The work from home lifestyle is here to stay.
What started as a trendy offering for tech startups to lure top talent has exploded into a global employee perk. Especially in the post pandemic era, remote work has solidified its place for the modern business environment.
Thanks to technological advancements, you no longer have to work full-time from the office to be a productive employee. Be it setting up virtual workspaces or using collaboration tools like video conferencing software, working from home is now easier than ever.
In today’s world, many jobs can be done from home just as effectively as in an office. Here are some remote work options:
The tech boom of the last 20 years has paved the way for the reality of remote work we see today. More than 27 million people work from home in some capacity, which is still rising.
But behind the flash and glamour of working from home, some more complicated conversations must happen for your remote work transition to succeed.
If you’re not currently working remotely but would like to, you might be wondering where to begin. It can be tricky to navigate if your company doesn’t already have a remote work policy.
Here are a few actionable steps to get you started:
If you enjoy your current job and don’t want to switch, the obvious option is to turn it into a remote role. Bring up the idea of working remotely with your boss early and often, explore your options, and be sure they understand your intention to work from home.
You can make this easier on yourself by doing the work upfront. Create a business case for why allowing remote work benefits the company. Find some statistics and studies that support your argument, and show why offering remote work benefits everyone. Leverage move management programs to help make communication seamless for all parties involved.
If you don’t think your boss will let you work remotely right away, try starting small. Suggest the option of a hybrid workplace, allowing you to work remotely one day a week. Explain your situation and your plan for why working from home is important to you. Position yourself as the test subject for creating a more robust remote work policy.
Chances are your boss doesn’t hate the idea of having remote workers; they are just fearful of how effective it will be. By offering this option to your boss, you’re allowing them to try remote work out in a low-risk situation. After a few months of nailing your work remotely, you can move the conversation to expand your team's remote work policy.
Unfortunately, you might have to leave your current job for a remote position. Job hunting for a normal gig isn’t fun, and finding remote work can be especially tricky. As remote work becomes more popular, more positions will open up and expand your job opportunities.
If you're starting your remote work job hunt, you'll need the right recruiting tools. Luckily, plenty of online job boards are dedicated to remote work companies and careers, including:
Even big job sites like LinkedIn have embraced remote work by adding ‘remote’ into their location filter options for job searches. As working from home becomes more popular, more resources will become available.
There are many obvious reasons working from home is so popular. Who wouldn’t want to trade in their hour long morning commute for working in your pajamas? Aside from the obvious benefits of not having to go into the office, remote work is on the rise for many reasons.
One of the big benefits of working from home is you can do it from anywhere. It opens up a world of opportunities when it comes to your career. The global talent pool opens up as more companies offer full-time remote options for employees. You’re no longer limited to applying for jobs in your city and can look beyond your zip code for new opportunities.
Not being bound to the office opens up new opportunities for employees. The flexibility to create your own schedule around the other obligations in your life is unmatched. Not to mention all the time you save on not having a morning commute gives you time to do other things, like getting your kids ready or even walking your dog before you start your day.
The science behind working from home doesn’t lie. Employees working remotely full-time are likelier to say they're happy in their jobs than their office-bound counterparts. The top three reasons for this increased happiness? Fully remote employees say they value not having to commute, cite better work-life balance, and feel more productive at home.
Decorating an office cubicle is limited in many ways. There are only so many plants and photos that you can add to amp up your space. But a home office can be truly your own. You can work in an optimal environment by creating a space that stimulates your creativity and productivity.
Tip: Check out G2's work from home guide for more insights into remote work.
There are plenty of challenges associated with remote work that employees must overcome. Many of these challenges involve soft skills to overcome – they aren’t the kind you can problem-solve away. They require practice and patience.
One of the undeniable benefits of working in an office is the easy interactions you get to have with others. Working remotely can feel boring after a certain point. Unless you create a routine that forces you to get out of your house and talk to other people, you can get stir-crazy pretty quickly.
Another benefit of working in an office is that it’s designed to keep you focused. The usual distractions found at your house don’t go away when you start working remotely. That Netflix show you’ve been meaning to binge is still right there! It takes an enormous amount of discipline to keep yourself focused on the work at hand. Many people seek remote work software solutions to increase their productivity.
Collaboration is crucial to getting your work done, and in an office, it’s easier to do. The option to brainstorm at a coworker’s desk or hop into a spontaneous meeting is right there.
When you work remotely, you have to be much more deliberate with your time and how you communicate. If you don’t make a point to overcommunicate what you’re working on, things can get messy quickly.
When your work is at home, there can be a challenge of unclear or ill-defined boundaries that make it difficult to separate your work life from your personal life. You can also feel isolated when you only interact with people on a flat screen. Such factors can easily add up and affect your mental health.
When your team is new to working remotely, communicating productively can take some getting used to. Here are some best practices to simplify the process.
It’s important to set remote communication guidelines from the very beginning. Define the communication channels, hours, and frequency to enable a smooth experience. For instance, if a question can be answered in an email or chat, setting up a meeting will waste everyone’s time.
Setting guidelines around communication will ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page and help with easier cross departmental collaborations.
When multiple teams collaborate, communicating across different channels is not easy. This is especially true for companies with a global presence. Employees must be mindful of reaching out across different time zones and be as detailed in their messages as possible.
Lack of detailing can result in delays as the response times will be prolonged in such scenarios. So, overcommunicating is always better than leaving space for assumptions and errors.
While team meetings can be a great opportunity for remote workers to feel connected, not everyone might be available to join. Recording virtual meetings can make everyone feel included.
The recording will also serve as a resource for sharing information with all employees, including new hires. Similarly, it can be used for training sessions and other presentations.
The world of remote work is a little different than your typical office environment. Not only are there different terms you should know, but there are also different types of remote work.
This section will cover some of the most important remote work terms you’ll want to learn.
These three terms all mean the same thing: you’re working outside the office. These phrases can be used interchangeably to refer to remote employees, whether they work from home part-time or fully remote.
Flexible work refers to policies allowing employees to work part-time from home. Many companies have flexibility in the workplace to allow employees to skip the office every so often. This standard can be one day a week or completely flexible to the employee’s discretion. It all depends on the company.
A digital nomad refers to a fully remote employee who travels the world while they work. This style of remote worker has boomed in popularity since Instagram travel accounts became popular. Many digital nomads work in cohorts and some even blog about their experiences. There are even some companies, like WiFi Tribe, that have made a business out of the digital nomad movement.
A hybrid team refers to teams of remote workers and onsite employees. Hybrid work models often allow employees to choose where they work and set their own schedules. Hybrid teams are different from distributed teams in that some employees still work in a traditional office setting.
A distributed team is a team working in different locations. It’s different from a hybrid team, in that often employees are working in different countries and in different time zones. This method is very popular for global companies and can present unique challenges.
The chances of finding a remote position depend on your work field. Some jobs are easier to do from home than others. Companies with a heavy focus on technology have been among some of the first to pioneer remote work.
According to remotework.com, here are the top industries with the most remote job opportunities in the US:
|Rank||Industry||% of remote jobs|
|1||Management & Consulting||19.4%|
|2||Media & Communication||15.9%|
|4||Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology||14.0%|
|5||Personal Consumer Services||13.8%|
|7||Government & Public Administration||10.4%|
All signs point to more industries joining the remote-work trend as technology advances. That's likely due to the fact that technology helps employees stay productive and communicative while working from home. Teams with access to that tech are more likely to allow their employees to telecommute.
The challenges don’t stop once you’ve finally convinced your boss to let you work remotely. There are plenty of pitfalls and distractions ready to try and knock you off track.
Here are some of the best remote work tips to keep you productive and sane:
One of the biggest traps of working remotely is the lack of separation between home and work. If you’re not careful to keep the two apart, you might find the lines starting to blur.
One easy way to avoid this is to create a separate workspace for telecommuting. This can be as simple as a desk in your living room to creating a home office in an entirely different room.
Depending on your line of work, there are a number of tools you’ll want for your work from home setup. Think about what you couldn’t live without in your office. Use that to create a list of supplies you need.
You should also consider what tech you need to accomplish your daily job. With stable WiFi and your work laptop, there are many apps that assist remote work and can transform your productivity while working from home. Explore these options to work more efficiently while away from the office.
The right tools for the job go beyond the right technology. You should have plenty of non-tech supplies ready around the house, just in case. Here are a few ideas for your home office to get you started:
The quickest way to find what you need in your home office is not having it when you need it. You will inevitably run into problems. Just be sure to have a notepad and pen ready to whip up a shopping list when the situation arises.
A hidden benefit of working in an office is the routine you get into. Humans are creatures of habit that crave structure. Don’t let your newfound remote work status throw you off your game.
“Try to normalize your routine as much as possible. Get ready as if you're going into the office. Give yourself at least 30 minutes in the morning before you log on. Open your windows and get some sunlight.”Anastasia Masters
Former Content Marketing Specialist, G2
Creating a routine will help you start your day off right. You should still set a consistent daily time to wake up, get ready, and eat breakfast. This routine will help you prepare mentally to begin your work day and shake off the sleepiness.
One of the hardest things to do regarding remote work is establishing boundaries. The temptation to grab lunch with a friend or hang out with your dog during work hours is real. Be sure to communicate with people about your working hours, and be firm that you cannot be bothered during those times.
This also goes for establishing boundaries with your company and your boss. Just because you’re online at home during work hours doesn’t mean you’ll work outside your schedule. Set a firm time for ending work every day and stick with it.
One secret benefit to working remotely is that you’re not bound by normal business hours. This gives you the opportunity to set your own working schedule for when you’re most productive.
Don’t go crazy and start working at 4pm until 2am, but be strategic about your hours. A simple way to do this is to plan your day before you start to help keep you focused.
”Be intentional from the very beginning of the day: write down goals before you sit down at your desk, and include small ones so you get the satisfaction of checking them off the list.”Holly Hunt
Sr. Content Marketing Manager, G2
If you know you’re a morning person, start your work earlier when you’re most productive. Just communicate with your team what your working hours are and include them in your communication apps like Slack or Google Calendars.
Time blocking is a time management strategy you can use to help structure your day by blocking off large sections of time on your calendar each day for specific tasks. It’s as simple as opening your calendar app and creating a new event on your calendar. This is great for keeping you on task and showing the rest of your team what you’re working on.
Be sure to leave time on your calendar without anything scheduled. This leaves you time to take brain breaks, eat a snack, or walk. You don’t want to over-schedule yourself, but you want to create a sense of structure where you can. It’s all about balance.
Time flies fast when you’re working from home. Before you know it, noon hits, and you haven’t even thought about what to eat. You could order from Grubhub or DoorDash or plan ahead and meal prep some easy, quick lunches you can grab while working remotely.
Meal prepping will save you time and money while you work remotely. Not to mention it’s the easiest way to ensure you’re eating healthy when you’re home.
Set aside time on your Sunday nights and prep five quick lunches you can reheat and eat during the work week. Or gather staple items like fruit, sandwich ingredients, and veggies that you can use to whip up a quick and healthy lunch.
Working in your pajamas sounds like a dream come true, until you hit day 10 in sweatpants. Even when you don't have to deal with a dress code policy, there is a psychology behind dressing for success.
When you look good, you feel good. The same can be said about dressing up for work. When you go through the motions of dressing up for the office, you can help shift your mind into the right mode for getting work done.
Remote work technology goes beyond a work laptop. If you’re working remotely for an extended period of time, you’ll want to invest in a VPN.
Most companies have files and documents only accessed through their shared work IP address. A VPN allows your computer to appear as though you’re working from the same IP address as your office, giving you easy access to those files.
VPN providers allow you to mask your internet location and activity while also securing all of your information. The added step of encryption means you get the added benefit of data security and privacy.
Related: Don't have a VPN but think you might need one? Here’s a look at the best VPN software on the market, reviewed by people like you.
Few things feel more isolating than working at home all day and hanging at home all night. That’s why investing in your hobbies outside your home is so important.
Have a reason to leave your house a few nights a week, whether it’s a cooking class, an improv show with friends, or a bike ride down a nearby trail. It doesn’t always have to be fancy or expensive. Just give yourself a reason to leave your home every so often.
When you’re remote, all of your meetings become virtual meetings. Video conferencing software solutions like Zoom and Skype are crucial to staying connected while working remote. When you’re phoning in for your next meeting, it’s important to keep proper meeting etiquette in mind.
Want to avoid looking like a jerk to your coworkers? Knowing the right way to conduct yourself during a virtual meeting is key. The good news is that most of these tips should be no-brainers.
The best part of working remotely is that you can work from anywhere: the trick is finding a way to take your work with you. Utilizing cloud content collaboration suites fixes this issue.
Cloud storage allows you to access your work from anywhere. Many cloud providers also include data encryption, collaboration tools, and storage across multiple files types. Those perks make cloud content collaboration the ideal solution for remote work needs.
When you’re working from home, it can be easy to lose track of time and lean into workaholic tendencies. Remember to take breaks at home as you would in the office. Scheduling time to talk with coworkers can be fun to break up the day and feel connected with your team.
“If you can, get some quality time in with your coworkers via video chat. [It] doesn't have to be for a meeting, it could just be for some company. Making time to just chat with coworkers when you’re remote can help break up feelings of boredom and isolation.”Daniella Alscher
Former Content Marketing Associate, G2
The constant pressure to be online while working from home can be stressful. Don't let that stop you from taking a brain break. Watch a single YouTube video or an episode of your favorite TV show on Netflix to help clear your head. Burning yourself out is bad for your happiness and productivity in the long run.
Remote work isn’t for everyone. Even though study after study shows that remote workers are more productive, it also shows they are lonely and isolated.
Thanks to the increasing trends in remote work technology, working at home doesn’t have to feel lonely. Finding the right balance is key to transitioning to working from home. Use the tips from this article to pioneer your own working from home destiny!
Looking for collaborative solutions to enhance your remote work experience? Fuel your virtual brainstorming sessions with collaborative whiteboard software and share content easily across teams and departments.
This article was originally published in 2020. It has been updated with new information.
Lauren Pope is a former content marketer at G2. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, the G2 Learning Hub, and other sites. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and singing karaoke. (she/her/hers)
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