A chair, a desk, a computer and a list of tasks. What once was done in a commercial building or office, is now taking place in our homes. The trips to the coffee machine, the informal conversations with colleagues and the commute to and from work have been replaced by monitor, notebook and cellphone screens. Remote work became the norm.
This process was not a smooth transition for most. The Covid-19 pandemic forced this change in many companies, and left leaders and teams scrambling to find ways to stay productive even in a far from ideal domestic environment. However, now that remote work is more widespread, it is highly likely that it will persist after the pandemic, particularly when it comes to highly educated, well-paid employees who have the structure they need to work from home.
So in this article, we will go over remote work and hybrid work, their definitions, differences and benefits when applied.
What is remote work?
Many people think that remote work is the same thing as working from home, but that is not entirely correct.
Remote work means working outside of the company headquarters for most of the time. Thus, the employee is free to conduct their tasks wherever they feel the most comfortable and productive. This could mean working in libraries, coffee shops, restaurants, co-working spaces or from home.
This is different from what we call “home office”. Remote work can be conducted completely remotely, while home office is usually just a flexibility policy, which will still require employees to come to the office more frequently.
Thus, many companies who truly opt for remote work don’t have an actual physical work space. This allows them to same funds, which is incredibly important, especially if they are just starting out.
However, well established companies can still benefit from this practice, and both remote work and home office have been essential since the current global health crisis emerged.
What are the types of remote work?
Remote work can be split in two basic categories:
Fully Remote Work
In this job model, all of the work the employee does is conducted outside of the company headquarters/building.
It’s important to note that coworkers can still meet up in co-working spaces or in other spaces and work together, but it will be outside of the company’s premisses. Some companies have adopted this modality at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and have chosen to maintain it even as restrictions are lifted.
Partially Remote Work
In this modality, there is the possibility of working in the company’s premisse. In this model, there is more flexibility, and it could be easier to meet up with co-workers and leaders.
This is the most commonly adopted model, and has also become popular in the wake of the pandemic.
How does working remotely work?
The truth is there is no big secret. Professionals work remotely, using the available technologies to accomplish all the tasks and activities their position requires. They can work from home, or in cafes, restaurants, co-working spaces, and so on.
Another feature of remote work is that it is more focused in results and the execution of tasks, and less concerned about working hours or following a predetermined schedule, like working 9 to 5 (although this does not apply for more commercial positions).
How can companies implement remote work?
In order to make remote work a reality, companies must be willing to provide the technology and equipment necessary to ensure employees have the appropriate work conditions. After that basic requirement is met, the real challenge is giving them enough support to maintain productivity and engagement.
All the company objectives and plans must be clearly communicated to ensure alignment, and avoid errors in interpretation and confusion. Having the right employees for each task is paramount, and while hiring can be more challenging in this scenario, correctly analysing and hiring the right candidates is essential to the company’s success.
Benefits of Remote Work
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the greatest benefit of remote work is avoiding transmission of the virus, which gives both the employees and the company as a whole more safety. However, this is not the only benefit of remote work.
The possibility of working remotely can bring down costs for the company, as well as the employees, which becomes a genuine concern, especially as we face a period of economic uncertainty. Transportation, meals, rent – all these expenses can be reduced with remote work.
More flexible work hours can also help increase productivity, as workers can identify when they have more energy and focus to complete tasks, instead of having to work through periods of low energy.
Another benefit of remote work is being able to hire people from anywhere in the world, which could increase diversity and in some cases, be more attractive financially.