Since the world pandemic of Covid-19, the notion of remote working has become increasingly popular with more and more companies realising that they are able to run a business with some, or the majority, of their employees working from their homes and other spaces.
What is the meaning of remote working?
Remote working refers to the notion of employees working from a location that differs from the traditional setting of an office. This can be either their home, a shared working space outside of a corporate building. It is a flexible work agreement that benefits both the employer and the employee.
It can ensure a variety of benefits for both parties such as:
- A healthier work-life balance
- Access to more work opportunities
- Reduced costs of commuting
- Increased productivity
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of companies were starting to establish a wider remote working system within their businesses. Those that saw and benefited from the abovementioned possibilities have kept the remote working in place.
Advantages of remote working
Access to work opportunities
Remote working allows for a wider amount of working opportunities for individuals that they would not otherwise have access to. It opens opportunities for those living in a different country or those who do not have immediate access to travel options. On the other hand, it expands the possibilities for those who are wanting to hire employees. They do not need to concentrate on local individuals or consider employees who need to relocate.
No need for office space
Remote working allows for a company to be built and to continue to grow without the need for an office space. This can cut costs for businesses and gives much more flexibility to the workers. Typically, remote working will require much less physical space, if none at all.
No commute times
Fewer commute times are extremely beneficial for those who are wanting to create a healthier work-life balance. They are able to gain more time that they would otherwise spend travelling to and from work. This can often increase productivity as well, due to the employees being in a mindset that fits that of their personal area.
Negatives of remote working
If an employee does not have the right equipment for remote working then this can lead to a decrease in productivity. In addition, without accountability and a rigid work system, it is possible that they will not have as much motivation to complete work-related tasks.
Remote working is often controlled by technology in the form of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other various platforms. This leaves the possibility of unreliable technology that can cause problems for both the employer and the employee. Technology can be expensive and this can cause extra costs for the business in order to ensure that their employees are equipped with the necessary items in order to be able to work remotely.
Remote working for individuals can often lead to isolation and leave the employees feeling lonely as they will lack socialisation with other employees. Being in a corporate office is great for communicating every day with their co-workers, but remote working eliminates this possibility.
If your remote working includes working from home or an office that is not a corporate office, then this can create multiple distractions. These distractions can include:
- Watching the TV alongside your work
- Going on your phone/having access to your phone
- Cooking longer meals
- Others working in a shared office like space that are working a different job or doing a different task
Need for space
If your remote working includes working from home, then you are going to need to build a space within your home that allows for the production of your work to go ahead. Many people do not have a home office, so working from home can become increasingly difficult if they do not have the right space for it. This can leave people sitting on a sofa, a bed or up a table for most of the day. Additionally, it can make us associate our calm spaces with those that are meant for work, making it harder for us to wind down after a shift.
What are the guidelines for remote working?
Whilst most business will outline their own guidelines for remote working, there have been some established rules that most businesses have incorporated.
Communication needs to be clearly outlined for remote workers. Quite often, communication will be held either over the telephone or through Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other varying platforms. Virtual meetings have become increasingly popular with many companies choosing to conduct meetings in this way for their remote workers.
Communication will be much more regular than office working. It is often seen that there will be 'check ins' regularly to monitor daily progress or to provide further tasks throughout the day. It is beneficial for most businesses to create a communication schedule that adds a sense of routine to their employees workday.
Communication in methods of training are very important. If a remote worker is unsure of a technological platform or a company policy, it is integral that communication is effective in order for them to receive the training they need.
Remote working opens a much wider scope for flexibility and those who may lack flexibility within their work-life can benefit greatly from this guideline. Most businesses will acknowledge that whilst remote working is beneficial to most, it is not always beneficial to everyone and each staff member will have their own challenges. If employers check with their staff for the best availability this can provide the best work/life relationship for both parties.
If your staff are not in the office, it can be much harder to monitor their well-being. Therefore, remote workers often have higher standards to employee wellbeing by businesses being as alert as they can to ensure that employees who work virtually are being given the support they need. If remote working means that they are working from home, breaks can be encouraged.
Another extremely beneficial guideline is to ensure that once staff have finished working, their workload does not transfer into their personal time as this can easily happen when you are working from home or an independent office.
So, what are the remote working options?
There are many different ways that people are able to work remote, and it is thought that remote working is often confused with working from home. Whilst working from home is a form of remote working, it is not the only option.
Working from home is an aspect of remote working. This can be done by a full weeks work at home, or it can be the majority of the working week at home and then one to one meetings in person in between. Working from home involves the act of completing your job in one's house.
A work hub refers to another remote working option. This includes the reliance on spaces where members of staff are able to go in order to complete their job. These hubs can provide a great community feeling where people can share spaces, technology and encourage opportunities of socialising with others in a range of businesses and industries. These can be used by people who work the following:
- Full-Time Workers
- Part-Time Workers
Although to some this feels much like office space, it differs in the sense that anyone from any business is able to use the space at one time. These are extremely beneficial for people who thrive in the office environment, as it creates a great middle ground.
Has there been remote working research?
The pandemic has pushed many businesses towards the same level of remote working, however, is this a beneficial work system and if so, what research is evidence of this?
According to McKinsey and Company, have suggested through their research that over 20% of workers are able to work remotely at a successful level for three to five days a week, just as successfully as if they were working in an office environment. However, since the pandemic, there has been a massive increase in the way we work remotely, with new technology and breakthroughs in the method of virtual working.
Nonetheless, this leaves many industries without the possibility for remote working. For example:
- Doctors/ inpatient appointments
- Delivery Drivers
- Those that use specialised machinery
Research suggests that the effectiveness of remote working is based upon the activity that is required, rather than the occupation itself. For example, a doctor could conduct over the phone appointments, but once these transfer to necessary in-person procedures or exams, it completely removes the possibility of remote working.
McKinsey and Company's research has been useful when looking at industries such as teaching. They have suggested that whilst they are able to teach remotely, the standards and the quality of the teaching were severely impacted.
To conclude their overall research, the following occupations, in order, are determined to have the highest percentage remote working potential.
- Finance and Insurance - 76-86%
- Management - 68-78%
- Professional, Scientific and technical services - 62-75%
- IT and Communications - 58-69%
- Education - 33-69%
- Wholesale Trade - 41-52%
- Real Estate and Lettings - 32-44%
- Government and Admin Support - 31-42%
- Utilities - 31-37%
- Arts, Education and Recreation - 19-32%
- Healthcare and Social Assistance - 20-29%
- Retail Trade - 18-28%
- Mining - 19-29%
- Manufacturing - 19-23%
- Transportation and Warehousing - 18-22%
- Construction - 15-20%
- Accommodation and Food Services - 8-9%
- Agriculture - 7-8%
Overall, the average for this works out to 29-39% remote working productivity.
The best remote working jobs
If you are looking to work remotely and your current company does not offer the right remote working for you or does not offer remote working at all, then the following jobs are the best remote working jobs in 2022 that are suggested as the best remote working hirers.
A freelance translator is responsible for translating one language into another. This can be done on behalf of businesses, contractors, individuals or other government agencies. This can be done either through audio or documents and can be done remotely.
A graphic designer is responsible for creating visual representations of an idea through the use of computer applications. Remote working can be used either through the use of shared technology or individual technology that is used and then forwarded to clients. The only downside to this is gathering the right equipment needed for the job.
Tutoring can be done either in person or through remote areas, such as hubs or at home through the use of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other such platforms. A tutor is responsible for teaching students, of any age, certain subjects, often with the intention to enhance their current studies.
A freelance writer is responsible for creating written content for a client. This can be dependent on any cause or need of the client and will vary depending on the nature of the job. This can be done wither from the home setting or a shared community space, most often people will have the facilities in place in order to complete this job remotely as it typically requires a PC or Laptop to create a written document.
Those working within the industry of digital marketing will be responsible for using email, social media and other forms of web content, such as websites, in order to achieve a goal for their client. Due to the majority of this content being managed online, remote working is extremely possible in this line of work.
If you are a registered nurse, then you are able to work remotely by offering advice through the phone, apps, messages and other chat platforms. Technology advancements have allowed for more to be done over medical platforms more than ever.
A sales consultant is mostly responsible for the analysis of a company and their sales. Improvement suggestions and other forms of methods can be suggested remotely.