What Does Remote Work Mean? And Why It Works so Well

In today’s interconnected world, more and more people are asking themselves why they even need to go to an office.

Perhaps you simply hate the commute, the lack of flexibility, or in the worst case – your colleagues. No matter which it is, the answer could be remote work.

What Is Remote Work?

Remote work is the concept of working from anywhere you like – whether at home, in a co-working space, or the local coffee shop – rather than being tied to an office or other physical location.

Remote work is primarily for people who work via the internet, without which remote work wouldn’t exist anywhere near the scale that it currently does.

Working from home with dog
Working remotely could mean operating from your home, a co-working space, or a cafΓ©

Remote or Freelance?

While remote work might bring to mind a freelance lifestyle, the two don’t necessarily overlap. While remote work can be carried out even if you are working as an employee for a company, freelancers take on their own clients (and generally work remotely, too).

A freelancer may also ask themselves questions like – “should a freelancer form an LLC?” – or other questions relevant to the structure of their business. A remote worker who has a standard employer contract is unlikely to have to deal with these issues.

We’ve previously discussed some of the best job ideas for freelancers, ranging from copywriting to being a virtual assistant.

What Are The Benefits Of Remote Work?

Remote work has multiple benefits, for both employees and employers – here are just a few of them.

Benefits of remote work for employees:

  • Flexibility over your workspace. From your sofa to the local coffee shop.
  • No commute. Saves time, reduces stress, and lowers your carbon footprint.
  • Improves your work-life balance. Instead of being forced to sit in the office at specific hours, structure your day the way you prefer.
  • Saves you money. Lower travel costs and less eating out.

Benefits of remote work for employers:

  • Access to a wider talent pool. If your local area doesn’t provide a labor pool with the skills you need, you can search globally.
  • Lower costs. Reduced office and equipment costs.
  • Potentially lower salaries. Depending on where you decide to hire.
  • Happier employees – are more productive employees!

Do Any Major Companies Work Remotely?

Yes, so-called “distributed teams” are surprisingly widespread, especially in the world of tech companies. Here are just a few.

Automattic (Creators of WordPress)

Automattic and WordPress logos

Automattic has a team of over 800 people spread across 70 countries. In 2017, the company even closed an office in San Francisco since employees rarely physically showed up. Employees are instead given $250 every month to spend in coffee shops, in co-working spots, or simply for their lunch at home.

The company still makes sure that employees feel like they’re part of a team. Small regular meetups happen in different areas of the world, plus one huge annual get-together known as the “Grand Meetup”.

GitHub (Software Development Platform)

GitHub logo

While GitHub doesn’t run fully remotely, roughly 64% of its workforce is made up of remote workers.

Their overall workforce has grown by over 30% from 2018 to 2019, but employees working from their San Francisco office have further decreased by just under 2%. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.

Stripe (Payment Processing Company)

Stripe logo

Stripe has hired remote workers since its inception a decade ago. However, the overwhelming preference was for teams to be in their office.

In 2019, Stripe started a push for remote workers and made a pledge to hire over 100 remote employees – with more to come in the future. They now have several postings on their website offering remote positions.

With so many companies moving to remote work, and independent freelancing also rising year-on-year, it looks likely that we will only see more of these opportunities opening up in the future. The coronavirus pandemic has also contributed significantly to both a need and desire for employees to work from home. Results from numerous employers have shown that rather than hindering productivity, the increase in working remotely has generally led to an improvement in productivity and job satisfaction.

If you’re interested in this lifestyle, learn more about the benefits of being a freelancer and working remotely.