Remote work is on the rise. New research shows that many (young) employees consider remote work to be non-negotiable for them and companies that do not adapt to the remote work model in at least some capacity can potentially lose great talent. However, remote work can be a win not only for the employees but also for employers as well as for the economy in general.
But what is remote work, why is it getting more and more popular and what are some challenges that come along with this type of work?
What Is Remote Work?
Simply put, remote work is an employment arrangement in which employees do not need to commute to a dedicated place (like an office building) to perform their work duties.
Thanks to the Internet and the digital tools currently available, it is getting easier and easier to successfully complete projects and tasks (or even manage your team) when you’re not physically present in the same space.
There is a difference between fully remote positions, where you can work from home (or coworking space or cafe) 40 hours per week or hybrid positions that allow you to work remotely for some time (like 1 day per week or a few weeks per year).
Why Is Remote Work So Popular?
Remote work is gaining in popularity because of many different reasons. According to some studies, people who are not limited to their physical locations and have the freedom to work from wherever they want, are also happier, more productive and have a better work-life balance.
What Are The Advantages Of Remote Working?
There’s a good reason why so many people want to switch to working remotely full-time. Let’s check some of the biggest advantages when you don’t have to commute to the same office and work next to the same people day in and day out.
You Can Work From Anywhere
When you work remotely, you can literally work from anywhere in the world. Yes, anywhere. You can simply take your laptop and go wherever your heart desires. As long as you have a good Internet connection, that is.
Nevertheless, before packing up your whole life and starting a new life chapter across the world, you might want to check with your employer if there are any country restrictions you should be aware of – you know, for tax and legal reasons as well as some limitations due to your time zone.
(More) Flexible Work Schedule
Even though your working schedule is something that you and your employer set up, generally people who work remotely also have a more flexible schedule. That way, it gets a bit easier to run some errands, pick up kids from school or do some other activities and then get back to work whenever it suits you best. When you work remotely it’s usually the results that count, and not how many hours you put in.
Better Work-life Balance
When you don’t have to commute to the office every day and spend precious time in busy traffic, you can spend more time doing something you love. Whether that’s more time spent with your friends and family, practising new skills or relaxing, with remote work you will have more time to do all of these. Nevertheless, the lines between work and free time can get a bit blurry that way, so you will need to set some boundaries and make sure you really disconnect after hours.
Impact On Sustainability
Working remotely can result in a number of sustainability initiatives, from economic growth, fewer inequalities and more inclusion, sustainable cities and climate change.
Let’s face it – one of the fastest and cheapest ways to reduce the carbon footprint is to ditch travel. And employers and employees who work from home, don’t contribute to the growing emissions of carbon. Yaaay, remote work!
People who work remotely (especially work from home) tend to save up more money than people who go to the office every day. Think of it that way: when you don’t have to work from the office, you don’t have to spend money on gas, car maintenance, transportation, parking fees, lunches, professional attire, etc.
All this can add up pretty quickly; and when you don’t have to spend money on such things, that means you can use it for something else that matters to you.
Remote Working Challenges
Even though the advantages definitely outweigh the challenges, there are still some things that you need to consider before fully embracing the remote lifestyle.
This one is probably the biggest struggle for all remote workers. And the biggest fear of everyone who’s thinking about embracing a more remote lifestyle.
It’s a simp[le fact that if you’re used to working in a busy office environment, switching to working fully remote will feel lonely and isolating for you.
But how can you overcome this feeling of isolation? The best idea is to start using a coworking space nearby where you can work next to other remote workers. This is also a great way to meet other people in the industry and exchange ideas. Plus, more and more companies offer a coworking stipend for their employees, so make sure to take advantage of that.
Do you want to know more about coworking? Here is our blog post that explains everything you need to know about coworking.
When there is nobody who frequently checks whether you’re working or not, it can be easy to lose motivation and start procrastinating. That’s why it’s important to set your own schedule and deadlines, to make sure you do your work within your work hours and not take your workload with you throughout the day.
Unreliable Connections & Technology
Poor internet connection, unreliable applications and outdated hardware can be one of the biggest morale killers for virtual teams. They can lead to frustrations and greatly impact the work of your wider team.
As an employer, you should always make sure to offer your employees all the software and hardware they need. That means providing a laptop, extra screens, a set of soundproof headphones and anything else your team needs to do their work properly.
And as an employee, you should always make sure to find reliable internet, especially when you work from different locations or even countries.
Another challenge with remote teams can be working from different time zones, which can be difficult when you need to collaborate with other team members. Let’s face it, nobody wants to work late evenings just because that’s when your other team members from the other side of the world start their working day.
Well, time zones cannot really be changed, but the best is for companies to require some overlap among their employees, to make sure the collaboration goes smoothly and nobody ends up being frustrated and overworked.
Poor Internal Communication
Another important challenge when the whole company works remotely is internal communication. Or better yet, the lack of internal communication. When everyone is focused only on their tasks, they don’t know what other things are happening within their company. Because when you work remotely, there are no lunch breaks you can take with your colleagues, no after-work happy hours and no spontaneous informal interactions.
In this case, the company should put effort into an internal marketing/communication strategy, making sure everyone knows all the crucial bits and pieces that are going on within the company. On a formal level, you should do this with frequent company meetings, and more informally, with team-building activities
Is your team spread across the world and you’re not sure how to get everyone together? Check out our ideas for virtual team-building activities.
Remote Work vs. Working From Home
Let’s look at remote work as an umbrella term. Working from home, from a stylish coworking space, embracing the digital nomad lifestyle, working from a cafe or working from the beach can be all part of remote work.
It all depends on what feels right for you and what policy your company has for working remotely.
Is Remote Work Right for You?
That’s the one-million-dollar question, right? To be honest, we think that remote work can be suitable for everyone. It just depends on finding the right balance for yourself and trying your best to adapt as much as you can
Working remotely can definitely switch your life around, give you more time for the things you enjoy, help you travel the world and contribute to your overall happiness.
If you’re looking for remote jobs, then make sure to read our blog post about how to find remote jobs, where we also included some popular remote job platforms.
And once you land that dream remote job, make sure to sign up for Native Teams. We have all the solutions you need when you freelance and work remotely; from invoicing tools to payment options, a multicurrency virtual wallet and even employment options in your country. Sign up for free here and explore all our options.