According to the US Census, more than 5 percent of US workers worked from hope before Covid-19. And this number is now growing fast, mainly thanks to jobs in digital. This trend is expected to reach and keep record high numbers of people like you working remotely. Smile… the age of remote working has arrived!
As digitally-based jobs continue to emerge and develop, so will the trend to work remotely. As you consider if and how you wish to work remotely, whether full-time or part-time, remember to weigh the pros and cons.
While many remote workers enjoy more freedom and don’t have stressful commutes, they can struggle with unique challenges like loneliness and how to know when to separate “home” from “work.” It’s important to keep all of this in mind as you explore your remote working opportunities this year and beyond.
Most popular remote jobs
When it comes to working remotely, there are a wide variety of jobs out there that can be carried out with absolutely no requirement of an office. We cover a few of the most common remote job positions down below.
1. Online Marketing
Whether you are working for yourself, or on behalf of an organization, online marketing can be a very easy job to do from home. Why? with access to a good quality laptop, whether it’s performing lead generation, social media marketing, or email marketing, you have everything you need to carry out the job. If you need to contact your client or work colleagues, you can simply Skype them to get in touch.
2. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is another popular remote job that many people like to do. This is again an easy job to do considering you have a constant workflow and a good laptop, you can work from wherever you please. Many freelancers actually start out working remotely and then may decide to apply to a larger organization in the future.
3. Website Designing
If you are more creative and enjoy designing, then perhaps web design is your thing. In fact, many people choose to work as freelance web designers as it is just a lot simpler to work from home when all you require is good software and a laptop.
The more expert web designers, who are earning big bucks, may eventually decide to rent an office space to work from. However, if you are comfortable working remotely, whether at home or any other location, then web designing is a job that allows you the freedom to do so.
4. Social Media Management
The 4th and final job which is popular to do remotely is social media management. Again, this is a position that mainly requires someone managing online social profiles and pages, and for this reason, it can be done remotely with no office required.
Social media management can be quite rewarding, and more and more organizations are outsourcing their social media managers as they can often be a much cheaper alternative than having a full-time employee in-house working on social media.
Is Working Remote the Right Option for Me?
Working remotely can be the perfect ideal to some people, and the worst to others. It really does depend on your lifestyle, and what you want out of your job.
If you have built a career that you are passionate about and this happens to be remote, then you should definitely continue with this career path if it works for you. If, however, you feel you miss the social aspects of working in an organization itself, then perhaps a non-remote position will be the best fit for you.
It is important to be content with your job, and if you feel you want to change your career and working style, then the key is to do it with confidence. Perhaps you like aspects of both remote and nonremote working? Then in this case try to discover a job position which allows a bit of both!
Although there may be some cons in remote working, it is almost considered a positive thing for most organizations worldwide and continues to be popular looking towards the future world of work.
Remote working – Pros and Cons
Let’s begin with the advantages.
1. Flexibility in workhours
One of the main pros of working remotely is the extra flexibility it provides. This means you can perhaps take your children to school and look after them better without having to rely on childcare, which for some parents is pretty expensive.
Some people work a lot more efficiently when in charge of their own schedule, and this can help them to be more productive at the same time. People have started quitting positions due to lack of flexibility and remote work with the number increasing from 17 percent in 2014 to 32 percent in 2017.
2. Saves money and comute time
When you work from home, this removes the need to commute, which can often take up quite a chunk of your monthly wage anyway. When it comes to eating lunch, you can also save by making it and eating at home rather than always having to buy something out, which when hunger strikes, can force you to make costlier decisions!
Another area you will save money is with childcare, if you are able to handle working with your kids at home, then this could also save you a lot.
3. Go at your own pace (less of that rat race)
Many people who work remotely can choose exactly when and how they work on projects, so long as they get them completed in time for the target deadline. Working remotely you are also free to take breaks when you require them and follow through on work without being disturbed by a coworker.
Self-discipline is crucial when working remotely, and if you are able to keep up, you can be a lot more effective than at the office.
4. Less absences that reduce your monthly pay
Sometimes when we fall ill with a cold or sore throat, we wake up and decide to give the commute a miss and call in sick out of fear of it making us worse.
Being at home, however, you will have more time to look after yourself to get better, minimizing contact with others and actually getting on with some work at the same time. This allows you to get better quicker, and studies show that remote workers have fewer absences than on-site employees.
With so many good points there must also be some bad ones, and we will try to cover them all below.
1. Hard to laydown a steady routine
When at work on-site, there is much more sense of a routine. You have to wake up at a certain time, check in at a certain time, and make sure you are finished by a certain hour.
When working at home, however, the routine might be totally in your hands. Again this depends on the type of remote work as some employers may still require constant check-ins, regular Skype meetings, and deadlines.
If you are completely freelance, however, you will be in charge of your individual schedule. For some, it may be hard to keep motivated, and for others, it might be difficult to work effectively without a backbone of routine to fall back on.
2. No of workplace can mean no social life
One of the main issues that working remotely bring is the lack of integration with other colleagues. Of course, you may be keeping up and interacting virtually, but it simply isn’t the same as being there in person is it?
Being remote you will miss out on lunchtime gossip, and jokes shared between co-workers which help you to make stronger bonds and friendships. Remote workers can end up feeling a little isolated at times, and this is why a lot of people prefer not to work remotely at all.
There are those however who are less interested in the social side of work and more in the actual work itself, so for these individuals, this poses no threat, but for the major part, it is a major red flag.
3. Difficult to Attain Work/Life Balance
You may think that when working remotely, you will have more time to devote to your personal life. However, with no clear boundaries between work and home, you may sometimes mix them, making it difficult to switch off at times.
Often when you leave the office your work stays there, whereas, at home, it is always present. This means clear boundaries should be set in order not to think about work too much and keep the balance equal.
4. Remote work distractions can kill your productivity
Distractions can also become a bit of a problem when at home, and so must be controlled. If you have pets or children they may demand your attention for a while, and this can break you during the flow of working. You can also freely browse social media, watch TV or take long breaks if you wish which can sometimes take you away from your work and kill your productivity completely.
Popular remote working trends to watch for
The most popular jobs for remote workers are ones that rely heavily on digital skills. That can mean anything from social media management to coding, web design to graphic arts. Employers are raising their expectations when it comes to their demands for tech-savvy remote workers. Employer expectations of digital skills are shifting from basic to advance
The demand for technology-savvy professionals now extends well beyond the software development space. According to a survey by Linkedin, jobs that demand tech skills like data storage, app development, and human-computer interaction are sharply on the rise.
So if you want to compete for a remote-working position, make sure your tech skills are up to snuff.
Expect to have some office time
There are many benefits of working remotely. But, like with anything, there are also some drawbacks. One of the largest reported problems amongst remote workers is feeling lonely and disconnected from their co-workers. In order to combat this, employers are being mindful to require in-office days from remote workers.
Whether it be a weekly meeting or bi-weekly team lunch, employers are finding ways to incorporate remote workers into the office environment. And it’s working! Remote workers who visit their office at least once a week are happier than their counterparts who work entirely from home. It’s all about finding the right balance between the home and office.
Embrace the latest communication technology
Thanks to the rise of global teams and remote workers, many technologies and tools have emerged to help companies keep communication flowing between different time zones, languages, and cultures. Emailing between remote teams is an obvious way to communicate but can get disorganized and doesn’t have the advantage of being in real-time.
In response, real-time team chat tools like Slack and Hangouts (by Google) are becoming more and more popular, and there are even chat solutions for small businesses. Then there are tools to help everyone speak the same language, literally.
Tools like Grammarly ensure that remote workers, no matter what their native language, will always use proper grammar and spelling. When it comes to workflow and task management, shared online workspaces like Trello and Monday will also rise in popularity.
As for “face time,” expect to see more technologies roll out for virtual video conferencing. Eventually, the tech will become sophisticated enough that you’ll feel like you’re in the same room with your manager sitting in Bali.
Get ready for Gen Z competition
Millennials might dominate the workforce in 2019, but by 2020, they’ll have some competition. Next year, Gen Z will make up nearly 36 percent of the global workforce, and they have advantages that their Millennial counterparts don’t.
For starters, members of Gen Z are the true digital natives; they grew up with iPads in their hands as toddlers and smartphones by grade school. And while 68 percent of millennials prefer companies that allow them to work from home, Gen Z is even likelier to seek out remote work and excel at it.
Have an eye out for these jobs
Not all industries, roles, or specialties are suited for the work-from-home lifestyle. But positions are either adapting to the remote structure or emerging because of it.
If you are gunning for a position that will indefinitely allow you to not only work remotely but also to grow your career remotely and earn significant income, then you’ll be wise to watch these opportunities:
- Marketing manager
- IT manager
- UX/UI designer or researcher
- Software developer
- Customer success engineer
4 Secrets for reaching optimal remote work productivity
When you first begin working remotely, you feel like the luckiest person alive. You get to work wherever and whenever you want, all without a boss looking over your shoulder. You bask in your independence and make sure that your work-life looks nothing like it did when you were traditionally employed.
You work all night and sleep all day; you always say yes when your friends invite you out for drinks at 10 pm on a Tuesday (It’s cool. You can sleep in and work later, right?); and you work from anywhere and everywhere you can.
But it doesn’t take long before you realize all that freedom has the potential to be a hindrance to your best performance. Working remotely is great, but you also have to be productive during your work time. If you’re not, you might not have that great remote position much longer.
Fortunately, there are a few secrets you can use to make your remote work experience both more productive and more enjoyable.
1. Track your time
Have you ever looked back on your week, your day, or even your morning and asked yourself, “Where did the time go?” Turns out this is no mystery of the universe.
You don’t have to wonder. All you need to do is track your time. I use a free online time tracker tool called Toggl, which makes my work life so much more productive. It might be hard to believe, but you won’t have to change any other aspect of your work time in order to see a real improvement in productivity.
Simply turn Toggl on when you’re working and turn it off when you’re not. Handy charts in the app show how long you worked compared with other days. Each Monday, you get an email with your Toggl report that depicts how many hours you worked the seven days before.
In just a few weeks, you will notice that you’re a lot more productive without even trying to be. All you did was start to become aware of how you’re spending your time.
2. Get a work accountability buddy
Part of the reason it’s easy to get off track when you are working remotely is that much of the time, you are doing it by yourself. When you work alone, there’s no one around to hide Facebook or Gchat from and no one to tell you what to do.
To remedy this, consider getting a work accountability buddy. This can be a friend, fellow remote worker, or coworker with whom you pair up to keep each other on task. You don’t need to physically be in the same location with your buddy in order to hold one another accountable.
Here are a couple of ideas you can try with your accountability buddy:
I. Have a daily or weekly “check-in” with your buddy
Exchange Toggl reports, share the things that steered you off track that week, and brainstorm ways you can improve for the next week. You can even make it a competition to see who wasted the least amount of time on certain days or worked the most hours.
II. Have a designated “check in” time
Having a set time to work, even if it’s a few hours a day or a couple of days a week, can do wonders for productivity. When you’re working a traditional job, you have to show up at 9 am (or else!).
But when you’re a remote worker, it’s hard to be anywhere at a specific time unless someone is waiting for you to show up
Enter your work buddy. Set a time when you both have to “check-in” online. The method isn’t important; it could be via Skype, Gchat, email, or whatever you prefer. The important part is that when you do check-in you’re really sitting down to work.
Having an accountability buddy is not just great for productivity, but it’s fun. You might not realize just how much you’ve missed having others around when you’re working – to bounce ideas off of, to chat with on a (short) break, or just so you aren’t alone all the time.
3. Pay attention to what works for you and implement it into your routine
Some people say that you need to maintain a routine, while others say to break up your routine. Some say to work during the day, whereas others swear by working through the night. And while some do well at a coworking space, others do best when they are at home or in a coffee shop.
The truth is, there is no secret recipe to working remotely. Success comes from paying attention to what works for you and integrating that into your routine. Do you work best in the morning? Then set a goal to be up at least 4 mornings per week to ensure you’re using that time to work.
Do you work best from a coffee shop? If the ambient atmosphere and free-flowing caffeine help you focus, then set up camp at your local coffee shop every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you can manage to work there every day, that’s even better!
4. Reward yourself
For some, it’s starting work that’s the problem. But for others, remote work means you are always in “work mode.” While working all the time may sound pretty productive, it’s usually not. Take into consideration that always being “on” puts pressure on your mental focus and your health.
That said, you’ve got a productivity problem on your hands. The first thing you need to do is set some goals that are easily measurable. Why? So that you can stop working when you reach them. Otherwise, how will you know when it’s time to quit?
Ideas to get you started:
- Create a list of the “big things” you want to get done each day. There should be no more than 2-3 things on this list. When those things are done, you’re done working for that day.
- Put in a certain number of hours each day. This only works if you make sure you are productive during that time.
- Accomplish a certain number of items that need to get done each day.
When you’ve met your goal, it’s time to quit for the day. No excuses! Put away the laptop, turn off email notifications on your phone, and relax like it’s your job.
You can even indulge in a weekly or daily treat as a reward for a job well done. This could be a piece of fancy chocolate, 30 minutes of mindless YouTube consumption, a trip to Starbucks, or a weekly standing appointment at the spa.
Working remotely doesn’t mean the end of productivity, and productive remote work doesn’t have to mean the end of fun. Using these tips, you can be sure that your remote work not only gets the job done but ensures your work life is fulfilling and enjoyable as well. What productivity tips do you use to keep yourself on track?