- Make company goals clear and create systems to allow teams to track progress.
Remote Work Statistics
Today’s remote employees are actually some of the highest-performing and least-stressed members of the tech workforce.
One thing that can’t be ignored is the demand for remote jobs. In fact, 57 percent of people say they prefer working from home.
General Remote Work Statistics
- 16 percent of global employers are 100 percent remote and 40 percent of employers offer some kind of hybrid model.
- Since 2021, the demand for long-term remote flexibility has increased.
- 35 percent of employers give their employees monthly work from home stipends.
Remote work is likely to remain a fixture in the U.S. workforce, for many reasons. In the coming years, what was once “remote work” will simply be thought of as work — no distinction needed. It’s estimated that 25 percent of all professional jobs will be fully remote by the end of 2023.
Who Is Working Remotely?
- Fully remote employees are usually full-time, college-educated and, on average, 45 years old.
- A majority of employees either work at small companies or multinational corporations.
- 23 percent of remote workers moved from suburban areas to urban areas during the pandemic.
Remote Work Models
There are three main types of remote work models: full-time remote, flexible and hybrid. Each of these models has their pros and cons and is offered by different kinds of companies. These models have become especially popular after the popularity of “return to office” policies between 2021 and 2022.
Full-time remote is exactly how it sounds. Companies offering remote work allow employees to work from home all the time. Although the term “work from home” could also be thought of as “work from anywhere” because remote employees have their choice of where they physically do their work. Remote employees are encouraged to work from wherever makes them feel the most comfortable and focused.
A hybrid model of work means that there are a certain number of days employees go into an office for their working hours. The number of days and time spent in the office can vary. Some companies may want employees to come in for three or four days a week, while others may only require employees to work in-office one or two days a week.
Flexible work models allow employees to choose when they come into the office. Employers that offer flexible work usually make coming into the office a voluntary action. Employees working within a flexible model can come into the office everyday if they’d like, or they can only come in a couple of times a month.
Benefits of Remote Work for Employers
Employers and employees alike have experienced the benefits of going remote. In some cases, employers are seeing positive boosts in productivity, while others are reporting an overall happier workforce and lower attrition rates. Here are a few benefits of a remote work model.
Benefits of Working Remotely
- Diverse talent pools and job opportunities.
- Increased productivity and less stress.
- Allows for flexibility.
- Saves time and money for employers and employees.
More Diverse Talent Pools
Remote work gives companies the ability to hire employees in their local region as well as nationally and internationally. Opening up talent pools so they’re not limited by geography means employers can see an increased level of skill and diversity in candidates.
They can also seek out the best and brightest from around the world. For example, a company in Chicago could have a team of remote engineers in China, Ukraine or Pennsylvania, and still maintain a high level of output thanks to developments in technology and management practices. Plus, it’s proven that diversity helps businesses increase innovation, boost creativity and raise employee engagement.
One of the biggest knocks on remote work is that employees are lazy or less productive. In most cases, it’s actually the opposite. According to a Harvard University study, WFH employees could actually boost US workforce productivity by more than four percent. The study’s researchers also found that WFH employees actually take less sick time and are more comfortable in their surroundings, which resulted in less errors and billions of dollars back into the economy. Additionally, another Stanford University study of a 16,000-person Chinese travel agency saw a 13 percent increase in productivity because employees were happier with their careers.
Remote Employee Productivity Statistics
- In a long-term study, it was found that remote employees are 13 percent more productive than employees in an office setting.
- Remote employees at large companies have been found to be 35 to 40 percent more productive than employees who work in the office.
Remote work has been proven to reduce operating costs for most businesses. In fact, six out of 10 employers identify remote work’s cost saving effects as a major reason why they are shifting towards telecommunication. For example, technology giant IBM is saving upwards of $50 million a year on real estate costs by moving a portion of their workforce to remote opportunities. Since employees are healthier, happier and more engaged in remote opportunities, there are lower rates of attrition. This equals big bucks for employers, who report that losing a team member can cost them anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 in lost productivity and hiring costs for another employee for that one position.
Benefits of Remote Work for Employees
Remote work offers employees a very important perk: flexibility — both in their schedules and where they physically work. Most companies give employees the ability to craft their schedules, so they can feel comfortable and can live their separate personal and professional lives to the fullest. Since remote employees tend to have a harder time disconnecting from their computers, companies make it a priority to ensure that these employees prioritize a healthy work-life balance.
Diverse Employment Opportunities
Just as employers can benefit from diverse talent pools in a remote setting, so too can job seekers. Engineers, customer service representatives, salespeople and others all over the world now have a wider range of job opportunities to choose from because of a shift towards remote-first options. Remote work has been especially helpful for normally disadvantaged groups, like employees with disabilities, who can now work to their fullest potential in the comfort of their homes.
Employees that work remotely experience less stress than employees who work in the office full time. Remote workers don’t experience the same stress from commuting to the office everyday and they often have more autonomy in how they structure their workday and tasks. Remote employees also don’t have to deal with the distractions of going into the office — which can certainly be a stress relief for some.
Tips and Resources for Remote Work
Tips for Working Remotely
- Create a dedicated workspace for yourself.
- Set a schedule for working hours.
- Make sure employees have the proper equipment to work from home.
- Hold and participate in regular virtual meetings and standups.
When it comes to managing remote teams, there are a few things for leadership to consider. Managers should encourage employees to check in as often as they need to and hold weekly meetings to give space for brainstorming and discussion. It’s also important for managers and leadership to over communicate what is going on and make sure there is clarity around goals and priorities.
Remote work may come with challenges, but companies that shift their practices and create environments that are conducive to working from home often reap many benefits.