First and most importantly, what is remote work?
Remote work allows professionals to work outside of a traditional office environment, and is based on the concept that work does not need to be done in a specific place to be executed successfully. As technology continues to advance, companies are trending towards increasingly mobile business models. The only tools you need to begin your journey of working remotely are reliable internet service and your laptop (desktop, smartphone, or tablet). You can work from your home, your car, a coffee shop, the beach, a tent, or even at a shared co-working space; you name it.
As of 2020, millennials make up the majority of the workforce and not surprisingly, they are the face of remote work. They have different views of how and where work should occur, and they prefer to be evaluated by their productivity and ability to complete tasks, rather than physical presence on site as long as their work is accomplished well and on time.
“Flexibility ranks as the third most important thing millennials consider when evaluating an employer, right behind pay and culture”Deloitte’s “Millennial Survey 2018”
In 2019, about 66% of companies in the US employed remote workers and 16% of workplaces were fully remote, and both of these numbers are expected to grow. As of 2020, it is projected that 75% of professionals will be working remotely in some capacity. A survey conducted by Connect Solutions reported that among those who worked remotely, 77% stated they were more productive when working remotely; and 30% stated that they accomplished more in less time than when they worked in-house. Remote workers were also less likely to take time off from work, even when they were sick.
There are many advantages to working from wherever “home” is. Most of these advantages are beneficial to the employer as well as the employee.
You’ll likely have the flexibility to create your own schedule to best fit your needs. If you’re a parent and get a call that your sick child needs to be picked up from school, no more stress about leaving work and using paid time off to pick her up. You also won’t have to use PTO for that 10am dentist appointment, and you can fit your gym session into your schedule rather than going at 5pm along with everyone else, or waking up at 5am to go before your 9-5. Most importantly, you will find that you have more time to spend with loved ones. All these things create a great work-life balance, and a better work-life balance makes us happier.
FlexJobs estimates the average person could save around $4,000 annually by working from home. They break it down by dry cleaning ($500-$1500), lunch and coffee ($1040), gas ($686) and car maintenance ($767). You will also save money on clothing that you only buy to wear to the office. Working remotely means working in your pajamas and favorite fuzzy socks if that’s what you want!
Increase in Employee Productivity
Working remotely gives employees the flexibility to work during their most productive times. One employee might be most effective starting work at 5am and working through 1pm to then have time to hit the gym, take care of any personal needs they have, and spend time with their family for the rest of the day, while another employee might enjoy getting all of his personal things done in the morning and work 1-9pm. The idea is it shouldn’t matter what hours the employee is working as long as they’re getting their work done in a timely manner and getting it done well. This is also a benefit for the employer as they’re getting the best work from their employees, while oftentimes in office settings, the employee may only be giving 50% because they don’t want to be there and they’re not working during their most productive hours.
You won’t have to drive to work everyday, so you’re saving money on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, and the stress of sitting in traffic for hours each day. Your time could be much better utilized actually working rather than trying to get to and from work.
You likely won’t be tied down to any one location because of your job. If you live in Atlanta, GA., but your husband was promoted and is being relocated to Austin, TX., and you work remotely, you have the flexibility to move freely without the stress of leaving one employer and job hunting in a new city. Maybe you simply want to travel and make home wherever you park it. With a remote job, you can do just that.
Employees oftentimes struggle to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle working 9-5 in a office setting. They don’t find the time to prepare healthy lunches ahead of time and tend to eat out or order in each day. This is greatly affecting their health and their wallets. You’re far less likely to eat out for lunch as much working remotely, as you have easy access to prepare well rounded meals and snacks in your own kitchen. Working remotely also makes it easier to fit a workout in your daily schedule, keeping you active and fit. And with the better work-life balance remote jobs offer, stress is reduced and employees are happier, leaving them healthier as well.
With all the great advantages of working remotely, nothing is perfect and there are some disadvantages to consider as well. To me, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, but nonetheless, we will explore them further below.
Many people find themselves distracted in offices, especially with open floor plans, because conversations are going on all around you, you’re either hearing your co-workers phone conversation, or they are wanting to chat with you, taking your focus off the task at hand. Working at home or remotely comes with it’s own set of distractions. You won’t have anyone monitoring that you’re doing your work when you should be, and you’re just at arms reach away from the TV remote, or your dog needs walked, or your children want to play, or your phone is blowing up with notifications. Self-discipline is needed to work remotely, and it’s helpful if you’re already used to making your own routine when beginning to work from home. If you have that down, it’s best to schedule time that you will work from a desk with absolutely no distractions. Turn your phone off and don’t check personal emails or social media notifications while working.
Before you begin working remotely, make sure you have a strong internet connection. You will rely on the internet everyday, and you won’t want your video call to fail, or to lose connection to the internet in the middle of a project.
Team Communication Problems
Communication is lacking in remote teams. Being in office, everyone is right there making it easier to communicate, while working remotely, you’ll need to go out of your way to contact a co-worker. Also, working closely with others everyday in a office setting, you learn personalities better and how to communicate with different employees, that’s harder to grasp remotely and it’s important to be mindful of that.
You may start to feel isolated if you never see your boss or co-workers in person. Especially when you start noticing employees getting together for team building activities, going to lunch together, and getting to know each other from being in an office environment. If your company has a local office or headquarters, I would recommend going in the office a few times a month to get that interaction. Otherwise, make sure to plan occasional lunch dates with a friend or family member to be sure you’re getting enough interaction with other people.
Forbes best 10 companies to work for remotely in 2020 is as follows:
- Industry: Technology (machine learning and artificial intelligence)
- Headquarters: Australia
- Appen is a global leader in the development of high-quality, human annotated datasets for machine learning and artificial intelligence. They are headquartered in Australia, and were the top company for remote workers last year. Their company values include performance, honesty, humility, and grit. Apply on their site as a Rater (flexible, part-time, home-based work that requires a computer and/or mobile device, a language job (flexible work in transcription, translation, and linguistics), micro tasks (simple tasks that can be completed in about an hour from your own home), or a corporate job (engineering, marketing, finance, and sales).
- Industry: Software and business (language transition)
- Headquarters: Waltham, Massachusetts
- Lionbridge specializes in creating content for global audiences, such as technical manuals, regulatory filings, or marketing creative. They also transform content designed for one language, region, or audience, to work for everyone. They are currently hiring corporate associates (technology, finance, marketing, and sales), testers, rates, and curators (home-based workers and university students), translators and agencies, and interpreters. Head to their site to apply today.
- Industry: Education
- Headquarters: Beijing, China
- Teach English online, set your own schedule (no commitment or minimum hours), teach one-on-one (no lesson planning), get paid $22/hr. Named “Top 10 Best Places to Work 2020” by Glassdoor. Check out their site to apply and learn more.
- Industry: Customer service
- Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona
- Liveops offers virtual call center services. They give businesses access to an experienced, on-demand workforce to provide virtual call center services that can scale during high-traffic periods. Visit their website to learn more and check out the available job opportunities in customer service and insurance sales.
- Working Solutions
- Industry: Customer service
- Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
- Working Solutions provides on-demand contact center outsourcing to companies. They have been listed as “Company to Watch” on FlexJobs “Top 100 Remote Work” list in 2015-2020. Go to their website to learn more and apply now.
- Kelly Services
- Industry: Staffing
- Headquarters: Troy, Michigan
- Kelly Services connects great companies with great people. They have almost every Fortune 100 company as a customer. Check out their site to learn more and apply for a remote position.
- EF – Education First
- Industry: Education
- Headquarters: Cambridge, Massachusetts
- EF Education First has been the world leader in international education since 1965. Go over to their site and check out job opportunities in education and training, computer and IT, writing, human services, and nonprofit.
- Industry: Customer Service
- Headquarters: Tampa, Florida
- SYKES creates intelligent customer experience by patterning with companies to help people find and buy their products and services, and provide exceptional customer care that builds brand loyalty. Go on to their site and apply to one of many work from home customer support agent positions.
- Industry: Business Services
- Headquarters: Fremont, California
- Concentrix brings together unmatched talent and all the tools and capabilities to power the greatest customer engagement. Skills that would make you successful in a work at home role with Concentrix include organization, independence, discipline, and effective communication. Apply online today for one of their featured work at home careers including Team Leader, Sales and Service Rep, Account Manager, Consulting, Product Management, and IT Solutions.
- Industry: Retail
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California
- Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a multi-channel specialty retailer of high quality products for the home. It is one of the United States’ largest e-commerce retailers with some of the best known and most beloved brands in home furnishings. Apply as a customer service agent today at the website above.
According to Flexjobs, The five most popular work-from-home job titles are as follows:
Flexjobs fastest growing remote career categories are listed below:
• Internet and E-commerce
• Graphic Design
If you’re experienced in any of the fields above, you have a head start in finding a remote position. If you’re in school or are looking for a career change and know you want the opportunity to work remotely, I would suggest considering one of the fastest growing careers listed above to pursue. If none of these categories spark your interest, I would encourage you to go to https://www.flexjobs.comand check out the full list of popular careers and growing career categories.
Remote work is the way of the future, and with technology advancing each year, it’s here to stay. If you’re disciplined, self-motivated, and tired of the 9-5 lifestyle, I would highly recommend looking further into opportunities to work remotely. You will have a better work-life balance, which will lead to you being more productive and enjoying your job even more. It’s also likely that you’ll be healthier because you won’t be as tempted with lunches out everyday, and you’ll save money on gas, car maintenance, and work attire. You will have the flexibility to live anywhere or everywhere; no longer will you be tied down by a job. Most importantly, you’ll find yourself with more time to spend with your kids, friends, and spouse, making you happier, and therefore increasing your overall well-being. Before you take the plunge, be sure to review the disadvantages and decide on a plan to decrease distractions, begin planning your time to transition from depending on your boss, make sure you invest in a strong internet connection to eliminate any technical difficulties that might come your way, and prepare for the loneliness that may arise from lack of interaction with co-workers on a daily basis. Find a friend or two and start planning weekly lunches, dinners, or workout sessions to supplement getting socialization from the workplace. If you apply for any of the career opportunities listed above, please drop me a comment and let me know how your experience was. I wish you all the best of luck in your journey to find a remote job!