Everything You Need to Know About Working Remotely

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Right now, there's no single definition for remote working. Some consider someone who works from home one day a week a remote worker, while others think you need to break away from the physical office for the majority of work hours to earn the title of remote. A recent survey found that only 37 percent of companies have a remote work policy, but as attitudes about work change, it's expected that the definition of an office will, too. Here's what you need to know about successfully going remote.

Predictions for Remote Working

For those who hold corporate office positions or don't need to interact with customers daily, all signs point to a more flexible work environment in terms of physical location and set hours. In fact, a recent survey from Global Workplace Analytics found that "50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework." Which is hopeful, since "80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part-time."

According to Stephane Kasriel, the CEO of UpWork (a freelancing network), "Companies that refuse to support a remote workforce risk losing their best people and turning away tomorrow’s top talent." Findings from their 2018 survey indicate remote work is likely to become the new normal, as hiring managers predict that 38 percent of their full-time, permanent employees will work predominantly remotely within the next 10 years.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson recently offered his view on the way we work, too. He suggests that companies and employees will need to adapt to the evolution of technology, and the five days a week, 9-5 culture will need to end.

Companies Making Remote Working Easier

While trend predictions are great in theory, what can you do now to make a change now? In addition to negotiating specific work-from-home arrangements with your current employer, there are companies who are open to – and even encourage – flexible arrangements for their employees. In addition, there are a range of organizations providing tools and resources to help you find remote jobs if your current gig won't let you stray from the office.

FlexJobs, a site that vets and posts remote opportunities, recently ranked organizations who offer flexible or remote jobs, and also sorted the data to find the 20 most common work from home job titles.

Meanwhile, those who want to abandon the office altogether and work with a tribe of fellow digital nomads have options. Companies such as Selina and Remote Year help organize co-living and co-working accommodations across the globe, bringing together like-minded communities in spots where the WiFi is as strong as the coffee.

How to Succeed Outside an Office

While being out of the office has its advantages – like reduced commuting time, more work/life balance, and direct access to your kitchen for healthy and convenient lunches – there can be pitfalls if you don't organize your space and your time wisely.

  • Communicate clearly and often with your team. Since you aren't in the office, or out of the office regularly, you won't be able to pop your head over the cubicle wall to ask a quick question. Be sure that online chat windows are active and your emails are direct and include specific requests and deadlines.

  • Create a productive work environment. Whether you prefer your couch or the cafe down the street, set yourself up for success by working in a place that is free from distraction.

  • Set boundaries. Even though email and smartphones keep us connected round-the-clock, those who go into the office have a more clear divide – leaving the office signals the end of the day. Those who work from home don't have a physical partition and can sometimes work hours after their in-office colleagues left for the day because the laptop is right next to the couch. 


About the Author

Kristin Amico is a career and business writer who spent more than a decade managing creative teams at digital agencies. She has written for The Muse, The Independent and USA Today.