February 22, 2021 by Andrea Rajic
Since work from home became a reality for the vast majority of knowledge workers early last year, we’ve measured its impact, studied productivity levels, and predicted what the future of work would be like.
During all this time, criticism arose of the stress and isolation working from home brings. In time, this became the criticism of remote work in general, making it seem as if WFH and remote work are the same.
It turns out — they’re not. Read on and find out all the subtle differences between working from home and working remotely:
Working from home often has the context of a temporary arrangement, especially during 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic. In these circumstances, where offices and all other communal spaces are unsafe, working from home is the only option.
Work from home is also one of the benefits offered to office-based workers periodically — e.g., giving them a set number of days per month to work from home.
You can work from home full-time or part-time, depending on your job and company policy. People who work from home most of the time are usually called remote workers. More and more remote jobs emerge every day worldwide, as companies realize they don’t need people to be co-located in the same building. It’s important to emphasize that working from home full time (or working remotely) is a choice in normal, non-pandemic circumstances and a necessity in times of crisis.
The stress many of us went through while working from home was mandatory is not what remote work looks like in regular times. Without the pressure of kids not going to school and the economy being in lockdown, remote work is the perfect solution for those seeking flexibility and purpose in their work.
Remote work is a work style that does not presume the worker’s presence in a physical office. In other words, remote professionals work from wherever they deem fit. Companies can hire remotely in their local community, their country, and all over the world.
Remote work has been rising in the past several years, only to be accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Remote work has been made possible by advances in technology and perspective shifts in human resources and management. Remote companies rely heavily on written communication, documentation, procedures for supporting their teams, and a result-driven approach.
The most significant shift remote work has brought to employers and employees’ relationships is output. Instead of measuring the hours each employee spent in a chair, managers measure the tasks and KPIs set for that employee.
As we mentioned above, remote workers don’t have a designated workplace. They can work from home if they feel productive there, but they can also pick up their laptop and move to a local cafe, an inspiring workspace in their neighborhood, or travel while working.
An important aspect of remote work is flexibility, which covers the location, the work hours, and the style of each employee. Remote employees can stop by the office whenever they need to sit down with their managers or organize a team meeting in a coworking space. The basic premise of remote work is that the employees can be whenever they want or need to be, as long as their job is done.
Remote workers often choose not to work from home, at least not all the time. Some of them lack the space for a separate home office, while others enjoy a change of scenery a couple of times a week.
This is where neighborhood workspaces come in handy — with a daily pass or a monthly subscription, remote employees can enjoy office amenities, work in productive environments, and meet their teams when they need to. The spaces are inspiring and often uniquely designed, with safety and cleanliness in mind. On top of that, working from a neighborhood workspace means you’re still close to home, without the need to commute.
When someone mentioned remote work before 2020, most people imagined someone with a laptop lounging on a tropical beach. These workers exist, and they’re called digital nomads. They use their location independence to travel the world while working, often switching between different countries. Digital nomads make it a lifestyle to be on the move and rarely settle in the same place for more extended periods.
However, digital nomads are a minority in the world of remote employees. Most people like having a fixed location and a home to go back to or work from. While remote employees probably travel more than office-based workers, the nomad lifestyle doesn’t work for many people, especially those with families and children. The digital nomad lifestyle is gaining traction, and local communities worldwide are trying to attract digital nomads by offering housing, infrastructure, and special remote work visas.
Finally, let’s break down some facts about remote work:
Numerous studies have shown the productivity levels of remote workers to be high. However, remote workers also exhibit higher degrees of self-motivation, responsibility, and accountability. These traits make it much less likely for them to play Solitaire during work hours than their office counterparts.
Resisting the temptation to always be available is one of the challenges remote workers face daily. Many companies realized this challenge quickly and put processes in place to make sure their employees have time for themselves, family, and friends, as well as fitness and wellbeing.
Building team cohesion and a sense of belonging don’t come instantly in remote companies. Because of the physical distance, teams and companies act deliberately to encourage and promote unity. There are many ways to promote team-building in remote companies, such as organizing offsite team retreats or bonding exercises, scheduling casual online meetings, and celebrating employee birthdays.
Try out Gable, a network of neighborhood workspaces designed for focus and productivity. Get out of the home office and into a beautiful workspace close to home. Sign up today and give it a try!