The number of people working from home and other locations like a coffee shop and not the physical offices of their company is on the rise. With internet connection and devices connecting to the internet such as computers, laptops and smartphones, people can work remotely. In this article, we discuss what remote work is advantages of working remotely and challenges of remote work and how to overcome them.
What is remote work?
Remote work is a system where you work outside a traditional and centralized workplace with the help of digital technology. You accomplish your missions and execute projects from anywhere, be it at home, cowork spaces, and other places where they are comfortable. You do not commute daily to their office to work from designated desks, communicate with your team or manage a team.
Advantages of remote work for employees
Before you choose to work remotely, it is critical to understand the benefits of your choice. Here are some of the advantages you gain by working remotely.
Healthier work-life balance
Some remote work comes with a flexible schedule, where employees choose when to start and end workdays, although they have to ensure their work and tasks are completed on time. Controling your work schedule is valuable when you have to handle personal needs and complete your jobs. For instance, if you have an appointment with a doctor at around midday, you can start working early to complete your work before the time. You can balance work and all personal things like attending online classes, other responsiblities and other appointments.
Employees from any part of the country can work for any company despite the location of the firm. A company offering remote work can hire people from different geographic or cultural backgrounds.
Remote work offers you the opportunity to work from home or other places where you are comfortable and feel supported. Inclusivity is easier to acheive for people who experience challenges getting to jobs in onsite workplaces. For example, people living with disabilities sometimes have limited job opportunities in onsite offices, but they have increased opportunities through remote work. People with disabilities may require a flexible schedule, where they have time to attend healthcare appointments and work without commuting to work.
Money and time saving
Remote work saves employees a lot of money. Parking fees, car maintenance and gas are some of the expenses workers using their vehicles to work can save. Employees using public transport can also save the transport cost. Furthermore, employees save a lot of time used in travelling to and from onsite offices.
When working in onsite offices, you only have the company's resources at your disposal. For instance, you only use the chairs and tables a company provides. Nonetheless, remote workers can create comfortable home offices. Whether employees want more organic chairs or require particular office equipment, you can set your offices as you wish.
A healthy and happy work-life
Working from home offers more time for hobbies, improving personal relationships and pursuing interests. Therefore, you can work and have ample time to do what makes you happy. Furthermore, manager and colleague relationships may become positive without in-office politics or distractions. Remote work leads to a healthier life in many ways, which include:
- Less exposure to communicable diseases since office interactions is eliminated.
- When working at home employees may be more likely eat healthily unlike at office where some order for any ready food.
- With flexible schedules, employees get time for physical activities.
- People with health issues can create ergonomic and comfortable workspaces.
Accessing a variety of job opportunities not limited to geographic locations is a considerable benefit of remote work. Job seekers and people living in small towns and rural areas where jobs are not many can benefit from remote work. Even from the rural town, such people can get jobs from companies located anywhere.
Furthermore, people working in jobs involving frequent transfers benefit from remote work since they can change to different branches but continue living in the same place. Such employees do not have to relocate after the transfers. Remote work can also help employees from living in areas where living standards are high, like in metropolitan areas.
How employers benefit from remote work
Before companies and employers allow their employees to work remotely, they have to understand what they can benefit from the remote work. Here are some of the advantages the employers can gain from remote work.
Remote work leads to fewer office politics, quieter noise levels, fewer interruptions, more efficiency and fewer meetings leading to increased productivity. When remote work is done appropriately, employees only focus on the things that matter in improving performance. The office environment also creates false positives, like cases where managers think that employees who come early and leave late are working hard. However, remote workers understand that productivity is measured by performance.
When employees work remotely, employers can save on various costs like renting offices, buying and installing office equipment and furniture. Other costs a company can save through remote work include the following:
- Real estate costs
- Continuity operational costs
- Transit subsidies
Finding many skilled and talented job seekers interested in your job is easy. When hiring remote employees, you can hire from all over the globe and thus, you are not limited to people you choose from. The unlimited selection options are critical, particularly in jobs that are hard to find professionals.
Improved employee retention
Attracting talented employees is one of the targets of many companies. However, retaining talent has become a challenge. What was seen as a warning sign “job hopping” in the past has become a trend. According to 2015 to 2016 data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States, about 4% of the total workforce change their occupation yearly. Nonetheless, offering the possibility of working remotely is an effective and nonmonetary way of retaining employees. The remote workers are not limited to what they do as long as they complete their work and perform as per expectations.
Remote work challenges and ways of overcoming them
As remote work is becoming increasingly popular, some employees encounter challenges that prevent them from performing well. Here are some of the common challenges and how to overcome them.
Time management challenges
Remote workers face ample distractions from spouses, children or friends, making it easy for them to be side-tracked. Furthermore, employees who like social media may take much time on the media platforms. With personal matters to be solved like mowing the yard, taking care of kids and more, the remote employee may find it challenging to manage their time for work and personal things.
However, ambitious remote workers can use time tracking software. You log the time that you want to spend on every activity. You can also create a work schedule and strictly follow it.
Feeling disconnected from team communication
The casual conversations with co-workers during coffee breaks and the spontaneous deskside brainstorm are no longer any part of a remote worker. Employees can feel isolated and that they are not updated about the things taking place in the company. However, to handle the communication and isolation problem, your team can use messaging platforms. Through the platforms, all colleagues working remotely or in an onsite office can chat and talk in real-time as issues come up. Cloud platforms can also be useful in the exchange of documents.
Remote workers rely on the internet and computers or other internet-connecting devices like smartphones. Internet outages or computer breakdowns can confuse in case a remote worker has no clue of what has happened. Unstable and slow internet can also frustrate remote workers when holding virtual meetings. To avoid experiencing technology hiccups and challenges having backup plans is an ideal plan. For example, if the WiFi is unstable, you can use mobile hotspot devices like MiFi. Having backup computers or a tablet can fix the case of damaged computers.
Managing security risks
Some companies have security software and networks installed in offices. The security software guard the company from cyberattacks like SQL injection, malware, distributed denial-of-service attacks, DNS tunnelling and crypto-jacking other cyberattacks. Working remotely, particularly in public points like libraries and coffee shops leaves remote workers vulnerable to cyberattacks. Following your company's security protocol can help you protect data and prevent cyberattacks and manage other security risks. You can also invest in anti-virus software and virtual private networks.
Well-paying remote work jobs
If you are searching for a remote job, there are plenty to choose from. Look for a job you qualify for and possess the required skills. Some of the remote jobs include the following:
National average salary: $62,655 per year
Primary duties: Affiliate marketers link the seller with customers. The marketer also builds and maintains customer relationships to understand business priorities and the needs of the customer.
National average salary: $32,444 per year
Primary duties: Data entry specialist enters account and consumer data from source documents. The specialists also compel, verify accuracy and sort information to create source data for entry.