It’s not always easy to start working remotely, even if you’re just aiming for entry-level remote jobs.
After leaving a traditional office environment, remote workers are often surprised by how different the transition can be. Before you start working remotely, begin by understanding the nuances of remote work.
What Is Remote Work?
There’s an abundance of terms out there describing remote work: telecommuting, work from home, remote work, location independence, and more. It can be hard to narrow down what precisely remote work is for someone new to the scene.
Here’s the most simple working remotely definition: doing a traditional office job outside of the employer’s office.
While it sounds simple, this means that remote jobs can be challenging to transition to – not because they’re particularly difficult, but because they’re a lifestyle. It’s even more of a lifestyle if not just working remote jobs online part-time, but also full-time.
You’ll need a particular set of skills to start working remotely successfully. You’ll also need to find a remote team that best suits your abilities and situation.
For example, remote teams are often a mixture of the following elements.
- Some or all team members might sometimes or always work remotely.
- Remote work could range from rigid traditional office schedules to a more informal “just get it done” attitude.
- Work may range from consistently working with the same group of employees, to frequent collaboration with solo freelancers, consultants, or agencies.
Someone with a strong preference for working in a traditional office environment is more likely to thrive with a specific type of team. That team might not be the best fit for a digital nomad who is traveling while doing remote work in multiple time zones.
Which style of team is best for you? Only you know.
Should You Become a Remote Worker?
If you want to start remote working remotely, the chances are that you expect it to make you happier in some way.
The good news? Statistics show that most remote workers want to keep working from home (and think others would also enjoy it).
For example, 99% of respondents to a remote work 2019 survey said they would like to work remotely (at least some of the time) for the rest of their careers. The same study also found that 95% of remote workers would encourage others to work remotely.
Despite the benefits of working remotely, remote work does have drawbacks. It’s not for everyone and comes with a different set of problems some workers might not be able to handle effectively.
What Are Some Benefits of Working Online?
Many people are happier for a variety of reasons when they start working remotely. Some of these reasons are more abstract, while others are highly individualistic.
Most remote workers start to save money in a variety of ways after they start working remotely. For example, they might cut vehicle costs or avoid fees from public transportation. Others might be able to save on office-specific clothing or skip expensive lunches.
More (Efficient) Time
Most remote workers also save a significant amount of time. How much time is lost when waking up early to shower, get dressed, put on makeup, prepare and pack meals, then commute? If you were working remotely today, you could have probably saved a few hours by skipping the commute, rolling out of bed, and heading straight to your desk.
Along with saving time, a well-planned remote work schedule also helps you be more efficient with your time. Instead of a wasted lunch break in an office, you can use that time to take care of the small things right from your kitchen table rather than postpone them until you get home.
Most remote workers find that they have more energy after they start working remotely (perhaps from avoiding stress while getting more sleep).
While this might not sound like a big deal, it has a massive impact on a person’s quality of life. How different would your life look if you had more focus and drive to pursue hobbies, side projects? How would your relationships or family change?
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of working from home is (if managed correctly) fewer distractions. Unavoidable interruptions fill most offices. John has a question, Jane needs a computer cord, Jim wants to talk about Monday night’s football game, and Sally always talks too loud on the phone.
If you work best in silence (and many creative fields require intense, uninterrupted focus), you’ll find that distractions from a traditional office environment hurt your results.
Being able to customize your home office is another massive bonus after you start working remotely. While some workers might thrive under fluorescent lights in a cubicle, others might create their best output while sitting with a laptop on their porch in a rocking chair.
There’s no one-size-fits-all environment that works best for everybody – but working from home helps you improve your results (and get comfortable) by optimizing your surroundings.
More Location Freedom
Another of the benefits of working from home in 2020 is location independence. High-speed internet is now available almost everywhere, even in areas of the world that are less developed.
Want to travel and work as a digital nomad? It’s an option. Want to spend a few months in different locations around your country, or take several-week trips to visit family or friends? Not a problem.
With the extra time and flexibility, you could reap the health benefits of working from home.
Are you tired of dealing with traffic on the way to the gym? Not sure when you’d find time to go for a walk? If you start working remotely, you’ll free up time to focus on your health.
Assess Yourself: Things to Consider When Finding Remote Jobs
Some are skeptical and believe remote working will die. When discussing working remotely pros and cons, it’s essential to keep the drawbacks in mind.
For example, can teams effectively communicate if they’re not in the same location? Will progress be slowed? Can employees be trusted to be as productive when they’re away from the supervisor’s watchful eye?
Fortunately, work from home productivity studies show that employees are more productive when working from home. The success of many companies – some working fully remote – shows that some teams can communicate just fine. Since these companies are still preferring to work remotely, it doesn’t seem like remote work halted their progress.
Some of the problems below may be show-stoppers for specific individuals or companies. Still, remote work solutions and tips for working remotely can often solve the problems.
Remote work is unlikely to help – you’ll have less contact after you start working remotely. A traditional office environment usually guarantees social action, but working from home can be isolating.
You’ll need to be proactive about building a social life.
The physical distance between you and tech support means that you’re responsible for more. Do you have an internet connection problem or computer issue? They can’t just stop by your remote office to fix it.
You’ll need to understand how to fix things yourself, or enough of the basics you can work remotely with someone else to solve the problem.
With no-one watching over our shoulder, we all find it easier to become distracted. Combine this propensity for distraction with the never-ending notifications of the digital age – and a remote worker without self-discipline is in for trouble.
If you want to start working remotely, you’ll need plenty of self-discipline to handle digital distractions and creative solutions for physical distractions.
It doesn’t take much planning to interrupt someone in the next cubicle and pass them a sheet of paper. However, this process is less intuitive after you start working remotely.
You’ll need to become comfortable with use cases for remote communication tools such as video, email, instant message, and phones. You’ll also need to master the art of succinctly communicating all necessary details and questions through online messaging.
Here’s a quick way to become a better online communicator: stop distracting background noise in your calls now by using Krisp.ai.
Find Your New Remote Office
Still feel like remote work is a good fit for you? Even if you’re just planning a test run, you’ll still need to get hired.
Which Form of Remote Work Is Best for You – Traditional Company, Digital Nomad Freelancer, or Something Else?
When remote working, jobs come in many different flavors. While there are many ways to negotiate a remote work arrangement, you’ll need to decide which type of work best fits your remote job ideas.
For example, freelancing can give more freedom and flexibility (for experts, it can be one of the top-paying remote jobs) – but at the cost of security.
If you start working remotely full-time for a company, your job will be more secure and structured, but you’ll likely trade freedom. Working part-time for several companies might allow you to build an industry reputation faster (and develop a wider variety of skills), but not fit with your goals.
Already Have a Job?
If you already have a traditional job, remote work might just be a single ask away. It never hurts to ask if you can begin working remotely.
If your supervisor is hesitant, you could lower the risk for them by asking for a trial – perhaps for a few days a week for a few months.
Looking for a Job?
Maybe you’re just looking for work from home jobs (part-time, full-time, or freelance). You could choose from things like remote data entry jobs, remote jobs in marketing, or whatever fits your skill set.
What niche skills do you have? Remote work gives you a unique opportunity to find online remote jobs (international is an option). These let you sell your niche skills to anyone around the globe, often for excellent compensation that’s not available locally.
Where Can You Find Companies Hiring Online?
It’s not hard to find companies looking for remote workers in 2020 through sites like Flexjobs, Jobspresso, Remote Global, and more. Each site has some differences, catering to a different type of remote worker.
Aspiring full-time or part-time employees, as well as freelancers, can all find jobs on these websites. However, some sites like Upwork cater more directly to freelancers.
Another option is one of the best secrets for finding remote jobs online: social media. Most people aren’t considering job-hunting ideas like how to find remote jobs on LinkedIn. Facebook groups can be another way to find work opportunities not posted anywhere else.
Even if you see a job posting you’d love from an employer that’s not on a list of work from home companies, don’t give up hope. It’s often worth contacting them directly and asking if the position could be remote.
Create Your Portfolio
If you’re looking for remote online jobs, no experience doesn’t necessarily need to be the limiting factor. If you can put together a compelling portfolio, you’ve still got a good chance.
Many online jobs, particularly freelance, have a more informal company culture. In some cases, they’re less interested in academic qualifications and more interested in the results you can deliver.
Pull together a resume or portfolio showcasing experience that especially demonstrates your ability to meet remote-work specific requirements. These requirements include communication, time management, organization, work ethic, ability to meet deadlines, and being a self-starter.
How Should You Handle the Interview?
No interview will be the same between two companies, but here are a few tips to help you the best chances at your dream remote job:
- Emphasize experience that shows you have the skills needed to work remotely.
- Seem like someone that would fit well into the interviewer’s company culture (for example, wearing a suit in a video interview might be too formal, or vice versa).
- Ask questions that show you understand the intricacies of working remotely. How does the company communicate? What remote work tools do they use? How and to whom will you report? Will you work on a tight schedule or have flexibility?
Landed the Job?
Congratulations! You’ve passed one of the hardest hurdles when transitioning to working remotely from home.
Now it’s time to move to the second phase: getting familiar with working from home tips, resources, and tools to handle the challenges.
Get started with these top ten habits to master when you start working remotely.